PATRON HIGHCROFT TO CONTINUE ACURA AMERICAN LE MANS SERIES ASSAULT IN 2010 Duncan Dayton DANBURY, CT, Monday, November 23, 2009: After becoming the top point-scoring Acura team for each of the past three seasons and earning the brand's first...
PATRON HIGHCROFT TO CONTINUE ACURA AMERICAN LE MANS SERIES ASSAULT IN 2010
Duncan Dayton DANBURY, CT, Monday, November 23, 2009: After becoming the top point-scoring Acura team for each of the past three seasons and earning the brand's first LMP1 championship in 2009, Patron Highcroft Racing will continue its relationship with Honda Performance Development (HPD), the racing arm of American Honda Motor Company, in the 2010 American Le Mans Series.
The Danbury, CT-based Patron Highcroft squad will contest next year's combined ALMS prototype class armed with an HPD-backed ARX-01c - an iteration of the original Acura ALMS entry.
Patron Highcroft Racing will be the exclusively designated test team for HPD. The 2009 ALMS LMP1 championship winning squad will be charged with evaluation of the new ARX-01c platform and the testing of a new HPD engine under consideration for the 2011 season.
After making its debut in the championship in 2006, the Duncan Dayton-owned Patron Highcroft team has recorded key milestones on its way to championship success. The team scored factory Acura backing in 2007, secured the Patron Spirits Company as a naming rights sponsor in 2008 and then collected the American Le Mans Series LMP1 championship this year.
Along the way the team also scored key milestones for Acura and HPD - recording the first overall ALMS win, the first LMP1 victory and now, the first LMP1 championship in the American Le Mans Series for the marque.
In fact, in 2009 Acura became the first manufacturer to win two class championships in a single season, with Fernandez Racing's LMP2 entry joining Patron Highcroft's LMP1 assault as class title winners. During the past three seasons, Patron Highcroft Racing has also grabbed seven class victories, four overall wins and six class pole positions.
For 2010, the LMP1 and LMP2 classes will be combined for the majority of the American Le Mans Series - only the season opener and closer, at Sebring and Petit Le Mans, respectively, will revert to full-ACO spec, Le Mans 24 Hour rules.
"We are delighted to continue our relationship with Honda Performance Development," team owner Duncan Dayton said.
"We will have the #1 on our car for 2010 and firmly believe the ARX-01c will give us the best opportunity to defend that championship. We are very much looking forward to continuing our working relationship with the team at HPD - they have played an integral role in our championship success.
"We are awaiting full details from the ALMS, but we expect the LMP1 cars to be slowed and the LMP2 machines to be offered more performance freedoms.
"Everyone saw the performance of the ARX-01b at this year's ALMS race at Laguna Seca, and we think this car will be a very wise weapon of choice for 2010.
"The combined prototype class is going to provide some extremely fierce competition and our team is very much looking forward to the fight.
"In fact, we are extremely keen to investigate expanding our operation to put the budget in place to run a second car. We're talking to a number of potential new marketing partners to add to our sponsorship portfolio - partners the team has been negotiating with and others who might be supporting a specific driver.
"The fact we were the top performing Acura squad in each of the past three seasons is a great achievement and a source of pride at Patron Highcroft Racing and we are looking forward to working with HPD again next season."
Patron Highcroft Racing veteran David Brabham will return for his fourth consecutive season with the team. Brabham's teammates are expected to be announced in the near future.
The 2010 American Le Mans Series will conduct its annual "Wheels Down" Winter test at Sebring International Raceway on February 22-23. The opening round of the championship will also be at Sebring - the annual 12-hour endurance classic on Saturday, March 20.