LMP – Highcroft Seeks Road America Three-Peat

August 21, 2010

LMP – Highcroft Seeks Road America Three-Peat

August 21, 2010

David Brabham and Scott Sharp co-drove the Highcroft car to victory at Road America in 2009. Photo credit: Rick Dole for Michelin North America

With a one-week break now in the rearview mirror, the American Le Mans Series resumes for the first of back-to-back race weekends starting this Friday at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis.

Unofficially dubbed “America’s national park of speed,” Road America is a 4.048-mile, 14-turn permanent road course with a mix of long straights, tight and fast corners, and corner names such as “Canada Corner,” “Kettle Bottoms” and “Hurry Downs.”

Although they haven’t won in three races, Road America is as good a place as any for Patron Highcroft Racing to get back into victory lane.

The Danbury, Conn.-based team has won the last two trips here. They won overall last season and in the LMP2 class in 2008, both times with David Brabham and Scott Sharp driving.

Brabham and Simon Pagenaud will pilot the No. 1 HPD ARX 01-c in the team’s quest to make it a three-peat. Though Pagenaud has not won before at Road America, the young French driver has competed there in both sportscar and open-wheel championships each of the last four years.

Their top rivals from Muscle Milk Team CytoSport are back after missing the race at Mid-Ohio. The No. 6 Porsche RS Spyder is a new tub after the one at Mid-Ohio suffered terminal damage in a testing accident, but the crew for the Benecia, Calif.-based team worked tirelessly at their temporary base in Indianapolis this last two weeks putting the new tub together.

Greg Pickett is sidelined with injuries, but his regular co-driver Klaus Graf and Pickett’s injury replacement Timo Bernhard are among the best out there and keen on returning the Porsche RS Spyder to the top at the track. Bernhard has four prior wins at Road America, two of them in an RS Spyder with one overall.

Meanwhile the hottest team entering Road America is Dyson Racing, fresh off the team’s first win this season with the Lola Mazda Coupe. Dyson also won the pole at this race last year with Marino Franchitti then driving, and have Chris Dyson and Guy Smith in the No. 16 car as they look for back-to-back wins.

Drayson Racing’s British Racing Green No. 8 Lola Judd Coupe makes its first start at Road America and the team of Paul Drayson and Jonny Cocker look to get back on the podium. The speed is there as Cocker delivered the team’s first pole last race at Mid-Ohio.

With several long straights encompassing the track, it’s likely that the turbocharged Lola prototypes from Autocon and Intersport will fly as the fastest in a straight line much quicker than the normally-aspirated cars. At Utah, there was a 30 mph difference between the fastest and slowest prototype cars – but whether that translates into the fastest times over the very long lap remains to be seen.

In LMPC, Level 5 Motorsports team owner and driver Scott Tucker returns to the circuit where he won a national championship in a regional touring series last year. Tucker leads the class standings with four wins and two additional podium finishes, a perfect podium record in six starts. Tucker co-drives both of his team’s entries, the No. 55 with Christophe Bouchut (all four wins) and the No. 95 with Andy Wallace.

Level 5’s performance was an impressive one at Mid-Ohio, as the winning No. 55 car ran both qualifying and the entire two hour, 45-minute race on a single set of MICHELIN® tires.

Meanwhile the PR1/Mathiasen team is close to its first class win with Luis Diaz and Ricardo Gonzalez now entrenched in the No. 52 car. They have three straight podium finishes — half that of the No. 99 Green Earth Team Gunnar entry driven by Gunnar Jeannette and Elton Julian. The bright green car is primed for a seventh podium finish in as many starts.

See also: Wide Open for Wide Action at Road America

Latest Photos

Latest Video

Kellymoss provides drivers a path to the IMSA WeatherTech Championship

Friday August 25, 2023