ROAD AMERICA STRAIGHTS PUSH PATRÃ“N HIGHCROFT BACK TO FIFTH IN QUALIFYING DANBURY, CT, Saturday, August 21, 2010: Patron Highcroft Racing's challenge with overall straight-line speed was highlighted in qualifying at Road America today with David...
ROAD AMERICA STRAIGHTS PUSH PATRÓN HIGHCROFT BACK TO FIFTH IN QUALIFYING
DANBURY, CT, Saturday, August 21, 2010: Patron Highcroft Racing's challenge with overall straight-line speed was highlighted in qualifying at Road America today with David Brabham only managing to put the #1 HPD ARX-01c in fifth place on the grid for tomorrow's race.
While the Highcroft team moved to its low downforce Le Mans bodywork to improve its straight-line speed, the wide expanses of Road America provided the faster LMP1 cars with a massive advantage.
The LMP1 and LMP2 classes have been combined for 2010 under a plan to provide performance balancing between the more powerful LMP1 cars and the lighter LMP2 entries.
However, after six races Patron Highcroft Racing has not been afforded any performance gains, nor the LMP1 cars slowed down in any way.
In fact, the team's chief championship rival - the Porsche RS Spyder - has been given a 25 kg weight break despite having a similar engine and performance package to the HPD.
In qualifying, Brabham strung together a series of quick laps - eventually stopping the clocks at 1:52.148 seconds.
Road America However, this time was a massive 2.5 seconds off the pole time set by Drayson Racing's Johnny Cocker.
While the team currently holds a 23 point gap at the head of the championship, Brabham and Simon Pagenaud will have to dig deep tomorrow to continue the outstanding Road America record.
Highcroft has finished 4th, 3rd, 1st and 1st in class over the past four years - including an overall win last year - at the picturesque Wisconsin circuit.
Following tomorrow's seventh round of the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patron, Brabham and Pagenaud will then head across the border into Canada for the eighth round at Mosport International Raceway the following weekend.
"Yesterday the car wasn't very strong and we had some concerns going into today. The Patron Highcroft Racing guys gave me a fantastic car today and we have got it as good as we would like around here.
"It is a little bit frustrating with our competitors having an advantage from the rules. It does get under your skin a little and this is a track that really highlights the issues.
"Tomorrow we'll probably have to execute the perfect strategy and the perfect race to even get on the podium.
"I have a lot of confidence in this team and with the changes that we made leading up to qualifying we certainly made a lot of progress on from what we learned with Simon in the morning.
"We got some great pointers from the first session and from a race set-up perspective I am a lot happier than earlier.
"For us it will all be about the championship so we have to concentrate on collecting as many points as we possibly can in the race tomorrow."
"It is a bit of a challenge for us trying do to as well as we can but the regulations are not in our favor at the moment.
"Here at Road America it is such a long circuit with very high speeds and the differences between the cars is far more apparent.
"We had to take off some downforce to be competitive in a straight line but in our current configuration we just can't squeeze any speed out of it.
"We will have to concentrate on keeping it on the island tomorrow and trying to get as many points as we can.
"We'll be working hard on keeping pace with the Porsche RS Spyder because they are our rivals in the championship, but the LMP1 cars are really in their own separate class.
"For the race tomorrow the car is really good in traffic and we now have better straight line speed. We have to remain positive and we know we can rely on the guys in the pits doing a great job.
"In the race it should be a different story but it will be a big challenge."
-source: highcroft racing