PATRON HIGHCROFT TOPS THE TIMES IN LONG BEACH TESTING David Brabham & Long Beach LONG BEACH, CA, Thursday, April 16, 2009: Patron HIghcroft Racing topped the timesheets in pre-event testing on the streets of Long Beach this afternoon...
PATRON HIGHCROFT TOPS THE TIMES IN LONG BEACH TESTING
David Brabham & Long Beach LONG BEACH, CA, Thursday, April 16, 2009: Patron HIghcroft Racing topped the timesheets in pre-event testing on the streets of Long Beach this afternoon in preparation for this weekend's Tequila Patron American Le Mans Series event at the famous Californian street circuit.
Scott Sharp was first on track in this afternoon's first session in the team's Acura ARX-02a and set the second fastest time of the session as the Patron Highcroft squad fine-tuned the set-up. David Brabham also drove at the end of the session but could not improve on Sharp's best time of 1:16.156.
WIth rubber being laid down on the street circuit, times started to tumble in the final session. After making a number of adjustments betweeen the sessions, David Brabham climbed back aboard the car for the final 45 minute assault and lowered the time to 1:14.226 - the fastest overall time of the day.
The Patron HIghcroft squad enter the Long Beach weekend on a high after winning the previous round of the championship at St Petersburg. Long Beach has also been a happy hunting ground for the Danbury, CT squad - the team claiming its first class victory last year in dramatic fashion with a next to last lap pass for the lead to win the P2 crown last year.
Official practice kicks off tomorrow at 9:00am with qualifying scheduled for 4:30pm.
The 100-minute Tequila Patron American Le Mans Series race starts at 4:15pm on Saturday.
"We had a very strong day today. The track was very dirty when I first went out this morning. It really was incredibly slippery but our car got better as more rubber went down.
"We made a few small changes between the two sessions and moved in the right direction so I think we are in pretty good shape at the moment.
"As the weekend progresses the track will get better and better - particularly once the IndyCars lay down more rubber tomorrow.
"By the time our race kicks off on Saturday, the track will be in the best shape of the weekend.
"The challenge for us this weekend is fact we are on track quite early in the morning, then back on track late in the afternoon. The track will be constantly evolving so you have to try to predict how that is going to affect the car."
"We made some pretty good improvements during the final session. We don't have a lot of time here so you have to sure you get it right.
"We have some direction for tomorrow so that is the main thing that we really needed to achieve today.
"Last year was a huge race for us here, it really got our season going. There is a real difference between thinking you can win, and knowing you can. That was case at Long Beach last year and we now enter this weekend with a win already under our belt at St Pete.
"It has given everyone that lift in belief and confidence. This is a challenging race track and we are all looking forward to the race.
"Traffic will be important here because there are places where you simply can't pass and you are just dependent on the speed of the GT car in front of you. That is the same for all the prototypes in the field and last year we were able to use that to our advantage to make up some ground."