THIRD generation racing driver, Sam Brabham delivered an outstanding Dunlop British Formula Ford debut at Donington Park last weekend, taking
THIRD generation racing driver, Sam Brabham delivered an outstanding Dunlop British Formula Ford debut at Donington Park last weekend, taking three Scholarship Class podium results aboard his EcoBoost-powered JTR Mygale.
The 18-year-old Henley driver opened his single-seater racing account in style with a second place Scholarship Class podium in his first ever single-seater race at the Leicestershire circuit.
Recording the second fastest lap of the entire field and top Scholarship time, he was also the fastest Formula Ford through the 1.9-mile circuit’s challenging second sector.
Brabham’s performance was made all the more remarkable considering he only drove his JTR Mygale for the first time last week, and has since only notched up two track tests preceding his all-important debut.
From the moment he set wheel on the national circuit for the first time in qualifying on Saturday morning, he showed his clear pace and natural potential to clock in an impressive seventh overall.
Despite a slow getaway due to a missed gear, Brabham battled back from last off the line to make the top six by lap nine. Seizing fifth spot from Nico Maranzana two laps later, the Henley College student routinely posted purple second sector times and then the second fastest lap of the field on lap 12 as he threatened to join the fight for an outright podium position.
Only time lost on lap 15, due to a well-controlled slide, could temporarily halt his advances and allow Maranzana back through. Yet Brabham was far from finished and fought back to re-claim fifth at the final chicane, sealing second in the Scholarship class in the process.
The son of sportscar legend, David, and grandson of triple Formula One World champion, Sir Jack, followed that awe-inspiring performance with a third-place class podium and seventh overall on Sunday morning.
He rounded out an amazing weekend with sixth overall and another trip to the rostrum for Scholarship third in the final race of the weekend.
Speaking after the successful weekend Brabham said: “Words can’t describe how it feels to take three Scholarship class podiums on my Formula Ford debut. I couldn’t ask for a better weekend. I didn’t get the best start to the event with an electrical issue preventing us from testing on Thursday, but that actually helped me focus to make sure I was on it for qualifying and seventh was quite respectable.
“I got a poor start in race one, but that just made me more determined to show everyone what I could do and I think I proved that. A better start in race two put me in contention, but understeer into Redgate pushed me wide and I took a while to work my way back through the pack. Although I was faster than the guys ahead, I couldn’t find a sensible place to pass and had to bide my time. My pace improved, I was pushing hard and I got out of shape at the Old Hairpin, but that’s all part of the learning curve and I still got some good points with seventh overall.
“Although I had a great start for race three, I was too cautious on the brakes in to Redgate and I was a bit frustrated to lose some places. I got back up to sixth and had a close battle with Harrison Scott, but my pace dropped off as the tyres went past their best, which was hardly surprising considering how hard I was pushing throughout qualifying and the three races.
“The JTR Mygale felt great all weekend, we’ve got a fantastic package and now it’s all about building my race car experience and improving with every event. This weekend’s results give me a huge confidence boost heading in to the rest of the season, I know I have the pace and can run with the top drivers.”