ACURA TEAMS WITH MICHELIN FOR FIRST WIN Michelin Stretches Streak to 40 Consecutive ALMS Wins LAKEVILLE, Conn. (July 12, 2008) - Pole sitter David Brabham and Patron Highcroft Acura ARX-01b teammate Scott Sharp did not lead many laps, just the...
ACURA TEAMS WITH MICHELIN FOR FIRST WIN Michelin
Stretches Streak to 40 Consecutive ALMS Wins
LAKEVILLE, Conn. (July 12, 2008) - Pole sitter David Brabham and Patron Highcroft Acura ARX-01b teammate Scott Sharp did not lead many laps, just the ones that counted to capture the first ever American Le Mans Series overall race victory for Acura and their Connecticut based team here at the Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park.
The victory was the 40th consecutive ALMS win for Michelin and the first overall win for Acura in just 17 ALMS starts. Acura had previously claimed LMP2 class wins at the 2007 Sebring and 2008 Long Beach events.
Despite starting on the pole, the winning Acura took the lead for the first time with less than three minutes remaining in the two hour 45 minute race, the fifth stop on the 2008 ALMS season. Sharp, who was spun, and incurred damage to the rear bodywork of the car on lap six, battled gamely to stay in contention before handing off to Brabham after the first hour.
Brabham's relentless pace, a pair of timely yellow caution flags, and creative pit strategy by team owner Duncan Dayton and team leader Rob Hill combined to set the stage for Brabham's winning pass of the Penske Porsche RS Spyder of Timo Bernhard entering turn one. Finishing third was the Penske Porsche of Sascha Maassen and early race leader Patrick Long.
Michelin teams swept the first nine positions overall and 13 of the top 14 spots, including victories in all four classes. Audi's Lucas Luhr and Marco Werner finished fourth overall and first place in LMP1 while Corvette's Johnny O'Connell and Jan Magnussen scored their fourth GT1 win in five races. Flying Lizard Porsche's Wolf Henzler and Jorg Bergmeister completed the Michelin sweep taking the victory in the GT2 class.
Sharp's victory was the first ALMS overall win for an American co-driver since Butch Leitzinger's win at Mosport in 2005, some 27 races ago.
Despite prediction of mass caution periods, the ALMS competitors ran the entire first hour before the first caution period on lap 72. The winners completed 168 laps on the newly configured and repaved 1.5-miles, ten turn circuit, which saw track temperatures soar to 143 degrees on a hot, humid July afternoon.
Confirming just how aggressively the teams had competed, Brabham ran out of fuel on the cool down lap just seconds after taking the checkered flag.
VALIENT DYSON A valiant effort by the Dyson Racing team, seeking to celebrate team owner Rob Dyson's 25th anniversary in professional sports car racing with a crowning victory came to naught when both cars, including the specially "retro" wrapped #16 Dyson Porsche RS Spyder, had promising top-three runs ended by contact or debris.
MICHELIN COMMENTS "We would like to offer congratulations from Michelin to our friends at Acura and to the Patron Highcroft team on their first overall ALMS victories," said Silvia Mammone, motorsports manager for Michelin North America. "We are truly enjoying our relationship with Acura, their pace of development, and their deep passion to succeed in competition."
"From a technical view, coming to a newly configured race track, resurfaced just days before the start of practice presented a number of challenges for Michelin and our technical partners," said Mammone. "We especially want to thank all of our Michelin technical partner teams and our own engineers, tire fitters, and support staff for meeting every challenge."