HPD Teams, Drivers, Ready for 12-Hour Challenge
Honda Performance Development continued to make strides with new competition packages in both the LMP1 and LMP2 categories through today's final practice and qualifying for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. Simon Pagenaud qualified the brand-new Highcroft Racing HPD ARX-01e seventh in a very competitive LMP1 class; while Luis Diaz led the two-car effort from Level 5 Motorsports by qualifying second in LMP2 in his HPD-powered Lola.
With fewer than four days of running since the unveiling of the ARX-01e in pre-race testing, Highcroft and its driver lineup of Pagenaud, David Brabham and Marino Franchitti have found increased pace with nearly every on-track session.
In LMP2, Diaz hustled the HPD-powered Lola he will share with team principal Scott Tucker and IndyCar driver Ryan Hunter-Reay to second in class. Mechanical problems in the second Level 5 entry kept Christophe Bouchut off the track for almost all of the qualifying session. As a result, the HPD Lola coupe co-driven by Tucker and Joao Barbosa will start near the rear of the 53-car starting field.
Steve Eriksen (Vice President, Honda Performance Development) on Sebring qualifying: "Highcroft has done an excellent job of putting the new ARX-01e together on such a compressed schedule and we've been pleased to see the pace of their LMP1 car. We believe that they have a very good setup for the race and look forward to the battle on Saturday. Level 5 Motorsports also had a very compressed schedule on their new cars so hats off to them for meeting the challenge and qualifying second in LMP2. With a new set of regulations in place it should prove a challenging race for all involved but one that will provide crucial data for the governing bodies to insure proper balance for the new LMP2 format. Best of luck in tomorrow's race to both Level 5 Motorsports and Highcroft Racing!"