After back-to-back American Le Mans Series
titles, and beating the works Audi and Peugeot teams at Sebring earlier this year, David Brabham was looking forward to taking the Highcroft Racing team back into battle at the most prestigious sportscar event of them all next month, but his dream appears to be over - for the time being at least.
Brabham and team-mate Marino Franchitti were due to return to the Highcroft line-up at this year's Le Mans 24 Hours, but have now been told that the team's entry has been withdrawn following the sudden conclusion of a highly-successful five-year partnership with Honda.
The team had intended to run the HPD ARX-01e in next month's 24 Hours but, given the situation in Japan following the recent earthquake and tsunami, and its impact on Honda, Highcroft has been obliged to withdraw its entry at Le Mans, due to lack of adequate financial support.
“We have had an amazing relationship with all the associates at Honda, Acura, Honda Performance Development and Wirth Research over the past five years, and it is with deep regret that our amazing run has come to an end,” team owner Duncan Dayton said.
“We are extremely proud of what we have achieved with our partners. When we were first selected as a factory team, nobody expected we would be able to run with some of the biggest names in racing, that came across from IndyCar
“Not only did we prove that we were competitive, but we became the team the beat. We are equally proud of the great working relationships we built with HPD and Wirth Research developing the cars and turning them into winning machines.”
“We certainly appreciate the massive impact the earthquake and tsunami has had on the people of Japan and the huge challenges facing Japanese business.
“It appears this may have contributed to Honda's decision and we fully respect and understand their position.
“Everyone was really looking forward to taking the ARX-01e to Le Mans – we really believed the car could have been extremely competitive.
“Le Mans is one of the greatest races in the world, but it requires significant financial and physical resources to compete at the highest levels. Whatever we do, we want to be able to do it properly and it just isn't viable at this time without proper backing.