David Brabham has congratulated the entire Highcroft Racing team after it pulled off an amazing giant-killing performance in the Mobil1 12 Hours of Sebring.
Duncan Dayton's squad charged to an unlikely second place with its new Honda Performance Development ARX-01e, beating the previously dominant factory entries from Audi and Peugeot. More remarkably, the team achieved its result with a car only seven days old, and with a mere five days on track under its belt.
While contact and incidents delayed many including the powerful diesel factory teams, Brabham and co-drivers Simon Pagenaud and Marino Franchitti kept the petrol-powered HPD entry in contention throughout the day, with the Highcroft mechanics completing twelve hours of perfect pit-stops to complement superbly clean stints from all three drivers. Despite frantic traffic through the 56-car field, the #01 Michelin Pilot Super Sport-branded Highcroft entry completed the race without any contact whatsoever.
At the chequered flag, the ARX-01e finished just 31.868secs behind the race winning Team Oreca Peugeot, marking itself out as a legitimate contender in the LMP1 class for 2011.
“The first thing you have to realise is the monumental effort to even get the car on the grid," Brabham commented, "It was only about a month ago that we got the go ahead to enter for Sebring.
“The car was built, sent to Florida, we ran it for the first time last Saturday with a systems check and then got stuck into testing on Monday.
“It was not really the ideal preparation for one of the biggest sportscar races in the world but, when you think about the result we picked up today, it is absolutely stunning.
“The Highcroft team really blew us all away this week. At the beginning of the week, if you had offered us a podium finish, we would have grabbed it with open arms, but the car ran faultlessly, and Simon and Marino were phenomenal as well.
“It has really been a fantastic day.”
Franchitti had been able to pass the Oreca car during his stint, but the privateer French squad also enjoyed a similarly perfect race with its previous generation Peugeot – a car with five years development.