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.

Pagenaud took the car to the front towards the end of his initial run in the car early in the race, charging into the race lead despite triple-stinting his Michelin tyres, and the Highcroft squad led 16 laps throughout the race and, from lap 116 through to the race finish at lap 332, remained in the top three.

The team also enjoyed perfect strategy, switching to a fuel conservation mode to complete one less pit-stop than the winner and the third-placed factory Peugeot.

While Highcroft may not have been able to take the overall win, the impressive fuel consumption performances of the petrol-powered 3.4-litre V8 earned the team the Michelin Green X Challenge trophy, which rewards competitors who succeed in consuming the least fuel while, at the same time, optimising performance.

The Sebring performance was the best finish at the famous Florida venue for Pagenaud, Brabham and Franchitti and follows a similar effort at last year's Petit Le Mans where the trio won the LMP2 class.

Considering the car was designed specifically for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the performance at the opening round of the ALMS and Intercontinental Le Mans Cup was impressive.

However, the results of Highcroft's efforts were not were not just on the race track. The team also raised more than $15,000 for its Japanese Earthquake appeal. Race fans can continue to contribute at http://www.highcroftracing.com/help-japan.

"I am enormously proud of the whole effort of everybody on the team - Honda Performance Development, Wirth Research, Michelin and everyone at Highcroft Racing," team owner Dayton concluded, "Without everyone pulling long hours and doing whatever they needed to do to get the job done, we wouldn't be here. For the first time running the car, it is pretty pleasing.

"The performance of the car, how flawlessly it ran and how superbly the drivers drove, it is just amazing. There isn't a mark on the car, we never took the engine cover off, and it is just a testament to what a powerful partnership this is.

"Without Michelin's great support and the fantastic tyres they provided throughout the race, we couldn't have performed as well as we did.

"Of course, we are all ecstatic but we're a little bit greedy, we wish we'd been one position better. Somebody made a joke at the end how it was great that we invited 55 other cars to come our test, which made for a great race."



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