The Honda Performance Development (HPD) ARX-01c, designed and developed by Wirth Research in collaboration with HPD, revved up for next month's Le Mans 24-Hours with back-to-back victories in the US-based American Le Mans Series.
Having won the previous round of the streets of Long Beach, Patrón Highcroft Racing took its second victory in a row with a brilliant ‘last to first' win for David Brabham, Simon Pagenaud and Marino Franchitti in last weekend's six hour event at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in California, (Saturday 22 May).
With its fast, sweeping corners, Laguna is one of the world's most technically demanding tracks - the perfect showcase for the renowned attributes of the Wirth Research produced HPD ARX-01c. Designed using advanced Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and perfected on the state-of-the-art Wirth Research simulator, the HPD ARX-01c once again superbly demonstrated its superiority.
After being put to the rear of the grid by race officials for a minimum driver time infringement in practice, Pagenaud made a barnstorming start - charging through the field to be 20th after one lap, 13th after two, seventh after three and through to fourth and on the tail of the leading LMP class pack in four laps. He recorded his fastest lap of the race on lap five and was right back in contention at the first safety car period on lap nine.
Pagenaud moved to third on lap 34, second on lap 39 and then lightning pit work by the Highcroft squad cycled him through into the lead at the first stop on lap 54.
On lap 95, the Frenchman pitted to hand over to Brabham who continued the team's dominant form at the front. With two hours to go, Brabham handed the car over to Franchitti for the run to the flag - the Scot taking an incredible victory by an enormous seven-lap margin.
Patrón Highcroft Racing also won the LMP portion of the MICHELIN® GREEN X® Challenge, based on overall performance and environmental efficiency.
Next up on Patrón Highcroft Racing schedule is the famous Le Mans 24 Hours. It will be a milestone race for Wirth Research featuring two HPD ARX-01c entries as the European-based Strakka Racing will be bringing its similar chassis to compete in this year's running of the world's most famous endurance race.
"For lots of reasons we are thrilled with this latest ALMS victory," said Nick Wirth. "After winning on the streets of Long Beach, such a dominant performance at a race circuit such as Laguna Seca demonstrates the all-round ability of the HPD ARX-01c. Moreover, these two successes added to Strakka Racing's superb showing in the opening round of this year's Le Mans Series held at Paul Ricard, means we go to Le Mans with huge confidence. The HPD ARX-01c will be making its debut in the 24 Hours but we are going to France with three wins already under our belt and good grounds for optimism."