WILD ACURA BATTLE SET TO CONTINUE AT MOSPORT WITH DE FERRAN, PATRON HIGHCROFT TEAMS AFTER ALMS OVERALL WIN Coming Off Close Road America Finish, Acura Squads Ready For Another Shootout BOWMANVILLE, Ont., Canada -- Off the ...
WILD ACURA BATTLE SET TO CONTINUE AT MOSPORT WITH DE FERRAN, PATRON HIGHCROFT TEAMS AFTER ALMS OVERALL WIN
Coming Off Close Road America Finish, Acura Squads Ready For Another Shootout
BOWMANVILLE, Ont., Canada -- Off the track, veteran drivers David Brabham and Gil de Ferran are very good friends. Their families even vacation together during the year.
But, on the track, the two sports car stars battle wheel-to-wheel and nose-to-tail in a sensational American Le Mans Series point chase that could come right down to the final race of the 2009 season at Monterey, Calif., in October.
Last week at Road America, Brabham was able to hold off a charging de Ferran by just a mere.461 seconds after the two-hour, 45-minute main event on the famed four-mile road circuit.
The win for Brabham and co-driver Scott Sharp halted the four-race winning streak of de Ferran and partner Simon Pagenaud on the ALMS tour, and the victory extended the Patron Highcroft Acura team's LMP1 class point lead to 13 with three races remaining.
The next Acura shootout will be on Sunday, August 30, on the fast 2.45-mile Mosport International Raceway, one of Canada's most legendary racing facilities.
Brabham, winner of this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans, and Sharp, former pole winner at the Indianapolis 500, used some great pit strategy at Road America to win their second overall race this year against lightening fast pair of de Ferran and Pagenaud, who have five pole positions along with their four overall victories.
A non-finish in the 12 Hours of Sebring has hurt the de Ferran Motorsports team's chances in the quest for the ALMS LMP1 class point title.
Brabham and Sharp won the LMP2 class race last year at Mosport after de Ferran's Acura ran out of fuel on the last lap, just a few turns from the finish line.
Now, at the wheel of the potent No. 66 XM Radio de Ferran Acura ARX-02a prototype, de Ferran and young French star Pagenaud set their sights on returning to victory lane after wins at Long Beach, Utah, Lime Rock and Mid-Ohio. The team has six poles in seven races, and the team's speed has been impressive through the 2009 campaign.
But, de Ferran, who announced he will step away from the cockpit at the end of the 2009 racing season, looks more determined than ever to finish his career with a series championship. And Pagenaud has shown potential to be one of the world's brightest young talents. Veteran Brabham and Sharp will have their hands full when action starts this Friday, Aug. 28, at Mosport.
Acura's most dominant team this year has been the Mexican pair of Luis Diaz and Adrian Fernandez, who have driven their No. 15 Lowe's Fernandez Acura to six LMP2 class wins in seven races.
Diaz and Fernandez finished second last year at Mosport and hope to improve that spot this year against the two Dyson Racing Mazda car and Greg Pickett's Porsche in LMP2.
DAVID BRABHAM (#9 Patron Highcroft Racing Acura ARX-02a): "The Road America race was a big win for our team. We had a good strategy in other races this year, but we had some tough luck. This time, the strategy worked just right. I wasn't about to make a mistake for Gil at the end of the race. He could get close but not get past. We didn't have the pace earlier in the weekend, but the crew made some changes that got the car right for the race. We'll need to be right again at Mosport. That place is fast and this Acura car is very good on circuits like Mosport."
SCOTT SHARP (#9 Patron Highcroft Racing Acura ARX-02a): "After losing four straight to the de Ferran team, the Road America win was huge. The win extended our point lead and helped our team's confidence heading to Mosport. Gil and Simon have been very fast this year and we needed to keep up the pace to win the championship. The Mosport track will be extremely fast with this new Acura LMP1 car. It handles the turns so well and it should be fun to race there."
GIL de FERRAN (#66 XM Radio de Ferran Acura ARX-02a): "Mosport is one of the most daunting tracks we visit. It has several incredibly high speed corners and is bumpy as well. That always presents some pretty tricky technical challenges for our engineers in setting up the car. But I'm confident we can be strong again in Canada. It's also a race that owes us a results after last year when we were leading by 20 seconds only to have the car run out of fuel on the last lap. That was one of the nearest misses of my career."
SIMON PAGENAUD (#66 XM Radio de Ferran Acura ARX-02a): "Sure, another pole would be great at Mosport. But, unfortunately, you don't socre any championship points in qualifying. It's more important that we pushing for a victory at Mosport. It is a circuit that certainly isn't for the feint-hearted. To be honest, I struggle there a bit last year. But engineers have sorted out a really good handling balance for fast road courses."
ADRIAN FERNANDEZ (#15 Lowe's Fernandez Acura ARX-01b): "We had a good race last year at Mosport. It is a very fast track. We'll have a lot of pressure from the Mazda and Porsche cars with the high speed turns. We have enjoyed a great year so far and we would like to continue the success at Mosport. That is our goal."
LUIS DIAZ (#15 Lowe's Fernandez Acura ARX-01b): "The last two victories are been a total team effort with our crew making some great calls on our pit stops. Adrian has driven tremendously this year, and winning the races have given our team a lot of confidence. The Mosport track is extremely fast and we will have plenty of competition from the Dyson Mazda cars and the Porsche too."
-credit: acura motorsports