The American Le Mans Series season got off to a flying start for Highcroft Racing in the 12 Hours of Sebring last month, the new ARX-01e car setting the bar in the LMP1 category with second overall.

It was a fantastic result, probably more than we could have hoped for, because the programme was so late coming together. We got the car the Saturday before the race - that was the first time it turned a wheel and we just did a systems check shakedown. Then, on the Monday, we started testing and the car was fast straightaway.

We had very few problems with the car during the week and when it came to the race it ran faultlessly. The Highcroft team worked the strategy right as we obviously weren't as fast as Audi or Peugeot. We weren't that far behind but, with our strategy, we were able to stay on the lead lap all the way to the end.

We came away with a second place which, considering how late the programme was in coming together, was quite a stunning result.

I think it demonstrates that it takes time to get an organisation to this level. We are now in our fifth year of the programme and that's why we're able to just take second with a car that came straight out of the box.

To be able to build a car like that and put everything together, from an engine point of view, from a chassis point of view - which obviously Wirth Research were involved with - the development of the Michelin tyres, all our partners working together so well with Highcroft. It really does show how far the team has come.

It was a very strong LMP1 field at Sebring. The fact that we managed to beat the two works teams, Peugeot and Audi, speaks volumes, alongside some of the privateers and one of them won the race.

The Oreca Peugeot did a fantastic job, but to finish just 30 seconds behind them and in front of the works Peugeot was amazing. We had a couple of chances at taking the win. For that, we needed a yellow not to happen towards the end of the race, but it wasn't to be.

Regardless, we were really pleased with second place. It felt like a bit of a win for us and a result like this will certainly help improve the programme and enhance the chances of the HPD ARX-01e appearing at more races throughout the year.

DB

 

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