Matt Brabham standing by and ready to go for IndyCar ride

(Michael L. Levitt LAT Photo USA)
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Have seat and helmet, will travel.

That’s become Matt Brabham’s unofficial motto as he continues pursuing a full-time ride in the Verizon IndyCar Series for 2017 – if not a fill-in role still this season.

Brabham may not have a ride but that’s not keeping him from going to races. For example, he’ll be at this weekend’s Kohler Grand Prix at Road America in Wisconsin.

Brabham’s custom made IndyCar seat is being stored by KV Racing Technology in one of its transporters that travel to each race, so that Brabham will have quick access if he’s called upon to replace another driver at the last minute.

“KV Racing has been kind enough to make some space in their truck for my seat and I am ready to go if anything eventuates,” Brabham said in a media release. “I just have to make sure I am on the ground and put myself in a position where I can continue to educate myself on every aspect of the business.”

He’s also bringing his helmet and firesuit, as he’ll be driving the Honda two-seater Indy car at the track this weekend, as well.

Brabham has been riding a string of good luck of late. After finishing 16th in the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis and 22nd in the Indianapolis 500, Brabham has racked up three straight wins.

Admittedly, they haven’t been on the IndyCar circuit, but a win is a win if you’re a race car driver.

First came back-to-back wins in the Stadium Super Trucks Series three weeks ago at Belle Isle in a fill-in role for series founder Robby Gordon.

Then this past weekend, back at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Brabham picked up a class win co-driving an older Indy Lights car with Lee Brahin in the SVRA Brickyard Vintage Racing Invitational.

Not only did the younger Brabham celebrate in Victory Circle and drank from a ceremonial bottle of milk, his father Geoff was also a winner in a different class, driving a Brabham BT35.

There has already been some interest from potential teams for Brabham’s driving talent. PIRTEK Team Murray owner Brett “Crusher” Murray had a number of meetings in Detroit about Brabham during the Belle Isle weekend and he has additional meetings this week in the United Kingdom.

“Matt’s faultless performance … has created the opportunity to open discussions with several parties and we look forward to continuing those in coming weeks as we evaluate what is available,” Murray said. “I could not have been happier with Matt’s efforts during the last six months and can confidently say that he is one of the best talents I have had the pleasure of working with in 30 years in the business.”

Brabham appreciates Murray’s efforts and is hoping the ongoing conversations eventually bear fruit.

“It is nice that people are keen to sit down and discuss the future with us and I am sure that would not be the case if we had not created something positive in the month of May,” he said.

“There are just so many elements that need to come together, but hard work is not something that myself, “Crusher” or our team have ever been scared of. I think we proved that last month, but that is just the start.

“We have just got to be patient, respectful and don’t lose focus on our end goal, which is a long-term and successful IndyCar career.”

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NEOM McLaren Formula E announces Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast for 2023 season

McLaren Formula E Hughes
McLaren Racing
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Doubling down on their commitment to electric auto sports, McLaren Racing announced Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast to compete in the 2023 Formula E Series (FE), which completes their driver lineup.

The NEOM McLaren FE team was formed by the acquisition of the Mercedes-EQ Formula E team that won the 2021 and 2022 championships with Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries behind the wheel.

“Today’s announcement feels like a long time coming,” said Ian James, managing director of NEOM McLaren Electric Racing in a release. “Since May this year, when we first announced McLaren Racing’s entry into Formula E, we have been working tirelessly to get in place the best possible team and structure for sustainable success.

“On the one hand, we have been working on the retention of the amazing talent that already was in place before going into the transitional phase. I’m proud to say I think we’ve done a great job on that front.

“On the other hand, we have been focusing on putting in place new processes and new talent – and the latter includes the drivers.”

The driver lineup clasps the two hands together.

Hughes brings 10 years racing experience in single seater cars, including a role with the acquired Mercedes-EQ team as a reserve and development driver for the past two seasons. He is the 2013 BRDC Formula 4 champion and has multiple wins in Formula 2, including two in 2020.

Announced in August, Rast joins the team after earning two podium finishes and six top-fives in 22 career Formula E starts for Audi Sport ABT before returning to the DTM Series last year. Rast’s best finish in Formula E came in the Puebla E Prix when he finished second to teammate Lucas di Grassi by less than a half second.

McLaren’s commitment to Formula E comes one year after they entered the Extreme E rally series in 2022 with Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour in the driver lineup. After a modest start to the season, the McLaren XE drivers crossed the finish line first in Round 4 in Chile, but were assessed a time penalty that dropped them to fifth. Last week in the season finale in Uruguay, they held onto a hard-earned second place finish.