Solid First Acura LMP1 Qualifying For Brabham At Sebring Sports car racing legend David Brabham marked his return to the LMP1 category by qualifying sixth in the new Patron Highcroft Racing Acura on Thursday 19 March, for the opening round of...
Solid First Acura LMP1 Qualifying For Brabham At Sebring
Sports car racing legend David Brabham marked his return to the LMP1 category by qualifying sixth in the new Patron Highcroft Racing Acura on Thursday 19 March, for the opening round of the American Le Mans Series - the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, in Florida.
The Patron Highcroft Acura LMP1 has made great strides of progress throughout the run up to the Sebring event, with constant development work resulting in an encouraging increase in pace around the historic Florida circuit at the hands of Brabham and team mates Scott Sharp and Dario Franchitti.
Tackling his very first qualifying session in the Acura ARX-02a, the 43 year-old British-born Australian gradually built up pace throughout the 20 minute period to post constantly improved lap times throughout. A winner of the prestigious Sebring 12 Hours no fewer than three times in GT, GT1 and GT2, Brabham's fastest time of 1 minute 46.504 seconds places Patron Highcroft Racing sixth on the grid for its first LMP1 battle.
Brabham commented: "We decided to treat our first LMP1 qualifying session like a test, so we tried a lot of things that we haven't tried before; some of them worked and some of them didn't. My particular challenge was trying to put in enough laps to get the optimum grip in the tyres, but every time I put in a flying lap, I was hampered by traffic next time round. We could have played it safe, but we are still developing the car and combining our knowledge to make it the best car possible. We have learnt a lot today and that is what we wanted to do. It's a massive learning curve but we have good reliability so I'm looking forward to starting Saturday's race.
"It's great to see an Acura LMP1 on pole at Sebring. We have all worked hard and contributed towards that and my congratulations go to Acura, Wirth Research, Honda Performance Development and de Ferran Motorsports. It's great for the programme and a taste of things to come."
With qualifying complete, it was hoped that Brabham would officially start the 50th anniversary celebrations of his father's first Formula One World Championship title with the re-enactment of Sir Jack's historic US Grand Prix finish in the actual 1959 Cooper Climax T51. With the onset of rain, however, this special event has been postponed until Saturday morning when David will also conduct a number of parade laps prior to the 12-hour race spectacular, which starts at 10.30am EDT.