Sebring 12 Hours
HIGHCROFT GRAB SEBRING LEAD BEFORE HALF WAY
SEBRING, FL, Saturday, March 19, 2011: Highcroft Racing took the lead at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in an incredible debut for the new Honda Performance Development ARX-01e today.
David Brabham started the race from seventh on the grid and immediately leapt to sixth on the opening lap.
He completed a 56-lap stint with two pit stops, one for fuel and tires and a second for fuel only. He handed the car over in fourth place
Simon Pagenaud climbed aboard and immediately began to charge after rejoining the race in sixth.
The Frenchman moved to fourth two laps later and on lap 115 moved up to second after the #2 Audi and the #7 Peugeot clashed while contesting second place in turn 17.
Both cars went behind the wall for repairs and Pagenaud set sail after Pedro Lamy’s leading Peugeot.
He snatched the lead on lap 123 while running his third stint on the same set of Michelin tires and held it for seven laps before the next round of pit stops.
Earlier, he had held off the same car while trying to stay on the lead lap – holding Stephane Sarrzin at bay before the Peugeot had to pit.
Last year's Sebring LMP2 pole sitter Marino Franchitti was scheduled to take over from Pagenaud. At the half-way point, the Highcroft machine was second overall.
“The car is handling really well and giving confidence to the driver which is what we have been looking for this week.
“It is only the first week of the car’s life, but it is behaving really well in the race. The Michelin tires are really starting to work well with more rubber going down on the track and the longer the race goes, the better it will be.
“It is very exciting. Some of competition is struggling a little with their handling while we aren’t.
“The car feels very solid – no degradation of anything – tires, brakes, gearbox, anything – that is very encouraging.
“I was on my third stint on the same Michelin tires when I grabbed the lead so that is a big advantage for us in the pit stops.
“We’ll see. It is still a long way to go but it certainly shows the potential of this car.”
“We had a pretty good game plan and we are sticking to that. The first stint was to run the soft tires that Simon had run in qualifying. We knew we were going to have some issues once it got hot so we changed them straight away at the first stop.
“We tried a different combination in my second stint to see what the car likes and that experiment definitely worked.
“The more laps we do the car seems to settle in nicer and the car’s grip on the Michelin tires seems to improve.
“The track is coming towards us. Some of the others are having a few issues out there but our goal is just to keep things straight because there is still along way to go.
“We’re certainly pleased to be in the position we are in so far.”
-source: highcroft racing