Lime Rock: Acura Motorsports preview

LE MANS WINNER BRABHAM RETURNS TO LIME ROCK SEEKING ANOTHER SPECTACULAR ALMS VICTORY Strong Acura Contingent Set For Battle In Northeast Grand Prix on July 18 LAKEVILLE, Conn. -- David Brabham has had the difficult task of living...

Strong Acura Contingent Set For Battle In Northeast Grand Prix on July 18

LAKEVILLE, Conn. -- David Brabham has had the difficult task of living up to his famous last name throughout his racing career.

Following his Formula One champion father, Jack, and his Hall of Fame brother, Geoff, Brabham, the youngest of three racing brothers, has been chasing the fame and legacy that preceded the personable Australian racer. But Brabham's latest runs have now vaulted the Brabham name further.

The popular 43-year-old driver, who lives in England, achieved a long-sought personal goal by winning the overall title at the famed 24 Hours of Le Mans last month. He had captured the GT1 class title at Le Mans before but never the top position in the world's most famous sports car race.

Brabham is a legend in the American Le Mans Series too. He is the only driver to win races and pole positions in all four ALMS divisions during the series' 11-year history.

Now, he returns to the site of one of his greatest triumphs, the tight, picturesque road circuit of Lime Rock Park in northwest Connecticut on Saturday, July 18. Last year, Brabham made a sensational last lap pass in the No. 9 Patron Highcroft Acura ARX-01b to score Acura's first overall ALMS win.

Brabham, teaming with veteran Scott Sharp, a Conn. native, seeks another victory at Lime Rock in the all-new Acura ARX-02a prototype sports car, one of the world's most advanced racing machines.

The revolutionary Acura ARX-02a prototype sports car, campaigned by Patron Highcroft Racing and de Ferran Motorsports, have received huge attention for racing enthusiasts and media members. Featuring one of the most unique designs ever in sports-car racing, the new LMP1 Acura cars are the favorites to win the overall title in Lime Rock's ALMS race when the green flag drops at 2 p.m. [EDT].

Brabham and Sharp scored four LMP2 class wins in 2008 and have an overall title this year at St. Petersburg. Their main competition will be another Acura driven by former Indy 500 winner Gil de Ferran and young French star Simon Pagenaud, winners of the last two ALMS races at Long Beach, Calif., and Tooele, Utah.

De Ferran and Pagenaud are chasing Brabham and Sharp in the current ALMS LMP1 point standings entering the Lime Rock race.

If the two LMP1 Acura cars have trouble at Lime Rock, a third Acura could be right in the mix for the overall win.

The Lowe's Fernandez Acura pair of Adrian Fernandez and Luis Diaz are undefeated in the LMP2 division so far in 2009 with their potent No. 15 Lowe's Acura ARX-01b sports car. Fernandez and Diaz, two of Mexico's most heralded racers, have taken LMP2 wins at Sebring, St. Petersburg, Long Beach, and Utah.


DAVID BRABHAM (#9 Patron Highcroft Racing Acura ARX-02a): "Last year's Lime Rock race was one of my greatest wins. Just the comeback to win and the race being in the team's backyard made it so gratifying. Now, after the Le Mans win, we are anxious to get back to Lime Rock and battle for another victory. The Le Mans experience was amazing. You work your whole life to win one of the biggest races and to finally stand on the top step of the podium as the overall winner was an incredible feeling. I'm still finding it hard to believe that it actually happened."

SCOTT SHARP (#9 Patron Highcroft Racing Acura ARX-02a): "It was a tremendous thrill to win the Lime Rock race last year. It was Acura's first overall win as well as Patron's. David drove a great race and it was in Highcroft's home state. Of course, this is my home state too. Now, with the new Acura, Brabs and I are ready for the battle. The Lime Rock track is tight for our LMP1 cars. We lead the LMP1 points right now but we want the win this weekend."

GIL de FERRAN (#66 XM Radio de Ferran Acura ARX-02a): "It has been nearly two months since our last ALMS race and our team has done a lot of preparation for the rest of the season. Coming off wins at Long Beach and Utah has been a great boost for the XM Radio de Ferran team. We want to keep the momentum going at Lime Rock. But we also know the challenge of that tight, light track. Traffic creates a lot of problems for a driver. So have studied the variety of things that can pop up at Lime Rock track. I think we are ready for the challenge."

SIMON PAGENAUD (#66 XM Radio de Ferran Acura ARX-02a): "It has been a right run for our team with wins at Long Beach and Utah. I have been racing in Europe too on the Le Mans Series, so I am excited to get back to North America and hit the track at Lime Rock. It is a very tight and quick circuit. You can't lose your concentration for a second or it will bite you. The Lime Rock race will be tough due to the tight quarters with the other cars. Contact can happen very easily."

ADRIAN FERNANDEZ (#15 Lowe's Fernandez Acura ARX-01b): "It has be thrilling to win four consecutive races so far. We came so close winning races the past two years that it feels good to put everything into place. Winning is our goal for every race, and achieved gives the team a lot of confidence going to the Lime Rock race. But we also know we can't take things for granted. The Dyson Racing Mazda cars are new and fast. We have to stay focused if we want to continue this run."

LUIS DIAZ (#15 Lowe's Fernandez Acura ARX-01b): "Our strategy has been excellent and our Lowe's Acura car is very fast. For a driver, you always want to have a strong car. And, this year, the Lowe's Acura has been the best. But the Lime Rock circuit poses many problems for a prototype driver. It is tight, but fast. The traffic from the sedans and slower cars make it very difficult. I'm sure we'll have some bumping throughout the race. That makes it exciting for the fans."

-credit: acura motorsports

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers David Brabham , Scott Sharp , Gil de Ferran , Adrian Fernandez , Luis Diaz , Simon Pagenaud
Teams Dyson Racing