Mid-Ohio: Highcroft Racing preview

PATRÓN HIGHCROFT AIMS T BOUNCE BACK AT MID-OHI O DANBURY, CT, Monday, August 2, 2010: Patrón Highcroft Racing will be looking to bounce back to its winning ways at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course this weekend as the ...


DANBURY, CT, Monday, August 2, 2010: Patrón Highcroft Racing will be looking to bounce back to its winning ways at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course this weekend as the American Le Mans Series kicks off a vital stretch of three races in four weekends.

The Honda Performance Development factory-backed ARX-01c team scored three ALMS wins in a row prior to the last round at Lime Rock Park.

A late race slow puncture was cause for concern for the team as David Brabham chased down race leader Klaus Graf, but contact between the former Panoz teammates took Highcroft out of contention for the win.

Brabham and Simon Pagenaud now hold a seven-point lead over Graf with four races remaining. Both Highcroft stars have tasted success in the past around the 2.26 mile Mid-Ohio circuit.

Brabham won with Jan Magnussen for Panoz in 2001, while Pagenaud is the defending champion - having won at Mid-Ohio last year.

Patrón Highcroft Racing will be looking for its first Mid-Ohio victory. The team qualified second in the past two years and finished on the podium in second place last season - the team's chance at victory hindered after contact with a GT car damaged the car's undertray.

Mid-Ohio The Mid-Ohio event will be the second double-header event of the season with the American Le Mans Series sharing the famous road course with the IndyCar Series.

At the previous double-header on the streets of Long Beach, Simon Pagenaud sealed Highcroft's first race win of the season with a final lap pass on the Aston Martin of Adrian Fernandez.

On-track action for the Patrón Highcroft squad at round six of the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón kicks off on Thursday, August 5 at 4:30pm with a 90-minute test session.

Two one-hour practice sessions are scheduled for Friday with qualifying taking place at 2:25pm.

The two hour, 45 minute Mid-0hio Sports Car Challenge goes green at 3:00pm on Saturday (August 7).

"The team put in a very good performance at Lime Rock and we came very close to winning.

"We were fast and I think Mid Ohio will be another track which should suit the car.

"We know the Porsche and the Mazda will be very quick there as well so we know we will not have it easy.

"As you can see from the last race, the Porsche in particular is very strong and will be pushing us hard for the remainder of the championship.

"I know the team is very pumped up to get back to our winning ways at Mid-Ohio.

"We have always been very strong on strategy but at the last race things just didn't work out. Full credit to the CytoSport guys - the race fell their way and when I came back out I had to chase hard.

"The Dyson and Drayson cars will be fast at Mid-Ohio and the Fields are always quick - we will have to work very hard to win these remaining races.

"With three races in four weeks, we are entering a very important part of the championship. We'd love to go to Petit Le Mans with a very handy points lead but we know our competitors are doing a great job and not making it easy for us."

"These weekends with IndyCar are always a great show for the fans and it makes it very special for us in the ALMS.

"It's great to have such a big crowd and Mid-Ohio is not far from where I live in Indianapolis so I will have a lot of friends coming to see us race.

"The team has worked very hard since Lime Rock to keep making the car quicker but I think the Porsche Spyder will be very fast again.

"I think we have a good package but I do love the track at Mid-Ohio - it is very enjoyable.

"It was an excellent weekend and a great win for me here last year so I'll go into next week with a lot of great memories.

"We know what we need on the car to go fast and I can't wait to get started.

"The track will change a lot over the course of the weekend as the IndyCar guys start to lay down rubber as well.

"There are some times when we can use that laid down rubber to our advantage. The overall level of grip certainly rises over the weekend.

"If it doesn't rain, we should have the most mechanical grip we've seen all year. With our low downforce package and the narrower rear wing, that should be a big advantage for us."

While the team continues the race to retain its ALMS title crown in 2010, the team will also continue its race to defeat an even bigger rival - malaria deaths in Africa.

Patrón Highcroft Racing has again teamed up with Malaria No More to raise funds and awareness for this disease which kills a child every 30 seconds in Africa. The team also ran a special Malaria No More livery at the 24 Hours of Le Mans to promote the cause.

With the purchase of a simple $10 mosquito bed net, fans can help combat this disease - either by visiting www.milestoendmalaria.org or just texting the word "MILES" to 85944 on their cell phone. Fans can also bid for exclusive autographed souvenirs and unique at-track experiences at www.milestoendmalaria.org/auction.


Q. Mid-Ohio, what is your favorite corner and why?

DAVID BRABHAM: I think I don't really have one favorite corner at MidOhio. I have a sequence of corners.

After the back straight you're going through the S section all the way through until you come back again towards the pits. All that area there is very tricky to get right. But when you do, it feels really good.

SIMON PAGENAUD: I love turn one in Mid-Ohio. It's very challenging. I really love fast corners, but this one, you go in as fast as you can. You are full throttle going in and all of a sudden you need to lift a little bit or the car doesn't turn.

Then there's a bump, and if you're on the bump, then you're going to go off track. So it's very important to be exactly right at the apex. A few inches away and you could be in the gravel.

Q. What's the most challenging aspect to the Mid-Ohio race?

DAVID BRABHAM: I think the most challenging is that it's actually a very physical race from a driver point of view. You've got to really push hard at that track. It will give a lot back to you, where if you push that hard in other circuits, you can't because it doesn't have the sort of grip to be able to get the lap time. But around there, it's something where you've really got to do eleven tenths to get the time.

SIMON PAGENAUD: That race is very special for the traffic, once again. During the race, there's a lot of pickup that builds up around the racing line. And if you go off line, then you could have a lot of dirt on your tires and go off.

So you really need to be focused when you pass the traffic and make sure you stay on the racing lane.

Q. What's the secret to a good lap at Mid-Ohio?

DAVID BRABHAM: Push like hell.

SIMON PAGENAUD: I think a secret to a good lap at Mid-Ohio is to remain on the racing line all the time. There's a lot of pickup that builds up during the race. And through traffic you could easily go off when you are off the racing line.

Q. How do you expect the Patrón Highcroft car to go against the opposition?

DAVID BRABHAM: I think we'll be strong at Mid-Ohio. I think the downforce levels that we have and the agility of the car, that's something you really do need there at that circuit.

SIMON PAGENAUD: It is a short track and I think our package is probably the best. Light weight and good downforce should really help on that track, which is very sweepy.

Q. If you could make a change to the circuit, what would it be?

DAVID BRABHAM: Wouldn't. Leave it. It's great.

SIMON PAGENAUD: I would probably try to build a different tarmac with a little bit more grip. That would be really fun for the drivers, to feel more grip on the track.

Q. What's your favorite Mid-Ohio memory?

DAVID BRABHAM: You know, I suppose my best memory for Mid-Ohio is winning a race there in the Panoz against the Audis.

SIMON PAGENAUD: I did a Champ Car test over there in 2007. And I have to admit it was a really fun track to drive on with a Champ Car. It had a lot of power and was really fun.

-source: phr

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Jan Magnussen , Klaus Graf , Adrian Fernandez , Simon Pagenaud