PATRON HIGHCROFT RACING KICK OFF SALT LAKE CITY PREPARATIONS Salt Lake City TOOELE, UT, Friday, May 15, 2009: Patron Highcroft Racing kicked off its preparations for the first of the traditional two hour, 45 minute American Le Mans...
PATRON HIGHCROFT RACING KICK OFF SALT LAKE CITY PREPARATIONS
Salt Lake City TOOELE, UT, Friday, May 15, 2009: Patron Highcroft Racing kicked off its preparations for the first of the traditional two hour, 45 minute American Le Mans Series races at the state-of-the-art Miller Motorsports Park facility in Salt Lake City today.
The 2009 championship kicked off with the 12 Hours of Sebring followed by two shorter street circuit races at St Petersburg and Salt Lake City.
Four of the remaining seven races will follow this time format including Lime Rock Park, the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and across the border at Canada's Mosport International Raceway.
In today's practice session, the #9 Tequila Patron-sponsored Acura ARX-02a was second fastest, stopping the clocks at 1 hour, 32.844 seconds.
The team completed 38 laps of the 3.038 mile circuit, the most by any prototype entered this weekend and the second most laps completed by any American Le Mans Series car today.
The factory Acura squad will have two further one-hour practice sessions tomorrow at 9:30am and 2:10pm before qualifying kicks off at 3:45pm (Mountain time) for the LMP1 and LMP2 prototype classes.
Brabham and Sharp were joined on track today by the new Tequila Patron ALMS Challenge GT3 class entry of Ed Brown and Bill Sweeder. The Porsche GT3 duo were third fastest in their class as they prepare for their series debut on Sunday.
"It was great to get back out on the track here in the Acura as we have really high hopes for a good result.
"After running Indy last week it took me a couple of laps to get back in the groove. It is such an incredibly different driving style between the Acura and the IndyCar.
"It was very handy to have some testing miles today to get back in the groove.
"It was great to get the Indy qualifying locked in last weekend because so much goes into both events I really couldn't image having to fly back and forth to try to qualify for the 500 tomorrow. It would be very difficult to feel settled and stay focused on both programs.
"Now were in the field we can stay settled, focus on the race this weekend then get back in Indy mode the following week."
"I'm getting used to jumping from one car to another. I've just got back from running the Peugeot at Spa in Belgium last weekend and it is now great to be back in the Acura at Salt Lake City.
"Every track we go to we learn more and more about setting the car up with the larger Michelin front tires. We didn't get the most out of it today but we have a few changes to make overnight and we will see where we are tomorrow.
"It is certainly a very fast car compared to the P2 Acura from last year. There is still more time to come out of the track because it was pretty slippery today compared to previous years. It was still fun to be back out there.
"This really is a brilliant facility and it is very demanding out there - extremely fast.
"At three miles long it is also one of the longest circuits on the calendar."