Indy 500 winner's forgotten DJR test

  • Repco Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 22/05/2019
  • By Mitchell Adam

This weekend's Indianapolis 500 marks the 20th anniversary of a victory by a driver who would later complete a little-remembered Supercars test with Dick Johnson Racing.

Kenny Brack won on US open-wheel racing's biggest day in 1999, but his Indycar career effectively came to an end four years later.

That was the result of a mammoth – reportedly 214G – accident on the Texas oval in October 2003, the Swede suffering serious injuries but fortunately not losing his life.

While Brack's racing since then has been relatively limited, for a period of time it looked set to include a start in the 2005 Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 in a DJR Falcon.

Brack tested one of its Fords in the summer of 2004/05 at Queensland Raceway, and even attended Adelaide's first round of the '05 season with the team.

His laps came in DJR AU12, an ex-Paul Radisich Shell Ford raced by Jose Fernandez in Super2 in 2004 (pictured above at Wakefield Park that year) but consigned to spare duties for '05.

"I was doing rehab from my accident at the time," Brack, below in Adelaide, recalled in 2016.

"I had my accident in October 2003, then I drove an Indycar in June 2004 and that went well.

"We were one tenth off the lap record but I didn't have the stamina, and then there was this test.

"I went down there and drove it and it was a lot of fun. They gave me a good go.

"Touring cars and racing in general, they are under-powered and over-gripped.

"The V8 Supercars at that time, and now as well, it's one of the few championships in the world where the old values of racing still apply.

"You have a lot of horsepower and quite little grip; what I remember was that the car had more power than grip at any stage at any speed.

"I enjoyed it a lot. It was really a lot of fun."

Brack went on to make a one-off Indycar return in 2005, contesting the Indy 500 but retiring due to a mechanical failure.

However plans to tackle Bathurst later that year never came to fruition.

Supercars' then-notorious H-pattern gearbox was the biggest factor working against Brack, who felt he needed more time to get comfortable than was available.

Much of Brack's post-accident racing has been in historics, including taking a Goodwood victory with legendary F1 designer Adrian Newey in 2013

"The plan was to do Bathurst and I was offered to do it," Brack, these days the test driver for McLaren Automotive, said.

"But the trouble was they had the six-speed, manual gearshift and you sat on the right side of the car and the gear lever was kind of bent up.

"I wasn't comfortable with the gearshifts, not to miss gears.

"I said to the team 'I'd love to do Bathurst but I need some more seat time, to get used to it'.

"The team went to all of the other teams to get permission to do another test day, but they couldn't agree.

"With that, I was left with a choice to go into Bathurst knowing that this could be a little bit of an issue.

"So I chose not to do it because I didn't want to put the team in a position where I miss a shift and blow the engine up and destroy Bathurst for them.

"It didn't really continue after that, but it was a great experience and a great team, they were great guys."

The Falcon Brack tested was pressed into action in mid-2005 for Will Davison to race in a Super2 cameo at Queensland Raceway.

Davison then joined Steven Johnson for the enduros in the #17 Ford, before making his full-time debut with DJR in 2006.

Dean Canto won the Super2 title for DJR in 2005 and partnered Glenn Seton in the enduros, recording the team's best result of eighth at Bathurst.

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