Brabham Battles Back for Petit Le Mans Qualifying David Brabham and the Patron Highcroft Racing team overcame adversity to completely rebuild the Acura ARX-01b in time for the sportscar legend to qualify seventh in LMP2 for Petit Le Mans on...
Brabham Battles Back for Petit Le Mans Qualifying
David Brabham and the Patron Highcroft Racing team overcame adversity to completely rebuild the Acura ARX-01b in time for the sportscar legend to qualify seventh in LMP2 for Petit Le Mans on Friday 3 October. The outstanding work of the Patron Highcroft crew has put Brabham and teammate Scott Sharp back in the battle for the penultimate American Le Mans Series round of the season at Road Atlanta where they will be joined by Dario Franchitti.
The Patron Highcroft team did an unbelievable job to rebuild the Acura from scratch after Sharp was unfortunate to make contact with the wall at turn one during practice on Thursday morning. Thankfully Sharp was unharmed but the car suffered extensive damage and a cracked tub, forcing the drivers to miss Thursday's night session and practice on Friday.
Brabham was the first back on track with the Acura for qualifying where he initially concentrated on completing a series of installation laps before pitting to make set-up changes. With everything in order, the 43 year-old British born Australian was able to gradually push the envelope and attempt some flying laps to post a fastest time of 1:08.064.
"The Patron Highcroft Racing team put in an unbelievable effort to get us back out there today," said Brabs. "They worked throughout the night to repair the car. I'm forever impressed by their professionalism, drive and determination, and I'm really proud of them. It was great to get out for qualifying but we lost a lot of track time due to the incident and, with the car being fresh out of the garage, we knew that we wouldn't have a perfect qualifying set up. The car wasn't balanced and a bit nervous at the beginning but we made some changes in the pits but went too far the other way and I was struggling to get the front of the car into the corners.
"We already have some ideas to improve the set up and we will have time now to look at the data and make some changes for warm up tomorrow morning. There's a long race ahead and although we know that we haven't necessarily got the quickest car, I'm not sure if that will make a huge difference as it's the smartest that often win. The guys are tired but everyone is pumped up for the race. We have proved time and again that we have a very strong race car so I am confident that we have a good chance."
Tomorrow's ALMS cornerstone 1,000-mile Petit Le Mans event will run for a maximum of 10 hours and victory at Road Atlanta will be rewarded with maximum points. The result will undoubtedly be a deciding factor in the LMP2 title fight while Brabham and Sharp currently sit second in the standings just four points behind leaders Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas. With 2007 IndyCar Series Champion and Indy 500 victor Dario Franchitti joining the Patron Highcroft duo for the flagship round, the team's combined driver strength is sure to leave them in good stead.