PATRON HIGHCROFT RACING KICK OFF TWELVE HOUR PREPARATIONS AT SEBRING SEBRING, FL, Monday, March 16, 2009: Patron Highcroft Racing kicked off its assault on the 2009 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring at the historic Florida venue today with all ...
PATRON HIGHCROFT RACING KICK OFF TWELVE HOUR PREPARATIONS AT SEBRING
SEBRING, FL, Monday, March 16, 2009: Patron Highcroft Racing kicked off its assault on the 2009 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring at the historic Florida venue today with all three drivers getting the chance to sample the new Acura ARX-02a LMP1 car.
Scott Sharp began the day in the #9 Acura in the morning session. His efforts however, were curtailed by a gearbox issue which sent the car back to the paddock earlier than anticipated.
The afternoon session ran without problems with David Brabham undertaking a number of tire evaluation runs before handing over to Dario Franchitti.
The Patron machine finished the day as sixth fastest - stopping the clocks at 1 minute 45.871 seconds. The new LMP1 car is already nearly two seconds a lap faster than the team's LMP2 qualifying time at Sebring in 2008.
The team will be back on track for a single 90-minute session tomorrow from 1.30pm - the first hour with GT cars joining the prototypes on track and the final 30 minutes as an LMP1 and LMP2 session only.
"I had a good practice session this morning and worked through quite a few items on our checklist. I had a bit of a gearbox issue which ended our session a little early but it was fine for the afternoon.
"These first couple of days are all about giving each driver some seat time and getting as much running done as we can before the weekend.
"We all realize this is a young program. We've covered a lot of ground already but we have a long way to go and it is a challenge to tackle the first race of the year against the two toughest competitors in the sports car world in Audi and Peugeot.
"Everyone has been working non-stop and provided we can stay out of trouble and stay in contention all day we can end up with a good result."
"After all the testing we have done it is great to get to Sebring and kick off race week - this is where it all counts.
"We have been making some pretty good progress today with some changes and tire evaluation with Michelin today. We still have quite a few changes to make overnight and we will see what tomorrow brings.
"We have a steep mountain to climb against Audi and Peugeot here this weekend but we are up for the challenge.
"It is a step by step process for us. The car is getting more and more reliable and we only had one small issue this morning. Having a trouble free run is the key thing we need to focus on."
"I was able to get a couple of laps in at the end of the day. We tried a few things on the car - some of which is working, some of which didn't.
"The overall balance was off quite a bit this afternoon. We had a reasonable car at the endurance test but we are now trying to improve on that and trying different things.
"The track will start to grip up quite a bit as the week goes on but it is almost a trade off because it can get slower as it gets hotter.
"Sebring is well known for that and it is almost like an oval in some ways - the grip level can just die off when it gets hot.
"It certainly makes it challenging in a 12 hour race because you experience so many different temperature conditions."