ACURA TEAMS TEST NEW ROAD ATLANTA SURFACE IN PETIT PRACTICE
Acura-powered Prototypes Prepare For Saturday's 10-Hour Petit Le Mans Classic
BRASELTON, Ga. -- The new racing surface at Road Atlanta has been the talk of the paddock area thus far in preparations for Saturday's 10th anniversary of 10-hour Petit Le Mans sports car classic, one of the most prestigious road racing events annually in the U.S. The 10th Petit Le Mans gets underway at 11:15 a,m.
An ambitious paving project in the winter saw the 2.54-mile, 12-turn road circuit northeast of Atlanta turn into a lightning-fast course for potent prototype and GT sedan sports cars of the American Le Mans Series.
On Thursday, three separate practices were conducted with over 30 machines dicing through the north Georgia hills through which the Road Atlanta facility is woven. Morning, afternoon and evening practice sessions kept the drivers and crews busy attempting to find the fast line on the new racing pavement.
Three Acura prototype teams, Andretti Green Racing, Lowe's Fernandez Racing and Highcroft Racing, comprise the lineup for the automaker's debut at the Petit Le Mans.
Drivers Adrian Fernandez and Luis Diaz paced the three-car Acura contingent in the LMP2 category with their No. 15 Lowe's Fernandez Acura Lola Thursday, with a speed of 129.517 miles per hour [1 minute, 10.601 seconds]. The Lowe's squad is seeking its first 2007 victory after two podium finishes this year.
The veteran team of Bryan Herta, Tony Kanaan and Vitor Meira posted a speed of 129.1 miles per hour Thursday in the No. 26 XM Satellite Radio Acura ARX-01a, the same machine that won the 12 Hours of Sebring in the LMP2 class. The No. 9 Highcroft Acura ARX-01a, driven by David Brabham, Stefan Johansson and Robbie Kerr, clocked a best speed of 129.1 miles per hour.
The eleventh race of the 2007 ALMS campaign will be seen live on SPEED-TV at 11 a.m. (EDT) Saturday.
TONY KANAAN (#26 XM Satellite Radio AGR Acura ARX-01a): "I was driving an Indy Car Wednesday in Iowa and it is completely different than driving the XM Acura today. Every time I jump into the Acura I have a blast. This is a big reality check for me with this car. It is so much bigger than an Indy Car. The downforce is much greater also. It is much more physical driving the Acura than my Indy Car. It really wakes you up the first couple of laps with the Acura car. It was great winning at Sebring and racing with my friends. I really have a lot of fun driving this car. I hope we can repeat our Sebring performance this weekend with another win."
BRYAN HERTA (#26 XM Satellite AGR Acura ARX-01a): "The Acura has been very reliable all season. We have a good driver lineup and a very good crew. We have had our ups and downs this year as it has been a learning year for the Acura and AGR in sports car racing. Porsche has been racing in this form for decades. This is the debut year for Acura, HPD and AGR. We think we have a good car for Road Atlanta."
DAVID BRABHAM (#9 Highcroft Racing Acura ARX-01a): "After yesterday when we were struggling a bit for grip, we found a bit more but we have more work to do. It's very difficult to get a clear lap around here because there are a lot of cars, it's a big race and it can prove a little frustrating. At the moment, we're trying to get the best possible speed for the race -- consistency, efficiency, so step by step, we'll work on every little aspect we have to."
ADRIAN FERNANDEZ (#15 Lowe's Fernandez Acura Lola 06/40) "The track is much different than when we tested here two weeks ago. We had some problems on Wednesday. But today [Thursday], the car feels much better. With a long race, you have to be patient and set a consistent pace. We learned that at Sebring with a third overall."
LUIS DIAZ (#15 Lowe's Fernandez Acura Lola 06/40): "We made a lot of good changes with our car today. The track surface is new and it is hotter today. So that means the track is a little slippery from the testing we did two weeks ago. The competition level seems much higher this week than during the summer. I think everyone wants to win the Petit Le Mans."
-credit: acura motorsports