Detroit: Highcroft Racing race report

Patron Highcroft Racing on the Podium at Detroit Patron Highcroft Racing continued its run of podium finishes to secure second overall and in the LMP2 class at round nine, the Detroit Sportscar Challenge presented by Bosch at Belle Isle, on...

Patron Highcroft Racing on the Podium at Detroit

Patron Highcroft Racing continued its run of podium finishes to secure second overall and in the LMP2 class at round nine, the Detroit Sportscar Challenge presented by Bosch at Belle Isle, on Saturday, August 30. The latest stellar performance from the Patron Highcroft crew helped drivers Scott Sharp and David Brabham to slash the LMP2 championship gap from 10 points to four heading in to the last two rounds of the season.

The team's relentless efforts, in conjunction with the development programs of Honda Performance Development and Wirth Engineering, ensured that the Patron Highcroft Acura was quick virtually out of the box. The team's immaculate preparation undoubtedly played a major part in delivering the second overall pole position of the season, from which followed a second place finish in the race. Patron Highcroft's high point-scoring finish follows Acura's announcement on Friday that they will move to LMP1 with the team for 2009.

Duncan Dayton, Patron Highcroft's team principal, said, "We just keep closing in on that LMP2 championship lead and it's very cool. The Patron Highcroft crew did a fantastic job. We didn't quite have the car at the end but we got solid points here today. We were quick all weekend and now the championship gap is down to just four points. It's great for Acura to get a one, two, three, and leave Detroit leading the Manufacturer's championship on such a significant weekend. My congratulations go to Andretti Green Racing on taking their first victory of the season.

"Scott drove an unbelievable first stint, he literally drove the wheels off the car and was setting fastest lap after fastest lap. He got blocked by traffic and Simon [Pagenaud] got by, but it was an impressive drive. We have the best driver pairing in the series and I'm thrilled with Scott and David. Now it's on to Petit Le Mans and with a lot of points still in play, we're taking the championship race down to the wire."

A blistering start from Sharp ensured that the Patron Highcroft Acura led the field around the twisty 2.07-mile street circuit unchallenged through two yellow flag periods within the first hour. Sharp delivered an impressive stint, only relinquishing the lead after he was blocked in heavy traffic.

"Today's result finishes off an unbelievable weekend," said Sharp. "The team did a great job and the car performed brilliantly. We made some changes just before the race that proved worthwhile. The car felt strong and I had a really good race. I was conserving fuel and careful through the traffic. I was picking up a lot of rubber on my tires, due to the nature of the track, and the car began sliding around a bit. I got blocked on the back straight and Simon got by, but we've scored great points here today. We've been chipping away at the championship gap especially over the last few rounds and now everyone knows we are here and ready for the fight."

Joining the field fifth overall and fourth in class, Brabham passed Gil de Ferran following the restart from the third full course yellow. With just 45 minutes of the race remaining, Brabham passed the LMP1 Audi of Marcel Fassler to bring the Patron Highcroft Acura home in second.

Brabham commented, "I'm really pleased with this result. We've scored two wins and a second place in the last three races, so nearly maximum points. It all comes down to fantastic work from the Patron Highcroft team. The car was flying and I was really hustling before we hit the last yellows. I had great grip on the Michelin tires but that naturally went away during the yellow. So, I didn't quite have enough to tackle Franck [Montagny] at the end. We needed to score as many points as possible and we did that today. Scott drove beautifully to set us up for a great result and overall we are feeling and looking really strong."

-credit: hr

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Duncan Dayton , David Brabham , Scott Sharp , Marcel Fassler