Matthew Brabham says he is hopeful his last-minute chance to make his Pirelli World Challenge and GT3 debut this weekend at Portland International Raceway will open more doors for him in sports car racing.
The third-generation racer has been racing full-time in Stadium Super Trucks and says his goal of racing in PWC was made a reality when CRP Racing had a seat come open alongside Daniel Morad in its DeVilbiss-backed Mercedes-AMG GT3.
“I race in Stadium Super Trucks and DeVilbiss sponsor me over there,” Brabahm told Sportscar365.
“I’ve been pestering [CRP Racing team owner] Nick [Short] to get a drive given the relationship we have there, and I’m pursuing sports car stuff as well.
“I don’t know when I first started, but we know each other and we hang out with the sponsor stuff when we’re at the same races together. I’ve been quite interested in Pirelli World Challenge and getting into a sports car.
“I had two races in IndyCar in 2016 and I’ve been trying to get back in. I’ve been racing anything I can while I work towards that, so I’ve been racing Supercars in Australia, Super Trucks, and a whole bunch of other things as well.
“It’s a great opportunity to get my foot in the door for sports cars.”
After getting his start in open-wheel racing, including championships in both USF2000 and Pro Mazda, Brabham has put together an impressively diverse racing resume that includes starts in the Verizon IndyCar Series, Virgin Australia Supercars, ABB FIA Formula E Championship, and Stadium Super Trucks.
Despite his well-rounded background, sports car racing is a new discipline for Brabham who hasn’t so much as tested a GT3 machine.
His lone sports car start came this year driving a BMW M4 GT4 in the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour, which he won in class.
While the deal to run this weekend only came together in the last week, Brabham said he will be drawing on his ample experience of jumping in to unfamiliar cars and unfamiliar tracks to get up to speed as quickly as possible.
“I’m kind of used to it now,” he admitted. “Everything I’ve done in the last three or four years has been just thrown in last minute. It was the same with the Bathurst car, same with Formula E.
“I’d arrive on the day of the Formula E race because there was some last minute stuff going on there. It’s just been like that my whole career.
“To prepare, I’ve been watching loads of videos online, watching races that have been here before, and my dad won here in Portland and my uncle as well in sports cars so I’ve been listening to what they have to say.
“I think the closest thing that I’ve driven [to the Mercedes-AMG GT3] is probably a DTM car.
“I drove the Audi DTM car at a test at a young driver thing they had in Europe, so that’s probably the closest thing. It should be interesting.”
While there are no guarantees for Brabham after this weekend, he said he hopes to get up to speed quickly to support Daniel Morad’s championship bid and potentially earn more sports car chances.
“I’m working 24/7 to find those drives and it’s tough in the world of motorsport these days. Hopefully this opens the door for many more.
“I want to be competitive. That’s the goal. That’s all it is for me. My job is to come in here and be competitive and keep it clean, provide a good tradeoff for Daniel to give us a good result.
“I don’t put any expectations or extra pressure on myself. I’m just here to learn firstly, get up to speed secondly, and bring it home for a good result.”