Patrón Highcroft Racing has completed an ideal preparation for the 2010 season after recording the fastest LMP2 class time at the annual “Wheels Down” Winter Test at Sebring International Raceway.
The trio of David Brabham, Simon Pagenaud and Marino Franchitti finished in the top three in all four test sessions over the two days – Franchitti setting the fastest time for the team aboard the Honda Performance Development ARX-01c chassis this morning at 1 minute, 48.263 seconds for the historic 3.7 mile Sebring circuit.
While the majority of races in the newly-renamed American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón will combine the LMP1 and LMP2 prototype classes in 2010, the iconic Sebring and Petit Le Mans enduros will run to the separate 24 Hours of Le Mans rules.
The #1 Highcroft squad outpaced its key opposition over the two day test in the LMP2 class which will also feature the Porsche RS Spyder and Lola Mazda machines. The team completed 202 laps over the two-day test.
The reigning American Le Mans Series LMP1 champion will now return to its Danbury, CT base to prepare for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring on March 20.
Testing for the Sebring race week kicks off on Monday, March 15 and continues throughout the week with qualifying for the 58th running of America’s old endurance race scheduled for Thursday, March 18.
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“The car ran very reliably and we certainly learned a lot of things over the past two days which will not only help us in preparation for Sebring, but the entire season.
“I think we are in good shape and the cars feels really strong and consistent. Everyone is really looking forward to getting started on the 2010 season.
“The ARX-01c is very different from the P1 car from last year. The tires, the engine, the chassis – the entire car is a completely different design. We’ve gone back to the P2 car which we know well as drivers and there is some great things about this car which we really enjoy.
“It has a lot of downforce and it’s much lighter than last year’s car. We’d always want a little bit more time to go over certain scenarios but so far from what we have seen in the past couple of days, the car was very reliable.
“Getting more laps is critical to collect lots of data and information for Michelin for the tires, and HPD for the engine. I think we are in reasonable shape.”
“We had a good day today. Yesterday was a bit hectic because the weather was changing a lot.
“It was difficult to be 100% confident on all the reads we had on the set-up.
“Overnight the engineers came up with some really good answers and the car was very good straight away in the morning.
“We kept making improvments during the day. I’m very happy with the pace of the car. We still have some improvements to make for the race itself, but overall it is looking very strong.
“We have all the answers to the questions we were asking when the test started. I’m very confident now. We were able to react quickly to a difficult day yesterday which is great.”
“We had really positive day and all three drivers got to get behind the wheel today.
“We achieved a lot and ticked a lot of the boxes we were looking to do before we come back for the race in a couple of weeks.
“This was our final chance to put a lot of things to bed and today allowed us to try a lot of other radical set-up changes on the car.
“We made some major changes with different set-up theories to make sure when we left, we have all the bases covered.
“Overall it has been a very positive test and everyone is leaving here extremely happy.”
Source ALMS © RIF