We are now into February and the season has already started with a lot of testing in preparation for the coming season and announcements relating to various teams, drivers and series.

The Patron Highcroft Racing Team took delivery of the new Acura P1 car before Christmas and we managed to get a test at Sebring just before the holidays. Like all new cars, the test was just a systems check as this P1 is very different car under the skin.

As you now know, the car has four rear wheels on it and I am not sure if this has ever been done before. It has a small V8 in the back, so the car has been designed to maximise packaging and aerodynamics. The car was on full display at the IMSA 'Wheels Down' test - interesting name - for all to see. It's not often you get an open invitation to look inside a new car so soon and the journalists had a field day....!

The first thing for the team to do is to establish reliability. Our first race is the 12 Hours of Sebring and our goal is to finish - and finish well. I think we are a little bit up against it as this such a new concept, and it will take time to make it 100 per cent bullet proof, but everyone is working so hard to be in the best possible shape for a great start to the season.

Scott Sharp and I continue to drive together and I am looking forward to developing this relationship even further. He's a great guy and he got a bit of stick last year, but I think he will have a strong year as he now has more feel for sportscars and has settled into the team nicely.

With the financial times becoming difficult, and Honda pulling out of F1, we were all concerned with what would happen to our programme. It was a tense time over the Christmas period but I think the fact that we were the most successful racing programme under the Honda name meant that we stood a good chance of surviving. It would have been easier if our results were bad, just like the F1 team, but we had a great year.

The way we do things has changed now, and we live in a much different world than last year. Despite this, Acura and Honda decided not to pull the plug and Duncan Dayton, my team boss, together with Tequila Patron are totally committed. How long the programme lasts, who knows, but the focus now is on winning this year, and looking at ways to survive in the future.

Peugeot and Le Mans

Well, the news is out that I will be driving for Peugeot at the Spa 1000km LMS race and in the Le Mans 24 Hours. This is just amazing and I am still not sure if it is all happening to me, as I find myself in a unique situation of driving for two manufacturers in the same year - and racing against one of them at Sebring.

None of this would have happened if I didn't have great support from Duncan, Erik Berkman from HPD and John Mendel from Acura. They had to give the okay for me to do the Peugeot deal and they were quick to say yes.

After that, it was off to Barcelona for the first test and a chance to meet the team and drive the car. The test went really well and the team made me feel very welcome. The car was good to drive and the Peugeot diesel power was very impressive.

Now I can't wait for the year's racing to begin and, even if it looks like it will be a busy year, it also looks like it will be a mega one too.

DB

 

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