Top seat for Brabham

David Brabham will try to emulate older brother Geoff by winning the Le Mans 24 Hours in a Peugeot.

Brabham was the surprise announcement when the Peugeot team launched its 2009 sports car campaign at company headquarters in Paris in February. The 43-year-old British-based Australian was named alongside Peugeot returnee Sébastien Bourdais and seven drivers who raced the 908 HDi last season.

The signing of the youngest of the three Brabham brothers comes 16 years after Geoff won the 24 Hours paired with young guns Christophe Bouchut and Eric Helary.

Brabham said at the launch: “It is a great honour for me to be here as a Peugeot driver with the history of my brother Geoff. It was a big occasion then and hopefully it will be another one this year.”

Peugeot picked Brabham in the wake of a successful season with Acura in last year’s American Le Mans Series. Team manager Serge Saulnier said that Peugeot regular Franck Montagny, who also raced with Acura, had told him ”good things about David”.

”Speed is the main reason we have chosen David,” he explained. ”It is not a problem that he is 43, because he has shown he is fast.”

Brabham will share his 908 HDi turbo diesel with Marc Gené and Alex Wurz at Le Mans and, by way of a warm-up, the Spa Le Mans Series race in April. The other cars will be driven by Bourdais, Montagny and Stephane Sarrazin, and Nicolas Minassian, Pedro Lamy and Christian Klien.

Brabham will be trying to add to an already impressive long-distance racing CV: he has won the Spa 24 Hours and the 1000-mile Petit Le Mans enduro at Road Atlanta, has claimed class victories in the Le Mans, Daytona and Sebring sports car classics, and has a total of nine outright ALMS victories to his name.