Highcroft still riding momentum of last year If there were any doubts as to whether Highcroft Racing belonged in the Acura factory camp, Duncan Dayton’s team put them to rest a year ago at Petit Le Mans. A third-place overall finish at Road Atlanta for the independent team from Connecticut turned out to be one of the most memorable stories of last season and set the tone for what has been a dynamic 2007 season as part of the Acura family.
Now firmly entrenched among the elite teams of the American Le Mans Series, Highcroft now rolls into Petit Le Mans with factory support, nearly five times the manpower and a hold on third place in the P2 team championship. With 49 points available over the final two rounds, there definitely is a chance of catching Dyson Racing for second place.
“We had a fulltime staff of six last year and have 26 this year. Pretty much all of the guys that were part of that finish are still on the team this year,” said Dayton, who will send David Brabham, Stefan Johansson and Robbie Kerr out in the No. 9 Highcroft Acura at the 10th running of Petit Le Mans.
“What it showed to our guys is that we belong,” he added. “It takes some time for young teams to get over being intimidated by guys like Penske and Dyson who have such a long history. To come in and have them realize we belong really got us going. I spent a lot of time talking to our guys about working just as hard as they do despite them having 35 people, but on any given day anyone can win. It was a huge boost to show that we can work just as hard as anyone else.”
In July of 2006, Highcroft was named one of three teams that would field Acura-powered LMP2 entries. The other two squads – Andretti Green Racing and Lowe’s Fernandez Racing – brought more experience and a deeper tradition to the table but that didn’t deter Dayton and the rest of his team. And although Highcroft hasn’t recorded a class win yet, it has been the best of the Acura teams in five of 10 events so far this season.
“We’ve been surprised with some of the results,” he said. “We’ve earned a good bit of them but we also have been fortunate. The anticipation of hard work and excitement is greater than any group of people I’ve been around. Our moniker has been to exceed expectations. I don’t think anyone expected us to be third in the P2 championships at this late date.”
The 10th running of Petit Le Mans, the annual 1,000-mile/10-hour endurance classic at Road Atlanta, is set for 11:15 a.m. ET on Saturday, October 6. SPEED will provide live coverage from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and again from 6:30 to 10 p.m. American Le Mans Radio and IMSA’s Live Timing and Scoring will be available at www.americanlemans.com.