PATRON HIGHCROFT TARGET MORE CANADIAN SUCCESS IN 2009 David Brabham and Scott Sharp DANBURY, CT, Friday, August 21, 2009: Patron Highcroft Racing heads north of the border to Canada next weekend with two clear targets - repeating its 2008 ...
PATRON HIGHCROFT TARGET MORE CANADIAN SUCCESS IN 2009
David Brabham and Scott Sharp DANBURY, CT, Friday, August 21, 2009: Patron Highcroft Racing heads north of the border to Canada next weekend with two clear targets - repeating its 2008 Mosport class victory and extending its 2009 championship lead.
The Danbury, CT-based team bounced back into the winner's circle at the last round of the championship at Road America and pushed its points tally to 13 ahead of its nearest rival.
After clinching class wins at Road America in both 2008 and 2009, Patron Highcroft Racing will now be out to achieve the same result at the fabled Mosport International Raceway - the former home of the Canadian Formula 1 Grand Prix.
The team scored its final 2008 victory at the super fast Canadian circuit. Scott Sharp and David Brabham looked set to take the runner-up position late in the race last year, but on the final lap, LMP2 class leader Gil de Ferran ran out of fuel, handing victory to the Patron Highcroft squad.
Patron Bee The 2.459 mile Mosport circuit has the highest average lap speed of any circuit on the ALMS calendar. Sharp and Brabham will also experience higher G forces aboard their Acura ARX-02a than at any other track - 3.75 G's through the high speed turn 2.
That equates to the drivers experiencing 3.75 times their own body weight while trying to hold their head up through the turn.
The Mosport weekend will also be the final "sprint" race format of the year. After the Mosport two hour, 45 minute race, the championship will be completed by the 1000km/10 hour Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta and the four hour season finale at Laguna Seca.
During the Canadian round of the ALMS championship, Patron Highcroft Racing and its partner Malaria No More will also continue their fight to end malaria deaths in Africa via the Miles to End Malaira program.
The Miles to End Malaria campaign pledges dollars for every mile completed by Patron Highcroft Racing in the 2009 championship. Major supporters include Highcroft Racing, Tequila Patron and American Le Mans Series founder Dr. Don Panoz - all pledging $5 per mile.
After seven rounds of the 2009 championship, the campaign has already raised nearly $44,000 for the worthy cause. Fans can contribute as little as a penny per mile to the campaign at www.milestoendmalaria.org
"For our championship chase we have to keep focusing on winning races. At Road America the team did an outstanding job. We have focused on getting all the little things done, executing perfectly and eventually we'll enjoy our share of good fortune as well.
"That philosophy put us in contention to win at Long Beach and Lime Rock but things didn't go our way. The contact with the GT car at Mid Ohio also makes you wonder 'what if.'
"But the win at Road America restored the balance a little and we now head to Mosport with our eyes firmly fixed on another win.
"We won there last year in P2, I won three Trans-Am races in a row there previously and I know David really likes the track as well. "We've continued to learn more and more about the Acura in trying to make it handle to suit David and my driving styles. I think we took a good step forward in regards to that at Road America.
"We head to Canada pretty pumped to win another one. The more you win, the more cushion it gives you in the points and we don't ever want to get to the stage where you are driving to preserve a lead - we have to keep winning races and that will take care of the championship for us."
"The Elkhart Lake weekend was outstanding for us. The team did a fantastic job in its preparation, the strategy for the race and the set-up changes we made between qualifying and the race.
"We had a great car and once we got in front we knew we were going to be difficult to beat.
"It is amazingly close at the moment. We have to be precise with everything because the competition is so tight. The best goal for us at the moment is to keep doing what we are doing, pushing for race wins and concentrating on one race at a time.
"Qualifying has become extremely important because the competition is so close but Mosport is the type of track where because of the different speeds between the classes and the type of corners, I expect we are going to see more passing opportunities than what we've seen the past few races.
"It will be a very close battle that I am really looking forward to. Last year was one of the most enjoyable races I have ever been involved in and I think this year we are going to see more of the same. "The speeds are so high here and I think the Acura will be very well suited here. Every track we go to we learn even more about the package so everyone is really looking forward to this one."
MOSPORT BY THE NUMBERS
Fastest Corner: Turn #8
Maximum Corner Speed: 265 kph (165 mph)
Maximum Lateral Gs: 3.75 G in Turn #2
Slowest Corner: Turn #5 (Moss Corner)
Minimum Corner Speed: 90 kph (56 mph)
Fastest top speed: 280 kph (174 mph)
Percentage of lap on full throttle: 75%
Maximum Braking Gs: 2.9 G
Number of Brake Applications: 5
Gear Changes per lap: 18
Left Turns: 3
Right Turns: 7
SCOTT SHARP AT MOSPORT
What is your favorite corner and why?
"This is one of my favorite tracks. Turn two at Mosport is just a full on corner - I love those type of corners. Very much on edge, not a lot of run-off, ultra-high speed and our car is at full revs in fifth gear so you are really flat out through here.
"It is a seriously thrilling corner."
What is the most challenging aspect of Mosport?
"In the American Le Mans Series cars you are travelling at high speed around the majority of the race track so the tricky part is not coming up on the GT cars too fast.
"There is a huge speed differential at this track, probably the largest of all the tracks that we run on.
"Particularly in the race you need to be able to work your way through traffic and not catch them at the wrong time.
"The unique characteristic to Mosport is that so much of the track is high speed! There is really nothing like it! And to go fast, you are very much on edge! You can't have any understeer. For most of the lap you are in 5th or 6th gear, so to be coming over the top of a hill at 150 mph - that is awesome!!!!
What is the secret to a good lap at Mosport?
"Mosport is all about flow. You need to start the lap off right, have the temperament with the car and let the lap develop for you - you can't overdrive the track.
"When you are traveling through the turn 1-3 section or the 8-10 section, it is so high speed. You are carrying large MPH and using all of the road. There is no room for error!! You have to be ultra precise or there are big consequences."
If you could make a change to the circuit, what would it be?
"I like the track the way it is. There are other guys that believe that as the cars get quicker and quicker that there are certain areas of the track that are right on the edge of being considered safe.
"To me it is one of the last of a dying breed of track and I love it."
What is your favorite memory of Mosport?
"Winning in 1993 in the Trans Am Series in the pouring rain. I was the only guy on slicks and everyone else was on rain tires. I led from start to finish and won the race."