STRONG START FOR PATRON HIGHCROFT RACING IN LAGUNA SECA TESTING
David Brabham MONTEREY, CA, Friday, October 8, 2009: Patron Highcroft Racing's run towards American Le Mans Series LMP1 championship completion had a strong start in testing today at the Monterey Sports Car Championship presented by Patron.
The Patron Highcroft Racing Acura ARX-02a of Scott Sharp and David Brabham was second fastest in official testing - stopping the clocks at 1 minute, 12.873 seconds - only .316 of a second off the fastest time of the day.
Today's 90 minute session for the prototype cars was run from 5:10pm - providing the team with an ideal comparison to what track and weather conditions should be like for Saturday's final round of the 2009 championship.
Patron Highcroft Racing enjoys a 21-point lead in the title chase going into the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca event thanks to three wins by Scott Sharp and David Brabham and exceptional reliability from the team this year.
Patron Bee Laguna Seca Sharp and Brabham need only to finish 70 percent of Saturday's four-hour event to be eligible to score points and claim the 2009 championship.
Brabham began today's testing session which was initially interrupted by a number of red flag stoppages.
The only key issue facing the team was the removal of a stone which had wedged in a brake caliber mid-sesson. This was removed by the crew during the driver-swap stop, Brabham handing over to Sharp.
Although lap times began to rise as the sun set and track temperature fell, Sharp was one of the quickest cars on track towards the end of the session.
The team will be back on track tomorrow at 9:45am and 2:00pm for a pair of one hour practice sessions. Qualifying for the LMP1 and LMP2 prototype classes will be held at 3:35pm.
"It was a good session for us today. Lots of understeer and lots of traffic but it was pretty much the same for everyone out there. "The traffic is what it is going to be like in the race, so that is something we are going to have to deal with. "The understeer was a challenge, but as this was the first session here we didn't want to waste a bunch of track time making adjustments in the pits. "It was a good session for us and we do have quite a comfortable and raceable car - that is what we were striving for. "Through the corkscrew the car was really good and I was able to get back on the throttle really hard and early. "That is one of the better sections of the track for us. We have a couple of more practice sessions before qualifying and a bunch of ideas we want to try, so I am sure we will get the car better and better."
"The car didn't feel too bad at the start of the session. I had a bit of a problem getting the traction control setting right but once we had that sorted, it was good. "We've got a couple of things to change at the front and the same at the rear. Once we get that right we will be able to fine tune the setting and I am pretty confident we will have a strong car in the race. "The track temperature will drop massively from the green flag through to the end and it was really handy to be on track at the same time here today. "That gives us an idea as to what the tire temperatures are doing and what we will need to do in the race "We will work very closely with Michelin and our tire engineer Perry Hyder to make sure we make the right selection of tires, compounds, pressures, etc."