HIGHCROFT & HPD'S ARX-01e HITS THE TRACK AT SEBRING
SEBRING, FL, Saturday, March 12, 2010: Highcroft Racing's new HPD ARX-01e hit the track at Sebring for the first time today in preparation for this week's Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.
Marino Franchitti and David Brabham were on site to sample the new LMP1 class racer - a development of last year's championship-winning LMP2 chassis but now featuring more horsepower, revised suspension, wider Michelin tires and a new aerodynamic configuration featuring considerably less drag.
Last year's LMP2 class Sebring polesitter Marino Franchitti was entrusted with initially shaking down the car - the team concentrating on systems checks before bringing the car up to speed.
In total, Franchitti and two-time ALMS prototype champion David Brabham completed 33 laps in the #01 car which will do battle this week against the likes of European factory teams from Audi and Peugeot as well as local rivals armed with Mazda and Aston Martin LMP1 prototypes.
Following today's debut, the Highcroft Racing squad will undertake further preparation on Sunday prior to Monday's official full-day test.
The car will also be prepared in its final Sebring livery which features team technical partner Michelin and its new Pilot Super Sport tire. Brabham and Franchitti's teammate Simon Pagenaud arrives in Sebring on Sunday in preparation for race week.
Testing continues on Tuesday prior to the start of official practice on Thursday. The 59th running of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring goes green on Saturday, March 19.
“It is fantastic to be back at the track with Highcroft, HPD and the new ARX-01e. It was great today to get the shakedown under our belt – we just did our normal systems checks and we were delighted with the way everything went.
“Now we can go back, dissect all the data, make some changes and come back on Monday to do some more running.
“On track today we not only have a bigger engine air restrictor for the LMP1 class we’re also running basically Le Mans downforce.
“The car is very slippery and we have a lot more power so we have a much better straight line speed performance than what we were used to.
“Last year you would accelerate along the straight and hit a virtual wall, but this year the car seems to be accelerating all the way to the end.
“It will be very interesting to see how we stack up against the diesels when Monday’s practice starts.”
“It is fantastic to get in the car again - everyone is so excited about Sebring race week.
“Today was all about systems checks, making sure nothing was rubbing or leaking and I have to congratulate the guys because we had very little go wrong today and it is a great start for the week coming up.
“The Highcroft boys have worked very hard to get the car here. Obviously we would have liked to been testing before Christmas but it wasn’t to be.
“Everything has been a bit of a rush but the Highcroft team as usual have just done a phenomenal job.
“One thing that struck me very quickly about the ARX-01e is how fast it is in a straight line because we have Le Mans downforce and a bigger restrictor.
“It is a lot faster in the straight and certainly way quicker than what we are used to in this car.
“That was really exciting to see. We’re low on downfoce but we’re waiting for the grip to come up during the week as we discover what the balance is like, getting the ride heights where they need to be – there is so much for us to do, but we are really just getting started.”
-source: highcroft racing