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Acura launch new LMP1 machine.

Acura has launched the car it will campaign in the American Le Mans Series LMP1 category for the first time during pre-season testing at Sebring.

After two seasons competing in the LMP2 class, Acura will graduate to the premier category in 2009 with the ARX-02a, a car that bares a resemblance to its predecessor but features a number of significant changes.

To be campaigned by the Patron Highcroft Racing and de Ferran Motorsports teams this season, the prototype features an aggressive new front-end, revised side-sills and a unique rear wing.

It will be powered by a 620bhp aluminium alloy V8 engine, powered by unleaded fuel, unlike the diesel Audi R10TDI that has won its class for the last three seasons.

“We are very excited for the debut of the new Acura ARX-02a sports car,” said John Mendel, American Honda Motor Company's executive vice president of auto operations. “Less than three years ago, we announced our intention to enter the American Le Mans Series under the Acura brand. We had always planned to compete in the ultimate sports-car category, LMP1. Now, it is a reality.

“We had six class wins and two overall victories last year in LMP2 competition. After those successful performances, we believe we can enjoy further success in the top American Le Mans Series division in the future.

“Our new entries are beautiful, and I am proud of the HPD and Wirth Research designers and engineers who are involved in this project. I want to thank them for their hard work. We look forward to seeing the de Ferran and Patrón Highcroft teams in action.”

Although Acura only confirmed their LMP1 plans last year, the team insist it was always their intention to compete at the highest level eventually, with Honda Performance Development president Erik Berkman revealing the car had been designed alongside their LMP2 machine.

“We were working on the Acura LMP1 car while we were racing in the LMP2 class,” he said. “We understand the requirements of moving to the LMP1 class. It has been very challenging. Working with an all-new chassis and engine can be a daunting task for any manufacturer and team. But HPD and Wirth Research stepped up to the challenge.”


Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Highcroft Patron Racing show off the new Acura ARX-02a LMP1 during a special launch at the Sebring American Le Mans pre-season test.
David Brabham - JRM Racing HPD ARX-03a
David Brabham - JRM Racing HPD ARX-03a
David Brabham - JRM Racing HPD ARX-03a
David Brabham - JRM Racing HPD ARX-03a
Peter Dumbreck - JRM Racing HPD ARX-03a
Karun Chandhok - JRM Racing HPD ARX-03a
David Brabham - JRM Racing HPD ARX-03a
David Brabham - JRM Racing HPD ARX-03a
Karun Chandhok - JRM Racing HPD ARX-03a
David Brabham - JRM Racing HPD ARX-03a
Peter Dumbreck - JRM Racing HPD ARX-03a
Peter Dumbreck - JRM Racing HPD ARX-03a
Audi`s Dindo Capello, Allan McNish and Tom Kristensen win Sebring 12 Hours   [image courtesy Audi Motorsport]
Audi leads into the night at Sebring 12 Hours   [image courtesy Audi Motorsport]
Audi leads at start of Sebring 12 Hours   [image courtesy Audi Motorsport]
Brian Redman piloting the Chevron B16 of ALMS boss Bobby Rahal at Sebring [Pic credit: Legends of Motorsports]
The Highcroft Racing team celebrates second place at the Mobil1 12 Hours of Sebring just seven days after taking delivery of its new HPD ARX-01e   [pic credit: Highcroft Racing]

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