The racing is over and what a year it has been. But before I talk about 2008, let's go through what happened at Laguna.

As we had no chance to win the LMP2 championship, we were all out to win the last round of what has been an amazing season of racing. The goals I set in my mind were a pole, a fastest lap and a win.

So qualifying was going to be the first target and at the beginning of practice on the Friday it was not looking great. We were off the pace a bit and we had some work to do.

Following a good look at the data and a few meetings with the engineers though, we came up with a new set-up. As we got closer to qualifying it was looking better, but with so many red flags in the sessions, it was difficult to gauge what the real pace would be.

I did my normal mental preparation before and did a lap in my head and got ready to go. We waited for some of the cars to go out first, as I was concerned that the GT cars had put dirt onto the track in their qualifying session. We then saw a gap in the traffic and went out to do the time.

The car felt in good shape and so I pushed as hard as I could. Robin on the team said that the fastest time was a 1m 10.6s, which was the fastest time of the week. I pulled out a good one and did a 1m 10.1s - good enough for pole and then a red flag came out.

When I came in we were 0.4s up on the field, which is a lot there, so we were pleased with that. I went out again, as everyone else did, but no one beat it and we got our third overall pole of the year - a fantastic effort by the team especially after the last race. The team really showed character.

I did get some satisfaction beating my mate Gil and Tony Kanaan in the AGR car. The Fernandez car was also very quick and Luis Diaz came very close to beating my time at the end of the session. So an all Acura front row was fantastic and all four Acura's were in the top five. Great stuff.

I started the race and was looking forward to a long successful one, but it didn't turn out that way.

I got a good start and lead into the first corner. Just as I was about to turn into the hairpin, to my surprise Gil was on the outside of me trying to go around. I thought he was brave as the tyres were cold and it really tricky at Laguna on cold tyres. He didn't pull it off though and so we led the first few laps. The car was in great shape and I thought if it stays like this, then we can do really well.

Anyway, the first of something like 12 yellows safety car periods came - must be a record! - and on the re-start, Gil was much quicker than I was on cold tyres. As my tyre pressures dropped too low, so I was struggling for grip and he got into the lead. It was not a problem however, as I thought we could get him back in the next pit stop.

The problem for us on these yellows is if we have an Audi behind us, then they just blow past us on the straights and it then becomes difficult to beat them. After the fourth yellow I came into the pits to change over to Scott for his double stint as I was going to finish the race. We dropped down the order as some teams didn't pit, but the pressures were adjusted and we still had a long time to go.

Scott was going well and moving up the order and then under another yellow the power steering failed and he nearly had an accident. Not the best thing to happen while you are driving. He tried to keep going without it but it was too dangerous to continue. He pitted to get it fixed. The team found the problem and it was sorted, but we lost six laps and our race was toast.

I jumped in and drove to the end of the race. I did get second fastest lap in the race, but we couldn't help Acura win the Manufactures championship, as we needed three Acura's in the top three. The AGR and De Ferran team finished first and second in class, but the Fernandez car was really fast had a problem as well, so Porsche was really strong and they ended up winning the championship by one point.

At the end of the night of the race some of the Penske team members came into the Patron hospitality tent with some Dyson guys and we partied all night long. It was really cool to have them in there and it just showed how special this series really is.

So the season was over and it was off to the awards night to celebrate the year, which I have to say, was the best ever. This year the racing was mega and I don't think I have ever passed so many cars in one season.

The first award was from Motors TV and it was for the Europeans fans favourite driver. When they announced my name as the winner I was in a small state of shock. I went up to collect the trophy and then thanked Motors TV and the fans that voted for me. I was stumbling for words. So again, I am very honoured to have been chosen and thank-you for voting for me.

Then the next award was the ALMS most favourite driver and I was sure that someone else would get this, so when my name was announced again it blew me away. There are so many great drivers who did so well this year, so to be chosen again was... well I was lost for words.

Again, I was deeply touched not only by the fans voting for me but also the reception I got in the room, so thank-you.

Later on Scott and I went up to collect our second place trophies and I am sure that when I spoke I didn't mention all the people I should of, so I will now!

My deepest thanks go to:

- To my family, who have put up with me and supported me;
- Duncan Dayton for all his amazing energy, vision and dedication to winning, and putting a fantastic team together;
- Bryan MacDonald, who has helped shaped the company with his tireless energy;
- Scott Sharp, my team-mate for being a great driver and friend;
- Danny Sullivan, who helped put this team together with Duncan;
- Ed Brown and all at Patron, for making this year so special - there is no doubt we have the coolest sponsor in the paddock;
- Takata, Forbes and all the sponsors, who have supported the team;
- Kimberly, Stef, Shelly, Elesia, Kirsten and Emma for being them;
- Robin Hill and the guys on the team, who have just been amazing all year - to see this team become a winning outfit in such a short period is just so cool;
- Jordan and the guys in engineering, who were spot on all year;
- Eric Berkman and all at HPD, who gave us the engines to really push Porsche all the way. Also to Robert Clarke for his vision at the beginning of the Acura Sports Car programme;
- John Mendel and Acura for their support throughout the last two years - they are a fantastic company to work for;
- All at Wirth Research, who went beyond the call of duty in making the Acura car fast and reliable;
- TE and TB for always being there to make sure we said all the right things;
- Michelin for giving us the best tyres in racing;
- Adrian, Erin, Katie and the rest of girls who looked after us in the Patron tent. We are the envy of the paddock with some many hot looking girls in our team;
- IMSA, Scott, Don and the team for putting a great series together;
- Also the competitors in the ALMS who raced hard all year and showed the world why this championship is the envy of many racing series;
- Finally - the fans that supported the team - and the ALMS series.

So a great year for the Patron Highcroft Racing team with four wins, three poles and second in the drivers' and team championship.

Now we look forward to getting the LMP1 Acura for our first test and preparing for the 2009 season.


PS. Another little quote:

'What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what is within us'. - Ralph Waldo Emerson.



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