David Brabham took his Patrón Highcroft Racing Acura to fourth overall on the grid, and second in LMP2, for round eight of the American Le Mans Series race at Mosport, and the Australian veteran, who last won at Mosport ten years ago in IMSA GT, is confident that another strong race performance will deliver valuable points for the LMP2 championship fight.
Two days of pre-race testing at the challenging Canadian circuit just outside of Toronto saw both Brabham and team-mate Scott Sharp appearing at the top of the times in their respective practice sessions on Friday and Saturday. Barely tenths of a second separated the Patrón Highcroft Racing pair's times from those of Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas in the Penske Porsche, hailing another close qualifying session.
With a time of 1min 05.123secs behind him from practice, Brabham was confident of having a shot at pole but, despite being the first to set the LMP2 qualifying pace, with a time of 1min 04.603secs putting him behind the LMP1 Audi of Marco Werner, the Aussie was unable to improve his time having had to abort a flying lap halfway through the session.
“I really pushed everything I could out of the car this afternoon, and we're fourth overall and second in LMP2, so not a bad effort, I think," Brabham commented, "It was a little frustrating because one of the cars in front slowed up deliberately to try to baulk me and then it caused a bit of an accident because it was right in the fast stuff, causing the Audi and Andretti Green Racing Acura to nearly hit me from behind because we were going so slow.
"There was nothing I could do and, unfortunately, they probably blame me, but I went down to the Penske pit to give them my impression of their driver."
Despite the altercation, however, the 42-year old's time was just 0.285secs off LMP2 polesitter Dumas, with five-tenths covering the top five cars.
“We know that we have a really strong race car ready for tomorrow, which is the main thing. I was able to post some fast times at the end of the last practice on my worn Michelin tyres, so that was good. With a fast car and good strategy, which the Patrón Highcroft Racing team has displayed all season, I'm looking forward to a good race tomorrow.”
Brabham and Sharp lie 24 points behind Bernhard and Dumas in the championship fight but have taken three wins in the last five rounds to close the gap.
"The Porsche had a little bit more on us, but the car is in very good shape for race conditions, which is always what we're working on," Brabham continued, "It's all about race pace, staying out of trouble and having great pit strategy which, I have to say, is something Patrón Highcroft Racing excels at and that's why we're so close in the championship.
“We knew we probably only had one shot in qualifying due to the traffic on this track - it is so fast here that it is easy to get caught up with other cars. Overall, I think we have a very good race car. Scott and I are pleased with the balance of the Acura chassis - we have good solid baseline and just need to make little changes at each track now.
"I have logged a lot of miles at Mosport and the race will be much different than qualifying. Slower cars can hold you up here more than at any other track. You can lose as much as five or six seconds in a turn, and maybe ten seconds a lap, but we'll have to adjust for those kind of conditions in the race.”