RACE Aussie Makes ALMS History in Teaming With Sharp In Patrón Highcroft Acura LONG BEACH, Calif.
David Brabham made a spectacular pass of Romain Dumas entering Turn Eight on the 70th lap of the Tequila Patrón American Le Mans Series feature Saturday to win the highly-competitive LMP2 class ion the famed streets of Long Beach. The victory was the first for the upstart Patrón Highcroft Racing team in the ALMS and the second for Acura since the manufacturer's entry in the road racing series in 2007. Brabham took over the No. 9 Patrón Highcroft Acura ARX-01b prototype sports car from his teammate, Scott Sharp, on the 46th lap and charged from fifth position to the lead on the next-to-last lap in a sensational wheel-to-wheel battle with Dumas in the Penske Porsche. The win follows Patrón Highcroft Racing's best previous finish of second at St. Petersburg two weeks ago. The one-hour, forty-minute contest on the 1.98-mile, 11-turn circuit by the Long Beach harbor turned into an Acura-Porsche battle in the last 10 laps, as Brabham drove from three seconds behind to the lead. Brabham's winning margin was 1.06 seconds at the checkered flag after 71 laps. Brabham's triumph was his 13th career win in ALMS, and the popular second-generation racing star became the first driver to win in all four classes in the 10-year history of the American Le Mans Series. Brabham previously set an ALMS mark by being the first driver to win poles in all four classes. Brabham's win marked the Brabham Long Beach victory for the Brabham family, as older brother Geoff won the Formula Atlantic events here in 1981 and 1982. Trailing Brabham and Sharp in the LMP2 division were Dumas and Timo Bernhard in the Penske car, followed by Patrick Long and Sascha Maassen in the other Penske Porsche, and Bryan Herta and Christian Fittipaldi in the XM Satellite Radio Acura ARX-01b. Herta, a former open-wheel pole winner at Long Beach, ran as high as second Saturday before handing the drive chores to Fittipaldi on Lap 46. The Andretti Green crew made a superb pit stop and Fittipaldi battled with the Porsches and the Acuras to finish fourth Saturday.