BRABHAM. SHARP COME TO MOSPORT SEEKING FOURTH 2008 WIN
AS THE FOUR-CAR ACURA CONTINGENT WILL FIGHT FOR LMP2 VICTORY
Patrón Highcroft Team Wins 3 of Last 5 Races, Ready For Another Triumph
Acura sports car racers David Brabham and Scott Sharp are hitting their stride in this year’s American Le Mans Series as they attack the fast Mosport International Raceway this weekend.
The Patrón Highcroft Racing pair collected their third LMP2 class victory at the legendary Road America four-mile circuit on Aug. 9 in a great battle against the more powerful Audis, the Penske and Dyson Porsches and three other Acura contenders.
Coming to the fast Mosport circuit for Sunday’s ALMS event, Brabham is no stranger to the 2.45-mile, 10-turn road course carved through the Ontario hills outside Toronto. The popular Aussie won an IMSA GT event back in 1998 and placed second in 1999 and 2001 in ALMS races at Mosport. This year, Brabham has wins at prestigious events such as 24 Hours of Le Mans, the streets of Long Beach and Road America. In addition, Brabham and Sharp collected Acura’s first overall victory with a sensational late-race pass at Lime Rock Park last month. Brabham has an overall pole this year too. Brabham and Sharp currently ranks second in the LMP2 point standings as they look to close on leaders Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas, last year’s Mosport overall winner.
Joining Brabham and Sharp in the Acura contingent at Mosport are three strong efforts from Andretti Green Racing, Lowe’s Fernandez Racing and de Ferran Motorsports.
The Andretti Green Racing features 24 Hours of Le Mans star Franck Montagny as the new primary driver of the No. 26 XM Satellite Radio Acura ARX-01b at Mid-Ohio. Montagny, who placed second at Long Beach last April in the final Champ Car race, won the LMP2 pole at Road America and drove brilliantly to take the lead late in the four-hour event. Only contact with a GT car kept Montagny from victory. He will team with former Honda F-1 test driver James Rossiter of England at Mosport. The No. 15 Lowe’s Acura duo of Mexican driving stars Adrian Fernandez and Luis Diaz have been very competitive in all season including a wheel-to-wheel duel with the winning Porsche throughoutthe 12 Hours of Sebring. A podium finish at Mid-Ohio and superb run at Road America makes Fernandez and Diaz a contender at Mosport. Fernandez is no stranger to the Toronto area with a victory in the Molson Indy in 1996 and second in 2000. Diaz has been a challenger for the Toronto Formula Atlantic race in 2001 and 2002.
Former Indy 500 winner Gil de Ferran comes back to the Toronto area for the first time since the 2001 CART event. The two-time CART champion returned to the cockpit with his new team and No. 66 Panasonic ELS Surround Acura ARX-01b prototype sports car. De Ferran, a two-time Molson Indy pole winner, teamed with young French star Simon Pagenaud to place third in the team’s first race at Utah in May. De Ferran also won the overall pole at Mid-Ohio.
This year, Acura cars have recorded three class wins including one overall win. In addition, Acura prototypes have won the last three LMP2 pole positions.
ACURA LMP2 LINEUP AT MOSPORT
* No. 9 Patrón Highcroft Acura ARX-01bDrivers: David Brabham, Scott Sharp* No. 15 Lowe’s Fernandez Acura ARX-01bDrivers: Adrian Fernandez, Luis Diaz* No. 26 XM Satellite Radio Acura ARX-01bDrivers: Franck Montagny, James Rossiter* No. 66 Panasonic ELS de Ferran Acura
DAVID BRABHAM (#9 Patrón Highcroft Racing Acura ARX-0ba):
“Our Patrón Highcroft Acura team did a great job with strategy this year. All of the Acuras were fast lately and we raced hard with them, the Porsches and the Audis. At Road American, we made the call to pit late on a yellow flag period and then everyone else pitted for fuel. But our strategy kept us out and we took over the lead. I had to drive flat out to the end. It is exciting to be a part of this team. It has grown into an excellent organization after being a new team in 2007. I won a long time ago at Mosport  and have on the podium several times. But I’d like to return to the top of the podium this year.”
SCOTT SHARP (#9 Patrón Highcroft Racing Acura ARX-01b):
“The Road America event was a great day for Patrón Highcroft Racing. Rob Hill [team manager] and Duncan Dayton [team owner] made some amazing strategy calls that worked perfectly for us. Winning three races this year is a tremendous feat for this young team. I think we have a chance to win another one before the end of the year. To get the first overall win this year for Acura and Patrón [at Lime Rock], that was a big accomplishment. This Acura prototype is one of the best cars I have ever driven. It is sensational. I am anxious to drive the car at the fast circuit at Mosport.”
LUIS DIAZ (#15 Lowe’s Fernandez Acura ARX-01b):
“We had a great weekend at Road America until the last 30 minutes. The car has been fantastic for me lately. Adrian did a great job qualifying and was driving the car very well in the race. Unfortunately, the suspension gave up when we were looking pretty good for our first win. It is really disappointing for all the team. I think we have shown that we can race for the win and that is goal at Mosport.”
ADRIAN FERNANDEZ (#15 Lowe’s Fernandez Acura ARX-01b):
“It was a tough day at Road America because we were looking good. I think we had a faster car than [David] Brabham but then the left rear suspension. It’s a shame for everybody. Luis did a fantastic job. We are working on getting the Acura package and total Acura family stronger. I think we are making a lot of gains right now with our Acura engine and chassis. Now I want to get the Lowe’s Acura in victory lane at Mosport. We’ll be competitive.”
FRANCK MONTAGNY (#26 XM Satellite Radio AGR Acura ARX-01b):
“I'm still very disappointed with our finish at Road America, but the past is the past and I can't change anything. Now I will have to focus on my training and on Mosport. I have been watching the video the team provided to me and I think I am going to love this circuit. I am going to be stronger and faster at Mosport and this time we will be ready to take the XM Acura to a win.”
JAMES ROSSITER (#26 XM Satellite Radio AGR Acura ARX- 01b):
“Road America was a learning experience for me. Everything went well as I worked to understand of the car, the team and theALMS. The team made me feel at home and gave Franck and I a great car for the weekend. I'm really looking forward to Mosport aswe had such a strong weekend at Road America. I am really looking forward to the weekend.”
GIL de FERRAN (#66 Panasonic ELS Sound de Ferran Motosports Acura ARX-01b):
“It is fun being a team owner. It’s been a great project. We are learning about more and more about sports car racing. It is different from open-wheel racing. But driving the prototypes is a lot like driving an open-wheel car. We had a tough race at Road America. We are looking forward to our first Mosport race. I raced many times at Toronto and those race fans are very knowledgeable and enthusiastic.”
SIMON PAGENAUD (#66 Panasonic ELS Sound de Ferran Motosports Acura ARX-01b):
“We had a strong car at Road America but we had some bad breaks. Our Panasonic ELS Acura has been one of the fastest cars at the first four races we have run. But we have had rough luck. But I’m ready for the Mosport race.”
UPCOMING ALMS RACE
RACE: Mobil 1 Presents the GRAND PRIX OF MOSPORTDATE: August 22-24, 2008TRACK: MOSPORT INT’L RACEWAY, Bowmanville, ONTDISTANCE: 2 Hours, 45 MinutesROUND: 8 of 11 RacesTV: SPEED-TV, Aug. 24, 3 p.m. (EDT)Acura Contact: Tom Blattler, 317-525-5692