BRASELTON, GA, Thursday, September 24, 2009:Patron Highcroft Racing's assault on the 2009 Petit Le Mans has suffered a major set-back with a dramatic crash in practice today at Road Atlanta. Scott Sharp was turned hard right into the fence during...
BRASELTON, GA, Thursday, September 24, 2009:Patron Highcroft Racing's assault on the 2009 Petit Le Mans has suffered a major set-back with a dramatic crash in practice today at Road Atlanta. Scott Sharp was turned hard right into the fence during the second practice session and suffered a horrifying series of rolls exiting turn one after contact with a GT car that had exited the pits.
The LMP1 championship leader was able to walk away from the scene of the crash that more closely resembled an aircraft accident. Sharp's helmet was covered in Georgia clay but the popular American was released from the Road Atlanta medical center with a clean bill of health.
Unfortunately, the team tackled a similar rebuild this time last year with the ARX-01b LMP2 car after a practice crash.
A spare Acura ARX-02a tub will be shipped to Atlanta tonight from Honda Performance Development in California. After a night of preparing additional parts and components, the Patron Highcroft Racing squad will begin final construction of the new tub tomorrow morning before taking part in the Saturday morning warm-up.
Sharp will share the car in Saturday's Petit Le Mans event with fellow championship leader David Brabham and IndyCar star, Dario Franchitti. Sharp and Brabham currently hold a 17-point lead in the LMP1 championship.
"I really don't know what happened. I was heading up the hill in sixth gear and felt a hit in the right rear. "The wheel arches are very high with the wide front tires on the Acura - I didn't see a thing - only felt the contact. "I knew it was a big one and I am just really grateful to Acura and all the boys at Patron Highcroft Racing for building such a strong car. "I'm shattered for Duncan, all the guys, Brabs and Dario. We went through this last year and I can't believe its happened again. "I was just thinking to myself how much I like this place when next thing I'm headed upside down with a mouth full of Georgia clay."
"The most important thing is the fact that Scotty was able to walk away. Cars can be rebuilt, but looking at the amount of dirt covering the top of his helmet we are just grateful he is fine. "The guys are getting stuck into the car now and we will do whatever it takes to get the car back together. "Unfortunately, we suffered a similar set-back last year but the guys are not getting down, they are ready to work through the night. "Our thanks go to all the guys at Acura, HPD and Wirth Research - that crash looked like an airplane accident and it is a credit to the those guys that Scott was able to walk away after that."