Patrón Highcroft Racing continued to set the pace in the LMP2 class in today’s opening day of official practice for Saturday’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring – the first round of the 2010 American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón.
The #1 car of David Brabham, Simon Pagenaud and Marino Franchitti has headed the timesheet in every test and practice session throughout the week except for one – this afternoon’s second practice which the team elected to sit out to make final preparations for Saturday’s race.
After recording the team’s fastest time of the week this morning of 1 minute 47.308 seconds, the team spent this afternoon fitting race components including a new gearbox to the Honda Performance Development factory-backed ARX-01c chassis.
The team returned to the track for tonight’s evening practice session. After all three drivers completed their mandatory three laps of night practice, the team tended to a brake issue before Brabham returned to the track to again push the Highcroft machine to the top of the LMP2 class and fourth overall – stopping the clocks at 1:48.711.
This morning’s fastest time is already 2.3 seconds faster than last year’s LMP2 pole time.
For tomorrow afternoon’s qualifying session, Scotsman Marino Franchitti will take the wheel as the team does battle against the Dyson Mazda Lola and the Cytosport Porsche RS Spyder for top position honors.
Fans will get the chance to get an autograph from the popular Australian/French/Scottish combination at 12:00pm tomorrow and can join the team in its new 2010 fight to end malaria deaths in Africa via the Miles to End Malaria campaign.
For 2010, race fans can take part in the campaign via their cell phone by texting “MILES” to 85944 to make a one-time $10 donation.*
The team will have a single one-hour practice session from 9:40am tomorrow prior to the 2:25pm qualifying session.
Saturday’s opening round of the 2010 American Le Mans Series will greet the green flag from 10:30am.
*A one-time donation of $10 will be added to your mobile phone bill or deducted from your prepaid balance. Messaging & Data Rates May Apply. All charges are billed by and payable to your mobile service provider. Service is available on most carriers. Donations are collected for the benefit of the Malaria No More Fund by the Mobile Giving Foundation and subject to the terms found at www.hmgf.org/t. You can unsubscribe at any time by replying STOP to short code 85944; Reply HELP to 85944 for help.
“We missed the afternoon session today to make sure we could run tonight with the full race package in place.
“We discovered we had a bit of a brake issue, but the boys got to work on that and the car felt really good afterwards.
“The pace was there. I felt like I could go quicker but the first time when you go out at night it takes a while for the eyes and the brain to adjust.
“Sometimes you arrive at the hairpin there is dust everywhere because a GT car has dragged dirt back onto the track.
“Going to day to night can be very different. It takes a while to adjust both visually seeing it and transferring that information to the brain.
“Once I felt comfortable, the Michelins came up to temperature and the brakes were working well, I could push a lot more.”
“I’m very pleased with the way everything has gone and I really can’t wait to go racing.
“It has been a long week already and it feels like we have been here for a month.
“We have a very good racecar and the Patrón Highcroft team have done an excellent job in preparing the car.
“We put the race package on for tonight’s practice with the race gearbox and brakes etc., and it all feels fantastic.
“We’ve had a very good preparation and I am very confident.
“Marino has done a tremendous job since we started working together, he is right on the pace and I think he’ll put in a great performance in qualifying tomorrow.”
“I am delighted to get the chance to qualify the car tomorrow. It is great that the team have entrusted me with that and we just hope we can put it on pole.
“I don’t think we have seen everything that the Dyson Mazda car has up its sleave so we’ll see where we are tomorrow. The Porsche Spyder will be strong as well.
“I think it is going to be a great battle. That is the great thing about qualifying, you don’t know who is going to come out on top.
“We have done all our homework and put in a lot of hard work and I think we can put the Patrón Highcroft car on pole.
“I feel very comfortable in the car and the guys have done a great job in preparing it. It is an absolute joy to drive the HPD ARX-01c around the track and we’re all hitting the same pace which is fantastic. I don’t think we could be in a better situation.”
SEBRING BY THE NUMBERS
Track Distance: 5.95 km / 3.697 miles
Pole Time: 105.28 seconds
Average Speed: 204 km/h / 127 mph
Fastest Corner: Turn 1
Max Corner Speed: 225 km/h / 140 mph
Max Lat G’s: 3.2 G
Max Lat G’s: Corner: Turn 1
Slowest Corner: Turn 7
Min Corner Speed: 75 km/h / 47 mph
Top Speed (ARX-02a): 265 km/h / 165 mph
Top Speed (ARX-01c Est): 255 km/h / 158 mph
Full Throttle: 70%
Max Braking G’s: 3.0 G
No. of Braking Zones: 9
Gear Changes: 34
Left Turns: 6
Right Turns: 11
No. of Turns: 17
– Second longest circuit in the ALMS
– Fourth highest average speed
– Largest number of turns of all ALMS tracks including most turns right
– Has the equal slowest corner speed for a road course
– Tied with Long Beach and Miller Motorsports Park for the most number of braking zones
– With Road America has the most gear changes per lap
– Rated fourth for maximum number of G’s
Courtesy ALMS © RIF