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Brabham struggles in Perth Supercars debut

NZN 4/05/2017 Laine Clark

The biggest surname in Australian motorsport has made little impact on Supercars debut in Perth.

Matthew Brabham - the grandson of late three-time Formula One champion Sir Jack - has a great pedigree but the jury is out on his Supercars credentials after Friday's practice.

Brabham finished last in the 26-strong field when the dust settled, more than three seconds off the pace of leader Shane van Gisbergen.

He faced a steep learning curve after receiving a last minute clearance to replace Holden driver Taz Douglas for the Perth SuperSprint.

Remarkably, Brabham - who has never competed in Supercars - had a licence approved by governing body Confederation of Australian Motor Sports on Thursday afternoon.

The US-based Brabham then had a crash course on Supercars from former Bathurst 1000 champion Paul Morris before getting behind the wheel for Friday practice.

The 23-year-old may need a few more lessons judging by his results.

"I just need laps really," said Brabham, who has only ever competed in single-seater racing - including last year's Indianapolis 500.

"Obviously it is pretty cool to be out on track with all these blokes.

"They are so competitive. I have already seen that in practice.

"I have been having fun, feeling comfortable and working my way up to getting some speed."

Brabham received an SOS after Douglas made himself unavailable for the round four of the Supercars series due to "a long term wedding engagement".

Fortunately, Brabham was already in Perth to contest support category Stadium Super Trucks.

"Obviously this has all come together at the last minute and has been a bit of a surprise, but we will give it the best shot we can," Brabham said.

"When they rang to see if I was interested it was obviously from way left field, but exciting at the same time.

"I am under no illusions about the expectations this weekend."

Douglas will return next round at Winton but Brabham has been told he can earn a full-time Supercars drive if he impresses this weekend.

Brabham will become the third generation of his famous family to race Supercars.

His father - Le Mans 24 Hour winner Geoff - paired with David Parsons to win the 1993 Sandown 500. Four years later Geoff teamed up with his brother David to win the two-litre Super Touring Bathurst 1000.

Uncle David was the last Brabham to contest a Supercars race, partnering Tim Slade to fourth at the 2012 Gold Coast 600.

Geoff notched up six starts as a Supercars co-driver from 1999-2001 with a best finish of sixth with Steve Ellery in the 2001 Queensland 500.

Surprisingly, Sir Jack contested a handful of touring car races in a mini-comeback in the late 1970s, along with several Bathurst 1000 starts.

His best finish was fourth in the now defunct Rothmans 300 enduro at the former Surfers Paradise Raceway.

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