An in-depth look at Project Brabham with David Brabham – Part 3


In our first part and second parts of our talk with David Brabham we discovered the idea behind Project Brabham and explored the sports car side of the programme. In the third part we take a look at the ultimate goal… Formula 1.

Unfortunately David’s F1 career didn’t follow the same path as his father due to underpowered and unreliable machinery. Under the current points system, we asked David how many points he would have scored in his career; “Not many!,” he laughed.

“I would have scored one point with my tenth place. I sadly did not have the cars needed to score points on a regular basis and I couldn’t do anything about it, so nothing to shout about.”

With the spotlight on Formula 1 and its rising costs to stay in the sport and be competitive, we asked how he felt about racing in the current formula we have now (V6 turbos rather than when David raced with V8 engines in the early 1990s).

“Formula 1 had to move away from the standard V8’s and I believe that hybrid technology is the future of the sport. Unfortunately the cost of this change has come at a difficult time because most of the teams can’t generate the revenues compared to the costs of running an F1 team.

“The timing of Project Brabham I believe has come at the right time, as the sport needs to think differently as the current model is not a sustainable, but I do not see any changes for a while yet.”

Despite a short-lived two seasons in F1, Brabham has taken the sports car world by storm and is a firmly established name in the sport having taken wins across the world in a variety of classes.

Unfortunately the project has meant that his own racing has had to take the back seat recently, “For the last two years, I have put my racing career on hold in order to push the programme in order to build up the team, it has had its challenges, but it has been so worth it and I believe it is my destiny.

Sir Jack Brabham and David Brabham ( Credit: Brabham Private Archives)
Sir Jack Brabham and David Brabham ( Credit: Brabham Private Archives)

“With regards to racing, there always comes a time when you decide to step down and look to the future. When I was 40, I asked myself what I am going to do when I decide to stop racing and I thought about the fact we have an iconic motorsport heritage but we, as a family, do nothing with the name Brabham.

“I am 50 this year and the timing for a new challenge has come, so I am pleased that I had planned ahead of time with something special that motivates and inspires like driving does. This was important for me, to find something I looked forward to on a day-to-day basis.

 “I have taken the time to get the programme absolutely right, I have over 3,000 people behind the project and I’m now looking towards going into the investor market. After this step, I will then concentrate on building the race team, getting partners on board etc. We have a huge undertaking in the day-to-day running of the project and the great, small team of talented people I have around me are fully behind the Brabham vision. I would not say it has been easy because a lot of this is quite new to me, so I have had to understand every element of the process to keep things going in the right way.

Our final question to David was to ask where he hoped to see the project in five years’ time.

“In five to six years’ time, I would like to us to be racing in the FIA World Endurance Championship in the LMP1 category and becoming world champions with a Le Mans win or two under our belt,” expressed Brabham. “To be at this level it will be really important to attract the right partners as we could not do this on our own. We would also like to see that our success was also down to the 500,000 plus community members who have contributed to the success.

“One of our goals is to also see the Brabham name back in Formula 1, but that is a long way down the road, but you have to have dreams, right?”