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Three generations of Brabhams on track at Nationallube Historic Sandown

Submitted by on October 29, 2009

Three generations of Australia’s first family of motorsport will be on track at this year’s 18th Nationallube Historic Sandown from November 6-8.

Two of the Brabhams will fight it out in a unique speed comparison on the 3.1km Melbourne metropolitan circuit.

Le Mans and Bathurst champion Geoff Brabham at the wheel of a current model V8-engined BMW M3 coupe will be pitted against his 15 year-old son Matthew in a Spectrum Formula Ford, while four-time Australian champion and fellow Bathurst winner John Bowe will drive a race-prepared GT40 replica.

And Geoff’s father and Matthew’s grandfather, three time Formula One World Champion and Victorian Historic Racing Register Patron, Sir Jack Brabham, will drop the starter’s flag.

It will be the first time that Geoff and Matthew Brabham have raced against each other on a circuit.

The Speed Comparison on both the Saturday and Sunday of the weekend-long Historic Sandown race programme, will be a highlight of the meeting, which has attracted a huge entry of more than 400 historic racing, sports and touring cars spanning five decades.

They include a thundering field of up to 35 pre-1974 touring cars contesting the final round of the 2009 Biante Touring Car Masters, with two series titles in the series for pre-1974 cars going down to the wire.

The Speed Comparison will be a battle of youth versus experience.

Matthew Brabham has just been selected to join the CAMS Rising Star Program in 2010 following his meteoric rise through karts to Formula Ford.

The young Queenslander began karting in 2001 and after several state championship victories and podiums at national level, he made the transition into Formula Ford this year with almost immediate success.

Driving an Australian built Spectrum Chassis for the Minda Motorsports/Kangan Batman Tafe team, Matthew made his category debut at Sandown on July 19 this year, finishing 15th.

Then in only his second race in a Formula Ford on September 27, he qualified sixth and scored an incredible second place finish in Round 4 of the Victorian State Championship in challenging weather at Phillip Island –­ a circuit he had never previously experienced.

Matthew’s goal for 2010 is to raise enough sponsorship to contest the Australian National Formula Ford Championship. At Sandown he will be driving the same Spectrum FF he raced at Sandown and Phillip Island.

But he won’t be alone. A huge entry of 49 other Formula Fords has been received for the meeting to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Formula Ford in Australia.

Pitted against him in the Speed Comparison will be two of Australia’s most decorated and experienced drivers.

Geoff Brabham raced 10 times in the Indianapolis 500, finishing fourth in 1983 driving a Penske Cosworth.

He also won the Can-Am Championship in 1981 and claimed four successive IMSA GTP titles for Nissan in the United States from 1988-1991, before taking victory in the 1993 Le Mans 24-Hour race for Peugeot.

Back in Australia, he won his first V8 Supercar race on debut in the Sandown 500 in 1993 and joined his brother David to win the Bathurst 1000 in a BMW Super Tourer in 1997.

Brabham, who now works for BMW Group Australia as a driver trainer, will be at the wheel of a current model E92 M3 Coupe, powered by a 4.0-litre V8 engine producing 309kW.

Against the Brabhams and expected to start off scratch in the Speed Comparison, will be John Bowe driving a Roaring Forties Mk1b GT40 replica fitted with a carbon fibre body and prepared for Group 2 Marque Sports Car racing with a high-output Ford 308-cid V8 engine.

Two years younger than Geoff Brabham at 55, Bowe is a four time Australian champion in three different categories.

He was twice Australian Driving Champion in 1984 and 1985 in a Ralt RT4 during the Formula Pacific era; he was Australian Sports Car Champion in 1986 with the Veskanda-Chevrolet and became Australian Touring Car Champion in 1995 when driving for Dick Johnson Racing.

He has also won Bathurst twice – in 1989 and 1994 – both times as co-driver for long time friend Dick Johnson in Fords.

Overshadowing them all in age, experience and credentials will be Sir Jack Brabham, who will attend the meeting as the guest of the Victorian Historic Racing Register in his capacity as lifetime club Patron.

As well taking part in a parade lap of legends on the Sunday, the 83 year-old three-time World Driving Champion will also drop the flag on one of the Speed Comparisons amongst his son, grandson and John Bowe.

For further Sandown Historic information visit www.vhrr.com or call 0402 224 133

Image Captions:

Matthew Brabham  – Shooting star, Matthew Brabham, aged 15.

Geoff Brabham – Le Mans winner Geoff Brabham will drive a new V8-engined BMW M3 against his 15 year-old son Matthew and four-time Australian champion John Bowe in the Nationallube Historic Sandown Speed Comparison on November 6-8.

John Bowe  – Four-time Australian champion, John Bowe. Two-time Bathurst winner Bowe will drive this potent race-prepared Roaring Forties Mk1b GT40 replica in a three-way speed comparison.

Sir Jack Brabham – Three-time Formula One World Champion.

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