HONDA PERFORMANCE DEVELOPMENT, HIGHCROFT CHOOSE MICHELIN Patron Highcroft Racing Seeks ALMS and Le Mans Honors GREENVILLE, S.C. (March 11, 2010) - Acura's past success in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) leads to a new challenge...
HONDA PERFORMANCE DEVELOPMENT, HIGHCROFT CHOOSE MICHELIN
Patron Highcroft Racing Seeks ALMS and Le Mans Honors
GREENVILLE, S.C. (March 11, 2010) - Acura's past success in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) leads to a new challenge in 2010. As the first manufacturer to win two ALMS class championships in a single season, (Patron Highcroft Racing in LMP1 and Lowe's Fernandez Racing in LMP2), Honda Performance Development (HPD) will set-out to defend its title in the combined LMP1 and LMP2 classes. And, as they have done since 2007, HPD has chosen MICHELIN® tires for all of its teams.
Honda Performance Development will enter the season with a new HPD ARX-01c prototype for Patron Highcroft Racing, the exclusively designated test team for Honda Performance Development. In addition, Patron Highcroft Racing will enter the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2010 for the first time.
Led by Duncan Dayton, Connecticut-based Patron Highcroft Racing has established a number of milestones for Acura/HPD in ALMS including the manufacturer's first overall ALMS win, first LMP1 victory, first LMP1 Championship and a total of four overall race wins, seven class wins and six class pole positions, all with Michelin.
David Brabham, one of the most successful sports car drivers in the world, returns for his fourth season with Patron Highcroft Racing. Brabham, who has 19 ALMS victories, is the only driver to secure a pole and a race win in every ALMS class. The defending champion will share driving duties this year with young French star, Simon Pagenaud. Pagenaud comes over from de Ferran Motorsports Acura after a very successful season where he secured three poles, five race wins, five fastest laps and finished second in the championship.
The new talented duo acclimated to each other last spring when they co- drove a Peugeot at Spa-Francorchamps in the Le Mans Series to the pole position, fastest lap and subsequent race victory.
Patron Highcroft Racing has signed Marino Franchitti, formerly of Andretti Green and Dyson Racing as a third driver for the longer races.
Acura/HPD has made an impressive foray into sports car racing, beginning with Andretti Green Racing's LMP2 class victory at the 2007 Twelve Hours of Sebring in the manufacturers first ALMS race. In 2008, Acura/HPD secured six LMP2 class wins including overall wins at Lime Rock Park and Detroit, while Patron Highcroft Racing finished second in the team and driver's championship with Acura/HPD finishing second in the manufacturer championship. The 2009 ALMS season was a banner year for Acura/HPD and their teams with 16 class wins and the LMP1 and LMP2 championships.
"Michelin's success in international motorsport is second-to-none and the company's record at the 24 Hours of Le Mans over the past decade is incredible," said Duncan Dayton, Highcroft Racing President. "Winning the American Le Mans Series championship last year was the first step of a significant dream - now we want to win the biggest endurance race in the world at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. To achieve this, there really is no other choice of tire company to consider - it has to be Michelin. When our relationship with Honda Performance Development program began, we were delighted to align ourselves with Michelin and now we really couldn't imagine racing without them."
"We have enjoyed a magnificent working relationship with Michelin and their performance and durability has opened up a wide range of strategy options for us during the American Le Mans Series," continued Dayton. "When most teams are forced to make tire changes at every stop, we are usually presented with the option to save time in the pits and by doing multiple stints. This provides our strategy guys with a few cards up their sleeve and having our Michelin engineer Perry Hyder as part of our team on race and test weekends is an incredible asset."
"Our driver David Brabham played a role in getting the series to start thinking about the importance of green issues and how motorsport can actually play a positive role," said Dayton. "We are working very hard on some future initiatives which will minimize our environmental impact and commend Michelin on their efforts to work with the series on programs like this."
"The HPD, Highcroft combination with Michelin has been very successful because we are all on the same page," said Karl Koenigstein, Michelin ALMS technical team leader. "The rate of development is very high and we rely on our respective technical backgrounds, experience and commitment to achieve success."