Brabham and Highcroft hit Le Mans in LMP2

Speedcafe.com

Monday 8th February, 2010 - 11:27am

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David Brabham will race for Highcroft at the Le Mans 24 Hour this year in the LMP2 category

David Brabham will race for Highcroft at the Le Mans 24 Hour this year in the LMP2 category

Australian sportscar star David Brabham will head to the Le Mans 24 Hour with his regular ALMS team, Patrón Highcroft Racing, this June.

Brabham, who last finally broke through for his first outright win at the biggest sportscar event in the world, will race his Highcroft Acura in LMP2 specifications.

In 2009 Brabham drove with the factory Peugeot squad, helping break the dominance of Audi with a commanding outright win.

The team will run without the branding of major backer Patrón tequila at Le Mans due to restrictions on alcohol sponsorship and advertising in France.

“Getting an entry for Le Mans is extremely satisfying,” said team owner Duncan Dayton.

“This is something we have wanted to do for a long time and we are delighted and thankful for the opportunity and very proud of the fact we are invited to France.

“Our goal has always been to establish Highcroft as a leading international motorsports organization – to do that, being at Le Mans is essential.”

Brabham has played an integral role in the development of the Highcroft squad since his debut as part of the Acura factory program in 2007.

He will defend his ALMS crown in 2010 teamed with Frenchman, Simon Pagenaud as well as Marino Franchitti for the longer distance races such as Sebring and Le Mans.

“For the reigning American Le Mans Series champions to go to Le Mans with the reigning winner of the 24 Hours is a remarkable opportunity,” said Dayton.

“We have long-standing and highly successful relationship with David and frankly, I can’t imagine going to Le Mans without him.

“He has been an integral part of our program since the beginning of Highcroft Racing and his breadth and depth of knowledge at Le Mans will be so important for us.

“He has experience and a winning pedigree both in prototypes and GT cars at Le Mans – you couldn’t pick a better man to lead your team at the 24 Hours for the first time.”

Highcroft Racing is one of nine cars selected to contest the LMP2 class at Le Mans.  The team will do battle against another HPD ARX-01c of Engalnd’s Strakka Racing as well as two Pescarolo Judds, two Ginetta Zyteks, a WR Zytek, a Lola Judd and a HPD-powered Lola.

“Even though we earned an LMP1 entry after winning in the ALMS last year, given the fact that a petrol-powered car really can’t compete against the diesels at Le Mans, it really made sense for us take our current chassis and contest LMP2,” said Dayton.

“This will be our first flyaway race, our first time in Europe and our first time at Le Mans so we do have a lot to learn.

“We’re not under any false pretences regarding the size of the challenge ahead. Tackling an LMP1 victory at Le Mans was really not realistic for us this year, but we’re very keen to challenge for the LMP2 win.

“We are going to have to earn it, work very hard and be a quick study because most of the competitors we will be fighting with have been there before.

“While our drivers have been to Le Mans and I’ve raced there four times, only a handful of our crew guys have done the race so we will be on a steep learning curve.”

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