Patron team turns in strong Sebring showing
Patr¢n Highcroft Racing put on a strong performance at the American Le Mans Series Winter Test this week. Leading the Acura trio for a number of sessions, the team finished the week with a good sense of direction for the annual 12 Hours of Sebring, March 15.
Despite a mechanical issue early in Wednesday morning's session, which knocked the car out for the remainder of both that session and the midday session, the crew got the #9 Patr¢n Highcroft Racing Acura ARX-01b back on the track for the final practice of the day. David Brabham, commenting on the morning's events, said "the car felt really strong when we got out there today. The guys had made some good changes overnight. Then all of a sudden, coming around Turn Five, we had a mechanical problem and I went into the wall. But the guys did a great job of getting us back out there."
|David Brabham in the Patron Acura|
It was the first opportunity for the trio of drivers - David Brabham, Scott Sharp and Stefan Johansson - to drive together in preparation for March's endurance challenge.
Sharp noted the synergy among the team members, saying, "It is so exciting for me to be a part of a young, hungry team like Patr¢n Highcroft Racing. David, Stefan and I seem to be a great combination and are communicating really well with the crew. As a result, we're getting a great car every time we hit the track."
"This is the best car I have ever driven," commented Sharp, who is returning to sports-car racing after 10 years in open-wheel racing. "The first time I got into the Patr¢n Highcroft Racing car, I realized how great the Acura technology is. The level of downforce, the handling and the systems that Acura has put in place just blow me away. The car is extremely nimble."
Johansson, a two-time Sebring winner, expressed his happiness at being back at the famed venue and getting back into the Acura. "Even though I didn't run many laps this week, the car felt good when I was in it. All in all, I think we're in good shape for the race."
Brabham summed up the test by saying, "The headline is very positive coming out of this test. The guys are trying different setups, and each time we get in the car, we get a better feel for it. Also, we're so far beyond where we were last year heading into the race, that we feel much more prepared to be really competitive in the 12-hour race. The team has really come together and this will show on the track."
Team owner, Duncan Dayton, commended the team and the week's progress saying, "There is a great sense of purpose and direction going into the '08 season. The hard work in the off-season and at earlier tests this year has us in great shape. Also, the infusion of energy and excitement from our new sponsor, The Patr¢n Spirits Company, has imbued the team with renewed vigor for the season. We're really looking forward to a competitive 2008 ALMS season."