Top sportscar racer David Brabham has been announced as the National Race Coach for the new Motor Sport Association (MSA) Academy Team UK driver education and development scheme.
Brabham, the son of Australian triple Formula One champion Jack and the winner of a wide range of Le Mans Series events including last year’s 24 Hours and ALMS title, will be helping to create a national squad of the country’s most promising race and drivers aged 17-24.
The MSA Academy is designed to guide young drivers from the age of eight through to world championship level, while the new Team UK is a bid to create a national motorsport squad in the format that has been so successful in sports such as cycling and swimming.
Brabham is set to help equip drivers with the race preparation and on-track skills, as well as working on individual fitness programmes, dietary consultations and the application of advanced sports psychology.
As well as celebrating his 2009 racing achievements with British fans at Autosport International last weekend, Brabham also gave 20 young karters aged 12-17 and their parents his tips for success at a free karting workshop.
Max Coates, aged 16 from Scorton, North Yorkshire, who moves from the Junior Max karting category to the Ginetta Junior series in 2010, attended the session. He said: “Thank you very much, I really enjoyed the course and got a lot from it. I am going to put some of David’s principles to the test and hopefully use them to my benefit.”
Henry Fletcher, from Eastleigh in Hampshire, started his first full season karting in the Junior Max class in 2008, racing at Dorset kart circuits, Forest Edge and Clay Pigeon. Henry attended the Karting Workshop during what was his first ever visit to Autosport International and found the session invaluable.
Henry’s mum Emma said: “David’s session gave a really good overview of all of the skills that are required, not only in helping aspiring drivers progress through the sport, but in life itself.
“Although the workshop was for young karters, I think parents and children took something away from this session. Particularly relevant for me was the importance of setting achievable targets and applying a positive mental attitude.”
Brabham said he was delighted at the response to the second-ever Karting Workshop held in partnership with the Karting Show at Autosport International.
He said: “I’m over the moon with how well the Karting Workshop was received by all who attended. We had a full house and I was able to keep young minds focussed for nearly 90 minutes.
“When we hold these special sessions, we also invite drivers’ parents to attend, as the things I’m teaching are relevant to them as well. That showed in the Q&A afterwards where I answered quite a few questions from parents on topics not just relating to their child but to themselves as well.
“It was terrific to get such positive feedback from all who attended and it was rewarding to share such an interactive session from which I think both the children and the parents benefited.”
Brabham followed his Autosport International duties with a visit to meet the first intake of candidates for the MSA-backed Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence (AASE) in motorsport, held at the Porsche Human Performance Centre at Silverstone.
Designed to develop the range of skills required in elite sport, AASE will help drivers aged 16-24 develop a mix of transferable skills and qualifications, aiding their progress as a competitor and encouraging the pursuit of further and higher education and employment.
Brabham said of the event: “A lot of those young people will be hoping to become a member of Team UK in the future and it’s important for us to know who is coming through the ranks. This is an area that the MSA wants us to focus on, in terms of searching for potential drivers.
“The AASE drivers will get a fantastic understanding of what is required before they get to that level, making our jobs a lot easier in helping them move forward.”
Brabham himself is now starting his campaign to defent his ALMS crown in 2010 with Patrón Highcroft Racing.
“Planning for the 2010 season is well underway – I’ll be having my seat fitting with my two teammates Simon [Pagenaud] and Marino [Franchitti] and then it’s on to begin our pre-season testing campaign. I can’t wait.”