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Interview with David Brabham

David Brabham is in a unique position this year, contracted to drive LMP1 cars for two manufacturers' works teams in the same season

Already on board for Acura's graduation to the top class in the American Le Mans Series, he was signed up by Peugeot to race one of their 908s in the Le Mans 24 Hours this summer.

Autosport caught up with Brabham to hear how the deal came about, and his reaction to it.

Q. Can you believe you now have two factory LMP1 deals for this year?

David Brabham: When you see all the drivers who are struggling to get rides at the moment, I sit here and can't quite believe what's going on with me. I had a great season last year, we're into the LMP1 programme with Acura, and now I get this opportunity. The chance to race with two manufacturers in one year is not common. I am in privileged situation.

Q. How and when did Peugeot make the approach?

DB: I was interviewed up on the stage at the Autosport International Show and I said that I was free for the Le Mans 24 Hours. I saw (Peugeot driver) Nicolas Minassian at the charity karting event at the show and then flew to America to test the Acura LMP1. The next morning I had two emails in my inbox with offers for Le Mans, one of them from Peugeot.

Q. What was your reaction?

DB: I was surprised to get the call, though last year in the American Le Mans Series with Acura can only have helped. When I saw an email from Peugeot, I couldn't open it fast enough.

Q. What was Acura's response to that offer?

DB: I am contracted to Highcroft Racing for the whole year, so I have to get a yes from them before I can do anything else. I was lucky that everyone was there at the test, Duncan (Dayton, Highcroft team owner) and Erik Berkman (who runs the Acura sportscar programme in his capacity as boss of Honda Performance Development). I forwarded them both emails, told them that Le Mans was something I would like to do this year and asked for their blessing.

Duncan said 'absolutely' straight away. Erik, said that he didn't have a problem, but that he wanted to talk to John Mendel (senior vice-president) at American Honda first. Towards the end of the test, Erik said 'I don't want to stand in your way, go for it'.

Q. Can you compare the Peugeot 908 HDi to the Acura ARX-02a?

DB: I have not spoken about the comparison between the two cars with anyone, no one within either team and no journalists, and I am not going to. I don't want that to come back and haunt me somewhere down the line. I will just be doing my thing as a driver.

Q. You won your class with Aston Martin last year, is this your big chance to win the Le Mans 24 Hours overall?

DB: My last 'best chance' was with Bentley and we finished second behind the other car. This is definitely another good chance and I am going to make the most of it.

Q. Is there any truth to the story that Peugeot contacted your brother Geoff by mistake back in 1993 when the team really wanted you?

DB: It's a nice story, but Peugeot didn't get the wrong Brabham. They knew who they wanted. Remember, he was much more experienced than I was back then.

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