A faultless run of podiums including three race victories, four second places and a third place finish have earned reigning LMP1 champion David Brabham, together with teammate Simon Pagenaud, a 16-point lead in the 2010 title battle.
The penultimate championship round at Mosport, Canada, last month saw Brabham celebrate his 100th ALMS race start in style, taking his eighth podium in as many rounds, but now he is fully focused on turning his 101st race outing into his second Series title in as many years.
Brabham was justifiably rewarded with his first ALMS crown in 2009, taking the LMP1 spoils after Highcroft Racing's mighty comeback — building a completely new Acura ARX-02a following Scott Sharp's massive accident in Thursday testing at Petit Le Mans — to seal the spoils with a final podium finish at Laguna Seca.
Once again, Brabham and Highcroft Racing's consistent 2010 form has earned a deserved points advantage. However, not everything has gone their way, with the Highcroft HPD car battling a straight-line speed disadvantage compared to their more powerful LMP1, turbo-charged and weight-advantaged rivals in the newly-combined LMP category.
As a round of the ACO International Cup, the Road Atlanta season showdown will revert to the separate classes of LMP1 and LMP2. So, regardless of the challenges experienced this year, Brabham and Patrón Highcroft just need to complete 70 per cent of the 1000mile - or ten-hour - race to take the championship crown.
“Heading to Petit Le Mans with a points lead is nice, but it doesn't change anything for us - the fundamentals for the final round are the same as any other,” Brabham admitted, “Ideally, we want class pole position and to win P2 because, if we do that, we take the title.
"We will have that focus while being aware we don't need to put ourselves under any unnecessary pressure. If, when we get to 70 per cent race distance, we are in a position to fight for the win, we will. The first step is to get through a clean race and pick up the points we need.
“This year, with the regulations as they have been, it hasn't always been easy for us. In fact, it's probably got a bit harder as the other teams have got better, but we have a job to do to clinch the championship and that is the priority.
“We know the CytoSport Porsche has always been slightly quicker than us there so we don't expect anything different. They still have a 25 kilo advantage over us so that means they will be even faster. But we know what we're up against and will try and maximize what we can.