In David Brabham’s final instalment of Le Mans Memories, we move on to 2007 and Aston Martin magic – GT1 victory!
“After two years of the Aston Martin DR9 programme we were headed in to a year three ‘must win’ scenario. Aston Martin hadn’t won Le Mans since its outright victory in 1959, so the pressure was on the team and drivers to get the job done.
After two years evolving the DB9R you got a sense the car was ready to win. I was driving with Darren Turner and Rickard Rydell, a great balance of youth and experience with a well matured Aston Martin Racing team.
From the moment we hit the track we knew we had a good car as the balance was right in the ball park. Qualifying went well, the sister car #008 was on pole and we were P4 in class.
I did the start and as I came onto the Mulsanne straight for the first time I was right behind the Corvette, who were our biggest rivals for the win, and just drove past it without too much trouble. By time I was headed to the Mulsanne corner I was five car lengths in front of it and I said to myself, we have them covered.
That feeling stayed with me the whole race as we were battling it out with Corvette and keeping ahead of the other DB9s in the field.
It was the perfect race, car #009 had the least amount of time in the pits compared to the whole field and that was the key to our victory.
The only drama was near the end of the race, as the blackest clouds were rolling into Le Mans. I wasn’t meant to finish, I had done my stints so it was up to Rickard to bring the car home but he wasn’t comfortable finishing in monsoon weather and asked not to drive, as he didn’t know the car as well as Darren and I.
It was a bold and brave decision, and the right one, so I got dressed again and finished the race holding on for dear life as the car was aquaplaning in third gear. To say I felt the whole of Aston Martin’s weight on my shoulders is an understatement, but I crossed the line as the winner of the GT1 class at Le Mans.
Standing on the podium with my team-mates was an awesome feeling of achievement, it was a superb team effort and one I will never forget.”
Images: Aston Martin Racing