After the success of the Lime Rock experience, the Patron Highcroft Acura is still on a great roll. After Lime Rock and a sore head from celebrating, we went onto Mid-Ohio and Road America and had more good results to talk about.
Mid-Ohio was one we really felt strong about as the Acura has good downforce and this was a place that loved the big Gs. Going into qualifying, the car was a little off the pace, which was a little concerning, but one thing this team is really good at is getting back up to speed quickly. I did the qualifying again and the car felt a lot better than it did in practice, so I thought we could do well. I drove the car pretty hard and found myself P1 for most of the session. Then, right at the end, my mate Gil put in a stellar lap and got the overall pole with ol' DB next. It was the first all-Acura front row, however, so I was pretty happy after struggling in practice.
The race was going to be a close one as the nature of the track makes it difficult to pass at Mid-Ohio, but a bit of traffic in the wrong part and your race is done. Scott started the race and drove a great stint by keeping Gil in check - and keeping the Porsches behind - but we lost time in the pits due to an airjack problem and the Dumas Porsche jumped us during the safety car period.
When we got the restart, my tyres were taking a bit of time to get up to the grip I was looking for, and I got passed by Fernandez and then another Penske Porsche. I have to say that really pissed me off but, when the tyres came in, the car was really hooked up. I got past Adrian and then I was off after the first of the Porsches. I got a good run on him out of turn one and we split a GT car - I'm not sure if you could have put a sheet of paper between us as I went past, but it set me up for an inside pass on Pat Long into the turn three hairpin.
Once past, I was flying as I was able to lap much faster than Dumas in the leading Porsche. The two Audis were up the road as well, but it was Dumas who I wanted. Soon, I was right behind him, and with a handful of laps still to go. I tried everything, but he defended well and didn't make a mistake, so I had to settle for fourth overall and second in class. Not a bad race, but it meant that we lost a little ground in the championship.
Onto Elkhart Lake and one of the best race tracks in North America. It's a beautiful part of the world and a rare chance to bring the family with me. We were feeling confident of a strong race as we had some engine and aerodynamic upgrades that would work well at what is a long circuit but, after the first day's running, all the Acuras were way behind the Penske of Dumas and Bernhard - and we were the worst.
We had a lot of discussions at the end of the day and spent much time poring over data to find out what was happening, as it wasn't what we had expected. The next day was much better as the changes we made to the car put it right back in the ballpark. As we got close to qualifying, I put in a pretty good lap and ended up second quickest behind one of the Audis. I was surprised to see that the Audis weren't quicker than they were as the long straights should have suited them nicely.
However, when it came to qualifying, I put us sixth on the grid, which was a little disappointing, but when I saw Gil was behind me, that made me happier…! One Audi was on the pole and the AGR Acura was second and first in the P2 class. AGR has been quick, but this pole was a long time coming. I thought that our car would be good for the race, though, so I wasn't too worried.
I started the race and we all got through okay, so it was a case of just keeping in touch and take anything that came. All the cars in front of me were fast and we were a bit of a train out there.