David Brabham’s Le Mans Memories Part I – Zytek

It’s Le Mans week! An ideal time for David Brabham to share some of his memories from across his 18 Le Mans 24 Hours race starts. And we start with Zytek – One of those laps..! 

David Brabham:

My memory from Le Mans 2004 driving the Zytek 675 car was special because you just don’t go P1 overall in that 675 car against the factory and customer LMP1 cars!

After the disappointment of finishing second at Le Mans in 2003 with Bentley I reinvented myself to be stronger, fitter and more focussed for 2004. In my hands was a Zytek 675, an LMP2 in today’s world, and it was fast. How fast at Le Mans we were not sure, but we were confident we’d be quickest in the 675 class. 

In qualifying, I had one of those Lap of the God’s moments as I saw myself above the car just watching, a kind of different dimension. I was P11 overall until we bolted on a set of qualifying tyres, then the magic happened. 

I was in the zone and saw the lap in my mind before it begun. I was at one with the car as I flew through the corners as fast as it could go, as the 675’s were slow on the straights compared higher horsepower LMP1’s. To say I was on a mission was an understatement! I knew the car would not last in the race but we could do something special in qualifying so the game was on. 

The team were all waiting for me to cross the line and, when I did, there was utter silence. Why? Because my name disappeared and it took time for people to find me, they looked all the way up the list and there I was, P1 overall! 

I went for another lap and pinged a purple sector in sector 1 but then hit a wall of traffic. After Audi threw multiple sets of qualifying tyres at their R8s, I dropped to P3 overall and the next fastest of the 675 cars was 12th. 

The engine expired in the middle of the night….but what a moment….

Join David Brabham as part of the Eurosport commentary team throughout the 2021 running of the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans.


Image: Motorsport Images