Patr¢n Highcroft Racing has locked in another American Le Mans Series race winner for its 2010 driver line-up with Marino Franchitti joining forces with David Brabham and Simon Pagenaud.
Franchitti took two LMP2 class victories for Dyson Racing in 2009, but will now line-up aboard the Honda Performance Development factory-backed ARX-01c Patr¢n Highcroft Racing entry for the 2010 Twelve Hours of Sebring, the Monterey Sports Car Championship at Laguna Seca and the season-ending Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta.
Marino will have a significantly enhanced scope of responsibilities to those given to his brother, Dario, by the team last season. Alongside his three confirmed race outings, the popular Scotsman will be behind the wheel for additional test duties as well as attending each round of the ALMS championship.
Franchitti took three pole positions, three fastest race laps and 10 podiums from 10 races last season, two of which were ALMS LMP2 class victories alongside Butch Leitzinger at Lime Rock Park and at Petit Le Mans with Leitzinger and Ben Devlin.
The 31-year-old originally made his American Le Mans Series debut aboard a Ferrari 360 in 2001. After several seasons in GT machinery, Franchitti graduated to the LMP2 class in 2007 with Andretti Green Racing (AGR).
Strong results for the factory Acura AGR squad earned Franchitti a full-time ride with Dyson Racing in 2008 which grew into a factory Mazda entry last season.
The three Patr¢n Highcroft Racing stars will join the team in Danbury next week for their pre-season seat-fitting.
Franchitti, Brabham and Pagenaud will then undertake their first laps aboard the newly-revised ARX-01c the following week.
The team's 2010 livery will be revealed at the annual Wheels Down Winter Test at Sebring on February 22-23. The opening round of the 2010 American Le Mans Series at Sebring is scheduled for March 20.
MARINO FRANCHITTI "It's great to be joining the championship winning team and linking up not only with last year's two fastest drivers in LMP1 in the American Le Mans Series, but also two good friends who will be my teammates. Brabs I've known and admired for years, and Simon became a friend almost from the time he came to the ALMS. "I'm very excited about my role with the team because I will not only be doing the long races at Sebring, Laguna Seca and Petit Le Mans, but I will also be attending all the other races.
"My job will be to sit in on all our team briefings and hopefully be able to learn and also lean on some of the experience I've gained in recent years in order to have a positive input into the development of the car. There are also a lot of test miles planned in preparation for the championship defense so I know I won't be idle.
"Duncan has made no secret of his desire to contest the 24 Hours of Le Mans and also expand the team into a second car, so obviously there are some great opportunities ahead.
"We've been friends for a long time and you can't help but be impressed by what Duncan and his team have accomplished in recent years."
DUNCAN DAYTON "The calendar clash with Petit Le Mans and IndyCar forced us to look for a new third driver for this year and we were very fortunate to be able to keep it in the family.
"But Marino's surname really had nothing to do with the decision. He has been extremely impressive over the past couple of seasons and we jumped at the opportunity to grab him when he became available. "We've been friends for quite a few years and he shares the same passion for the sport that we all have here in Danbury - both for modern and historic racing.
"We're excited about his role for Patr¢n Highcroft Racing. We're looking to build for the future and as we expand program, we'd like Marino to be a part of that.
"Brabs has played an integral role for our team and we want him to be a part our organization for many years to come - but he may not want still to be behind the wheel in 10 years time.
"Bringing younger guys on board like Simon and Marino is important for securing our future.
"I'm truly excited about our line-up for the 2010 season and can't wait to kick off our championship defense."
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