HIGHCROFT SQUAD TAKE NEW HPD ENGINE ON TRACK FOR DEBUT
Patrón Highcroft Racing's work as the official factory-backed team for Honda Performance Development continued last week with the first track test for the 2011-spec LMP engine.
The 2.8 liter, twin-turbo V6 was unveiled at this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans and 2010 American Le Mans Series LMP co-champion Simon Pagenaud was charged with putting the first on track laps on the new power plant at Carolina Motorsports Park in Kershaw, South Carolina.
The team's championship winning 3.4 liter normally aspirated V8 was swapped for the new engine - a process which took approximately seven weeks with the Highcroft engineering squad making small tweaks to the bodywork for the new engine to fit components such as the turbo intercoolers.
The team completed 435 miles on the new production-based engine over the two day test.
"The regulations for next year will slow down both LMP1 and LMP2 cars so it obviously felt slower than our car from this season, but overall the new engine ran exceptionally," Pagenaud said.
"The HPD boys always do an outstanding job and I was incredibly impressed with how smoothly everything went. The car/engine package was very easy to drive straight away and the turbo was a real surprise.
"While it obviously lacks the top speed from the V8, the level of torque was very impressive."
Honda Performance Development enjoyed an incredible year of success in 2010 - taking the American Le Mans Series championship in the most competitive season in ALMS history.
HPD also took class victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans with Strakka Racing and the HPD-powered Lola of RML took the LMP2 championship in the European-based Le Mans Series.
A NEW CAREER LOOMS FOR OUR FAMOUS FRENCHMAN?
Highcroft's Simon Pagenaud may have been busy charging to a championship victory with David Brabham and Marino Franchitti at Petit Le Mans but he took time out during the week to fill the role as the Patrón Paddock Reporter for www.americanlemans.com.
Pagenaud interviewed rivals Guy Smith, Sascha Maassen, Timo Bernhard and a number of American Le Mans Series fans.
He also took time to do a bit of spying on the opposition while on the job. While he may not be ready to kick SPEED TV's Calvin Fish or Brian Till out of a job just yet, Pagenaud did show some talent.
Pagenaud is not about to hang up the driving gloves just yet, but if you want to take a glimpse into his TV future, you can view his efforts by clicking here.
NICK MASON BACKS MILES TO END MALARIA WITH DRUM STICKS
Legendary Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason has again thrown his support behind Highcroft Racing's Miles to End Malaria campaign.
Mason has donated a pair of autographed drum sticks as well as his own copy of "Chequered History - a Celebration of 50 Years of World Championship Racing" - an amazing book which looks back at the history of the Formula 1 World Championship.
An avid car collector and avid racer in his own right, Mason is the father-in-law of Highcroft star Marino Franchitti.
This amazing auction package is now live on the Miles to End Malaria Ebay auction site at www.milestoendmalaria.org/auction
Highcroft Racing kicked off its partnership with Malaria No More in 2009 to help eradicate the terrible disease in Africa which kills a child every 30 seconds.
At this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Highcoft team displayed major signage for the charity - providing massive global exposure for the cause.