ACURA ENJOYS RECORD SPORTS CAR SEASON WITH TITLES IN AMERICAN LE MANS SERIES LMP1, LMP2 CLASSES
Brabham, Sharp Leads Patron Highcroft Racing Past de Ferran Motorsports in LMP1; Lowe's Fernandez Team Dominates LPM2 Division With Record 8 Class Win.
TORRANCE, Calif. -- Acura Motorsports teams and drivers dominated the 2009 American Le Mans Series with record runs in both the LMP1 and LMP2 prototype classes.
The 2009 10-race ALMS campaign concluded last weekend with another Acura 1-2-3 overall finish at Laguna Seca Raceway. It marked the fifth time in 2009 that Acura placed in the top three positions overall. Acura became the first carmaker in ALMS history to win both the LMP1 and LMP2 classes in the same season.
With eight overall victories and nine pole positions, the new, technically-advanced Acura ARX-02a sports car was impressive in its debut this year with Patron Highcroft Racing and de Ferran Motorsports leading the way.
After a hard-fought LMP1 points battle, David Brabham and Scott Sharp took the No. 9 Patron Highcroft Racing Acura ARX-02a to the prestigious driver and team championships with a consistent performances through the North American tour. Led by three wins [St. Petersburg, Road America and Mosport], the Connecticut-based squad notched podium finishes eight times and came back from a devastating crash at Petit Le Mans to finish sixth for valuable points. It was Patron Highcroft Racing's first LMP1 crown.
The de Ferran team's driving duo of Gil de Ferran and Simon Pagenaud paced many of the races with an LMP1-leading five wins and seven poles in the No. 66 XM Satellite Radio Acura ARX-02a, but the pair was just short in the final LMP1 point tally. Veteran de Ferran won at Laguna Seca in his final race as a driver. He will continue as a team owner. Pagenaud clocked three poles and five fast laps in 2009.
It was a record-setting year for the LMP2 Lowe's Fernandez Acura team with Mexican driving stars Adrian Fernandez and Luis Diaz scoring eight LMP2 class wins. That mark tied the 2007 LMP2 win record of Penske Racing with drivers Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas. In addition to the eight wins, Fernandez and Diaz posted seven poles and five fast race laps. The Lowe's team also won the Michelin Green X Challenge title for the best fuel economy.
JOHN MENDEL, Executive Vice President, Auto Operations, American Honda Motor Co.: "Acura recorded ALMS history this year by becoming the first manufacturer to win the LMP1 and LMP2 manufacturers' championships as well as the team and driver titles in the same season. We want to congratulate Patron Highcroft Racing, de Ferran Motorsports and Lowe's Fernandez Racing for their tremendous 2009 season. It was a sensational year for Acura, Honda Performance Development [HPD] and the teams. A special thanks to everyone."
ERIK BERKMAN, President, Honda Performance Development: "This year has been a fantastic season for Acura Motorsports. Acura and HPD introduced a unique vehicle in LMP1 category that opened many eyes with some of the most advanced, technological designs in sports car racing history with the new Acura ARX-02a prototype. We were like to thank and salute Patron Highcroft Racing, de Ferran Motorsports and Lowe's Fernandez Racing. Having such professional organizations behind the Acura brand has given us world-class racing credentials and established Acura Motorsports as a racing leader."
DUNCAN DAYTON (team owner, #9 Patron Highcroft Racing Acura ARX-02a): "For my team to win the LMP1 championship in ALMS would have to rank as the ultimate achievement of my sporting career. Everybody who wears the Patron Highcroft uniform has an incredible passion for this sport. To see the sheer joy and delight on my guys' faces, it really means a lot to all of us."
GIL de FERRAN (driver/team owner, #66 XM Radio de Ferran Acura ARX-02a): "I have loved every minute of driving this sports car and I am now committing myself to the business of running the team. I have a fantastic group of guys at de Ferran Motorsports. We have all been on an incredible journey over the past 18 months. This [Laguna Seca] victory and all the successes this year are a tribute to them."
ADRIAN FERNANDEZ (driver/team owner, #15 Lowe's Fernandez Acura ARX-01b): "I have to thank Luis for being a great teammate, and this team. They are just tremendous. I am very proud of them. They gave me the nine best years of my career. We won in every single series we competed. We had a fantastic sponsor in Lowe's and the support of Acura and Michelin. It has just been a great ride. I also have to thank my family for supporting me and giving me their support to come here every weekend."
-credit: acura motorsports