All Three Acura ALMS Teams Finish In The Top Six Overall Positions
SEBRING, Fla. - The three new Acura American Le Mans Series teams made a spectacular debut Saturday by taking the first, second and fourth positions in the LMP2 class at the 55th annual Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring, one of the world's most prestigious road-racing events. The Andretti Green Racing effort, with drivers Bryan Herta, Dario Franchitti and Tony Kanaan, scored the LMP2 class victory over the Lowe's Fernandez Racing team of Adrian Fernandez and Luis Diaz after the grueling 12-hour endurance contest. The AGR trio finished second overall to the factory Audi LMP1, racing on the lead lap against the more powerful German manufacturer before gearbox woes slowed the Acura ARX-01a driven by Herta in the final hour. The Fernandez team placed third overall, just two laps shy of the AGR team. The Highcroft Racing team, with drivers David Brabham, Stefan Johansson and Duncan Dayton, placed fourth in the ALMS and sixth overall in its Acura ARX-01a sports car. The victory was special for the staff of Honda Performance Development as the winning machine was designed and developed, in partnership with chassis specialist Wirth Research, at the HPD headquarters in Santa Clarita, Calif. It marked the first time an HPD-designed engine and car had competed in a U.S. racing event. The overall winning Audi completed 364 laps, with the Andretti Green Acura ARX-01a finishing with 358 laps and Fernandez Racing at 356. Highcroft Racing recorded 351 laps Saturday. The LMP2 race was set up to be a battle between the factory Porsches from Penske Racing and the three Acura factory cars. But early brake trouble for the Porsches proved to be German marque's demise. The Acuras from AGR and Highcroft set the pace in the class while the Fernandez car had a steering issue in the first three hours. An electrical problem slowed the Highcroft car and the Andretti Green XM Satellite Radio Acura ARX-01a ran strong into the evening hours. The ARX-01a chassis will unveiled Thursday in a special media event. Until the final hour, the AGR machine challenged the more-powerful Audi lap for lap, before the late race gearbox problem slowed Herta in the final hour. The Acura finish was one of the most impressive debuts ever seen in the 55-year history of the famed Sebring International Raceway and set the stage for the reminder of the 12-race American Le Mans Series. The next Acura event is Saturday, March 31, on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., the three-hour Acura Sports Car Challenge.