PATRON HIGHCROFT DOMINATE MOSPORT FOR THIRD VICTORY OF THE YEAR BOWMANVILLE, ON, CANADA, Sunday, August 30, 2009: Patron Highcroft Racing took its second consecutive American Le Mans Series victory and second successive...
PATRON HIGHCROFT DOMINATE MOSPORT FOR THIRD VICTORY OF THE YEAR
BOWMANVILLE, ON, CANADA, Sunday, August 30, 2009: Patron Highcroft Racing took its second consecutive American Le Mans Series victory and second successive Canadian triumph today at Mosport International Raceway near Toronto.
After starting from pole aboard the Acura ARX-02a, Scott Sharp initially lost two positions off the start while bringing the Michelin tires up to temperature.
Once up to speed, Sharp began to chase down Gil de Ferran and Jon Field, setting the fastest lap of the race on lap 10.
The battle continued through traffic before de Ferran was forced to make his first pit stop on lap 27 after 32 minutes. Patron Highcroft's advantage was helped further when the #66 Acura ran off the road on its out lap in turn 2.
On lap 35, Sharp regained the overall lead from Mario Franchitti's LMP2 class Mazda - a lead which the Patron Highcroft team would maintain for the remaining 96 laps. David Brabham climbed aboard the #9 machine on lap 47 under yellow after Sharp had opened up a lead in excess of 20 seconds.
The de Ferran team was able to get a lap back with a wave by under the safety car, and Brabham held a 9.9 second lead when the race went green on lap 57.
Both cars quickly entered traffic and Brabham's lead shrunk to as little as 1.5 seconds after 20 laps before Simon Pagenaud was forced to bring the #66 car back to pit lane for another unscheduled stop.
For the remaining 54 laps, the Patron Highcroft squad had an untroubled run to the checkered flag with a lead of more than a lap.
Along with the overall victory, the team also took its first Michelin® Green X® Challenge title - the award rewards all Series manufacturers and teams on their overall performance, fuel efficiency and environmental impact at each event.
Today's victory came after the team returned to victory circle at the previous round at Road America. The team also tasted victory earlier this year at St Petersburg.
Mosport International Raceway continued to be a happy hunting ground for the Danbury, CT-based team. Brabham and Sharp took victory here last year in the LMP2 class.
Sharp also has a series of Trans-Am victories to his credit at the Canadian track while David's father, 3-time Formula One World Champion, Sir Jack Brabham, won the first ever Formula One event staged at the track in 1967.
The win pushed the team's points advantage out to 17 points with only two championship rounds remaining. The Mosport event was a big occasion for the team's manufacturer, Acura. Today's result clinched the manufacturer's title in the LMP1 class while the win by Acura LMP2 team Fernandez Racing clinched the drivers title for the Acura brand.
Today's success also pushed the team toward an important milestone in its battle to help end malaria deaths in Africa through its partnership with Malaria No More.
The 131 laps completed today brought its season tally to 2905.13 race miles - pushing the fund raising total to nearly $50,000.00 for Miles to End Malaria. With two races remaining, the team has raised $49,038.57 and will break the 50k total at Petit Le Mans.
Patron Highcroft Racing's next step for its championship chase will be at Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta on Saturday, September 26.
"All throughout the year our luck has fluctuated and there have been some races that we should have won, but we have maintained our target of just executing everything perfectly each weekend and eventually the results ran our way.
"We went into Elkhart Lake with that attitude and got the win there, then came to Canada and just said 'lets keep it going'."
"It is great for us to back in victory circle again.
"At Petit there will be a lot of prototype cars there and it will be a pivotal race in the championship with extra points on offer.
"It is great to have a points cushion going into that race but we have to make sure we have a trouble free race and pick up as many points as we can.
"We're back on a pretty good roll now with two in a row so hopefully we can keep that going."
"When you go racing your job is to win and we achieved that. Our rivals at de Ferran Motorsports had some issues today which obviously helped us.
"But it was a 100 percent faultless performance by the entire Patron Highcroft team and that's what it takes to win championships.
"The boys did a fantastic job today and their focus has been spot on. We have grown as a team throughout the year as we have made the Acura better and better.
"It is fantastic for Scott and I to be a part of this team.
"We head to Petit Le Mans next but I'm not focusing on Audi or Peugeot - we have a championship to win and that is what we will have our sights firmly set on that.
"Our job will be to maintain good points and get a strong finish."
"While it looked fairly easy at the end it was a very nervous time on the pit wall hoping we would have a trouble free run through to the finish.
"When your not in a tough wheel to wheel battle, sometimes it seems more challenging on the pit stand. Even though we're not in the car you start to wonder whether you are hearing noises and wondering about things that could go wrong.
"We weren't satisfied until we brought the Acura home under the checkered flag.
"I'm really proud of my guys for all their hard work. They keep working until they are sure the car is 100 percent ready to roll.
"I've always loved this place and we seem to have a bit of a momentum shift to grab the pole and now the win so it is a great day for Patron Highcroft Racing.
"The guys are totally charged and really have that spring in their step now for the championship. We're back where we want to be."