A third generation of Australia’s most famous motor racing family will make its debut at Bathurst’s famous Mt Panorama with Matt Brabham confirmed to drive a privately-entered BMW GT4 in February’s Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12-hour.
Brabham, 23, will team up with another third-generation racer in Aaron Seton who will be having his third start in the 12-hour in a The Boat Works-sponsored BMW GT4, entered by Australian touring car legend Tony Longhurst.
Longhurst, a two-time Bathurst 1000 winner, is currently slotted in as the third driver in the car, but will not make a final decision on his participation until he drives the Boat Works BMW GT4 in coming weeks.
While the team will have major branding from The Boat Works, a final rollout of the team’s look and feel and corporate partnership program will come in the last week of January.
Matt will the third generation of Brabham to race at Mt Panorama after his grandfather Sir Jack Brabham and father Geoff.
Ironically, Matt became just the third third-generation driver to make his debut at the famous Indianapolis 500 last year when he drove the PIRTEK Team Murray entry in the 100th running of the race which was the world’s biggest one-day sporting event.
Sir Jack won the Bathurst 100 mile race back in 1960 in a 2.5 litre Cooper Climax in which he was clocked at 157mph (251kph) down Conrod Straight.
In 1976 Sir Jack, the F1 World Champion in 1959, 1960 and 1966, entered the Bathurst 1000 with English legend Stirling Moss, but their day came to an abrupt end when a broken drive line saw their Holden Torana stranded on the start line and then hit from behind.
The following year Sir Jack was 18th with son Geoff before his final effort in 1978 which netted sixth alongside Brian Muir.
Ironically, Geoff drove a Glenn Seton-entered Ford Falcon with David Parsons to sixth place at the Bathurst 1000 in 1993.
He returned four years later and won the Bathurst 1000 in a BMW with his brother David after original winners and BMW teammates Craig Baird and Paul Morris were disqualified for a driver-time infringement.
A year later he returned to Bathurst to team-up with Longhurst in a Falcon where they finished eighth.
Seton, 19, is the son of two-time Australian touring car champion (1993 and 1997) Glenn Seton and grandson of Barry “Bo” Seton, who won the Bathurst 500 in 1965 in a Ford Cortina GT500 with Midge Bosworth.
Glenn started from pole in the Bathurst 1000 in 1994 and 1996 and finished second in the race three times. In 1995 he came painfully close to a victory when his Falcon expired while leading with nine laps remaining.
Aaron has progressed through the karting ranks and has driven successfully in several series including the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge, the Toyota 86 one-make series and Kuhmo Australian V8 Touring Car Series.
He has driven in the last two Bathurst 12-hour events in MARC Cars entered by Ryan McLeod. The first year he finished 13th outright and first in class and earlier this year he finished 18th outright and second in class.
Longhurst officially announced his “retirement” from active racing at the end of last year’s Bathurst 12-hour in which he drove a BMW GT3 with Russell Ingall and Mark Skaife, but that may have been a little premature.
Brabham finished runner-up in the Stadium Super Trucks Championship after the final round in California last weekend.
Next year’s Bathurst 12-hour will be held from February 2-4 and will involve a field of more than 55 cars.
WHAT THEY HAVE TO SAY…
“Once this stuff is in your blood it is hard to shake it,” said Longhurst.
“I am still undecided about driving or not, but it is terrific that we have created something to give a couple of young talents like Matt (Brabham) and Aaron (Seton) the chance to have a burn around.
“Both kids are quick and wonderful young men who just have a passion for the sport.
“It will be a buzz to see the names Brabham and Seton on the side of the car and if we decide to add Longhurst or another name to that, we will see.”
“I am looking forward to having my first outing at Mt Panorama and this is a terrific way to do it,” said Brabham.
“I have to thank Tony for the opportunity.
“It is pretty cool to be heading to Bathurst with the group of people we have given the history of all three families separately and together over the years.
“Given Dad’s history with BMW at Bathurst and professionally, it is also nice to be making my debut there with the German marque.
“It would be terrific to get a solid result on debut and use that to springboard myself into more opportunities in Australia, the US, Asia and Europe.”
“The Seton family has a little bit of unfinished business at Bathurst and it would be nice to get a solid result in the Boat Works BMW GT4 in February,” said Seton.
“Anytime you can get to do laps of Mt Panorama is great, but to be going there with a brand new BMW GT4 with the support of someone like Tony (Longhurst) is pretty special.
“It is also cool to have the Brabham, Seton and Longhurst names together.
“I have known Matt for a long time and he has built some strong international experience which I am sure will be extremely valuable for the team.
“I look forward to the team taking shape over the next seven or eight weeks and being a part of something memorable.”