David Brabham and the Patrón Highcroft Racing crew made a sensational comeback - after rebuilding a new car from scratch in 24 hours following Scott Sharp's massive accident on Thursday - to score vital championship points in the 12th Petit Le Mans 1000miles/10 hour race at Road Atlanta.
Brabham, together with Sharp and Dario Franchitti, repaid the team's round-the-clock work to drive turn perfect through challenging weather conditions in a race that was eventually red flagged due to heavy rain. Their reward was a 21 point lead from de Ferran Motorsports, which takes the LMP1 title fight to the final round of the season at Laguna Seca next month.
Thankfully Sharp walked away unharmed from a horrendous accident during Thursday's second practice session that totaled the Patrón Highcroft Acura. An awesome effort by the Patrón Highcroft crew saw the car rebuilt from the ground up, turning a bare tub flown in from Honda Performance Development head quarters in California into a complete Acura ARX-02a in less than 24 hours.
With around only 10 per cent of usable parts left from the original car, the team worked through the night to assemble and attach a mind blowing 4000 mechanical components. The car was ready to roll by 5:45am - in time for Brabham to run in morning warm-up, which was delayed due to heavy overnight rain.
After starting from the pit lane, Brabham wasted little time slicing his way through the field up to seventh within 45 minutes and the Le Mans 24 Hours 2009 winner continued his charge to lie fifth after the first round of pit stops were complete.
Brabham took advantage of the first full course caution after 90 minutes of racing to pit and handover to Sharp. Brabham had experienced issues with the steering wheel dash during his session and when the problem wasn't resolved with the reconnection of the wheel during the driver switch, Sharp pit again for a change of wheel. He joined the field for green flag racing in seventh.
Taking the wheel of the new Acura for the first time, Sharp recovered sixth place and delivered a solid double stint through a session littered with four full course cautions.
During the fifth full yellow, Sharp pit on lap 150 to make way for Dario Franchitti but the Scottish IndyCar ace spent much of his stint sitting behind the safety car.
Conditions took a further turn for the worse and the resulting downpour was so severe that the race was red flagged on lap 184, with the clock approaching the 4 hours and 50 minute mark.