PATRÃ“N HIGHCROFT AIMING FOR ROAD AMERICA HAT-TRICK DANBURY, CT, Monday, August 16, 2010: PatrÃ³n Highcroft Racing has its sights set on a third consecutive victory in Eklhart Lake as the American Le Mans Series kicks off a key back-to-back two...
PATRÓN HIGHCROFT AIMING FOR ROAD AMERICA HAT-TRICK
DANBURY, CT, Monday, August 16, 2010: Patrón Highcroft Racing has its sights set on a third consecutive victory in Eklhart Lake as the American Le Mans Series kicks off a key back-to-back two week period at Road America this week.
Duncan Dayton's Highcroft squad won the LMP2 class on the longest circuit on the ALMS calendar in 2008 and backed that up last season with an overall victory for David Brabham and Scott Sharp.
Highcroft's back-to-back victories at Road America and Mosport firmly cemented the team's 2009 championship win and Brabham and 2010 teammate Simon Pagenaud are keen to repeat that performance this season.
Like 2009, the ALMS will head north of the border to Canada the following weekend with the annual visit to Mosport International Raceway near Toronto.
With three races remaining in the 2010 championship, Brabham and Pagenaud enjoy a 23-point advantage in the LMP championship - their second place at Mid-Ohio opening up a handy advantage in the absence of the CytoSport Porsche squad.
The Honda Performance Development factory-backed ARX-01c team has scored three victories and three second place finishes in the six ALMS races staged so far this year.
Road America With the expected return of Porsche Spyder rival Klaus Graf at Road America, plus the straight line speed performance of the likes of Mid-Ohio winners Dyson Racing and the turbocharged power of Intersport Racing, Highcroft know the task at hand in Elkhart Lake will not be an easy one.
Brabham and Pagenaud are expected to spend 75 per cent of the lap at Road America on full throttle. The circuit also provides the highest amount of braking G forces for any track on the schedule - more than 3.3 Gs in Canada Corner.
The Road America circuit provides both Brabham and Pagenaud with many happy memories from years past. Brabham has the past two Highcroft wins to his credit along with a GT1 win aboard a Ferrari with Jan Magnussen on his resume.
Pagenaud's professional career as a race driver was cemented at Road America in 2006 when the Frenchman clinched his Formula Atlantic championship at this circuit - beating the likes of IndyCar racers Graham Rahal and Raphael Matos to take the crown.
On-track action for the Patrón Highcroft squad at round six of the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón kicks off on Friday, August 20 at 2:30pm (CST) with a 90-minute test session.
In addition to their four-wheel exploits, Brabham, Pagenaud, third driver Marino Franchitti and members of the Patrón Highcroft team will also take part in the annual Tour de Road America on Friday night in support of the Lance Armstrong Foundation and the millions of people whose lives are affected by cancer.
Two American Le Mans Series one-hour practice sessions are scheduled for Saturday with qualifying taking place at 3:40pm (CST).
The two hour, 45 minute ALMS - powered by eStar event goes green at 2:05pm (CST) on Sunday (August 22) and will be broadcast live on SPEED.
"We're going to a race track next week that I rate very highly. Most drivers enjoy racing at Road America because it is such a great circuit.
"The Patrón Highcroft team has had some fantastic races throughout the year and we expect this race will be the same.
"We're looking forward to welcoming back the CytoSport Porsche guys but we have a championship to win and that is where our full focus will be.
"The boys have done an outstanding job so far this year and our plan will be to go out there to win.
"We've had two consecutive wins here - in LMP2 in 2008 and overall last year - we'd love to come and make it a third at Elkhart Lake.
"As far as the championship is concerned we really have to forget about the points and go to Road America to win. That will ensure we stay competitive and have a really sharp focus on what we are doing.
"Simon is driving well, the chemistry within the team is great and we are all pushing each other really hard.
"We have to keep that going and try to extend our points gap before we get to Petit Le Mans."
"Road America is a great place with a lot of brilliant memories for me.
"This is where I clinched my Formula Atlantic championship win in 2006 and went on to become a professional driver from that point on.
"I really love the track because it is one of the most challenging circuits in the world. It is very fast and you have to be extremely precise. It is all about putting a complete lap together here.
"It is such a long track that corner entry and exit are so vital because you normally have such a long straight following every turn.
"There is a lot of time to be gained if you get it right, but also a lot to lose if you don't, so that is a great challenge.
"There is not a lot of track time on the schedule so it is vital to get it right straight away.
"I think we should have a pretty good race car there. I'm looking forward to driving the ARX-01c there as the car has always been very good at Road America.
"It will be great to do battle with the CytoSport guys again and we're looking forward to seeing them back on track this week."
MALARIA NO MORE
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.
DRIVER'S EYE - ROAD AMERICA
Q. Road America, what is your favorite corner and why?
DAVID BRABHAM: I love this track. It is the best track in America for me by far. I love the carousel. I think that's such a wonderful challenge. Road America is certainly one of my favorites.
SIMON PAGENAUD: Road America, that's a beautiful track. I would say the kink is very special. You go into that corner, you have to trust the car. You have to trust everything with your life.
You're going into that corner flat out in sixth gear, the fastest you can go all year. And you turn in and all you can hope is everything is going to be okay. And that's the same every lap.
Q. What's the most challenging aspect to the Road America race?
DAVID BRABHAM: The most challenging for us is to get the downforce levels right. You've got to be really quick on the straights, but you've still got to be able to get around the corner.
So the car is always on the edge all the way around that track because we try to run as little downforce as possible.
SIMON PAGENAUD: It's very long track and it is challenging to remain focused between every corner. Those straights are very long, and it is important to remain focused and keep the tires really warm.
So you have to attack. There's few corners and long straights, so your tires have a tendency to cool down. It's important to attack to keep some temperature in your tires and your brakes.
Q. What's the secret of a good lap at Road America?
DAVID BRABHAM: Because the downforce levels are low there, you've got to be really precise to get a really good lap time there.
SIMON PAGENAUD: I would say it is very important to get the setup right on the car. You obviously need to go fast in the straight because there's a lot of long straights, so you need to have a good understanding with your crew on what you need on the car.
You need the car to be very precise into the corner and fast in the straights.
Q. How do you expect the Patrón Highcroft car to go against the opposition?
DAVID BRABHAM: I think we will be quite strong here. Even though the straights a longer, our new aero package will give us a little bit more on the straights and still be good in the corner.
SIMON PAGENAUD: I think it's probably going to be one of the toughest races all year for us. We obviously have a very good ending car in the corners, so we're going to be blindingly fast through the turns. But the straights are a little bit of a challenge for us.
But we never know. With the yellow flags and everything, with our good strategies, we could probably end up at the front.
Q. If you could make a change to the circuit, what would it be?
DAVID BRABHAM: Nothing. Leave it. Fantastic.
SIMON PAGENAUD: I wouldn't change it. It's just a beautiful track the way it is. It's a very similar track to Spa in Europe. It's fluent, it's very fast, it's very challenging for the driver.
Q. What's your favorite Road America memory?
DAVID BRABHAM: My favorite memory for Road America is probably a couple of years ago when we won the class and we had a great battle at the front. The AGR car got in front of me with a couple laps to go and then hit a back marker, and we came through to win the race. It was a really important time in the championship to win a race to be able to move on.
SIMON PAGENAUD: Clinching the championship in Atlantic was a good memory. I didn't get to finish the race. I got pushed off track. But it's a very good memory. It's probably the beginning of my career in America, so it's something special for me, so it's something special for me.