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Brabham to pilot Australian Indy 500 team

Gordon Lomas

Friday 4th December, 2015 - 11:25am

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Pirtek Team Murray creator Bretty Murray, driver Matthew Brabham and Pirtek's Glen Duncan

Pirtek Team Murray creator Brett Murray, driver Matthew Brabham and Pirtek USA international executive director Glenn Duncan

A team put together in Australia will field Matthew Brabham in the historic 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 next May.

In a major coup for what is recognised as one of the biggest motor races in the world, Brabham will pilot a Chevrolet-powered IndyCar that will be backed by successful fluid transfer solutions company Pirtek.

Pirtek Team Murray is the creation of Speedcafe.com founder Brett Murray and will be fielded under the KV Racing Technology umbrella which won the Indy 500 in 2013 with Tony Kanaan.

The program will also see Team Murray compete in the May 14’s Angie’s List Grand Prix event on the road course at Indianapolis as a warm-up for the 500.

Murray, who has been a regular at the Brickyard over the last 20 years, says he made a promise to Sir Jack Brabham before he died in May last year that he would do everything to help with Matthew’s career.

“I have had a dream of having my own car in the Indy 500 since before Matt was born and Matt has had a dream of being a starter in the 500 since he was old enough to get behind the wheel,” Murray, who also owns the BAM Group of companies said.

“I have been extremely fortunate to have had Pirtek as a client and be a part of the Pirtek ‘family’ for more than 15 years and I could not think of any better people to be standing in pit lane beside us at next year’s 100th Indy 500.

“I made a promise to Sir Jack (Brabham) before he passed away that I would do what I could to help Matt’s career.”

Brabham’s entry will see the 21-year-old follow in the footsteps of his grandfather Sir Jack who revolutionised the race by running the first rear engine car at the Brickyard in 1961.

Matthew’s father Geoff, a four-times IMSA champion, contested 10 Indy 500s with his best finish of fourth in 1983.

The only other families to run a third generation driver in the Indy 500 are the Vukovich and Andretti clans.

Pirtek and Team Murray are also planning a series of business and charity initiatives that will be linked to the Indy 500 program.

The next step of the team roll-out will include a major announcement at Indianapolis later next week.

Team Murray has ensured another chapter of the Brabham dynasty is written into Indianapolis folklore.

The US-born but Gold Coast raised Brabham’s career had lost momentum this year with limited Indy Lights drives and sporadic Formula E appearances.

He had made a strong fist of the IndyCar ladder system, winning the USF2000 series and the Pro Mazda Championship.

Brabham’s inclusion in the 500 sees him become the ninth Australian to race in the 200-lap epic.

“There is no doubt that this is a dream come true,” Brabham said.

“I cannot thank ‘Crusher’ enough for his belief and Glenn Duncan and Pirtek for their faith and financial commitment.

“To have the support of a fantastic company like Pirtek for my first Indy 500 really is amazing.”

Pirtek chief executive Glenn Duncan says the investment in Team Murray fits with its US expansion plans.

“We have been working hard on getting all our systems in place for a well-structured expansion in the US market,” Duncan said.

“A partnership with Team Murray and Matt Brabham provides a perfect platform for us to showcase the value of our franchise network to America while giving us enormous leveraging opportunities globally.”

The announcement coincides with Brabham’s second appearance in the Stadium Super Trucks at Sydney Olympic Park this weekend after he made a lightning trip to Spain to test Audi’s RS5 DTM car at Jerez.

The Pirtek Dallara-Chevrolet that Brabham will drive at Indy

The Pirtek Dallara-Chevrolet that Brabham will drive at Indy

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