Petit Le Mans: Acuras Practice Report

by : Evander Klum

Acura is seriously preparing for the much-anticipated 10th anniversary of 10-hour Petit Le Mans sports car classic which is happening today. So far, how far have they gone?

In an extensive practice yesterday, all three Highcroft drivers spent a significant time on the track and got a good taste of what to expect at today's 1,000-mile challenge. Though the first session went smoothly, with Highcroft running in the top six, during the afternoon session, Acura ran into some grip issues, which slowed lap times considerably, reported Highcroft Racing.

In the evening during the third session took place in the evening, the team and car rallied and moved back up to sixth at the beginning of the session and dived further to 12th.

Robbie Kerr, who is driving at Road Atlanta for the first time, said that his time on the track today was "spent getting used to the feel of the car." He was also concentrating on the flow of traffic and "learning where you can and can't overtake the other cars." Said Kerr, "It's always frustrating as a driver because, of course, you want to go faster, but the traffic here plays a huge role in determining that. It will be interesting during the race to see who is going to last because chances are someone will get it slightly wrong and have an off day due to the sheer number of cars out there."

David Brabham, who ran this morning and evening, said of the Acura ARX-01a,"After yesterday's test, we were struggling a bit for grip. We found a bit more today, but we definitely have more work to do. It's very difficult to get a clear lap around here because of the quantity of cars. You just want a clear lap to get a reasonable run, but that's what it's going to be like during the race. At the moment, we're trying to get the best possible speed for the race and focusing on consistency and efficiency. We're not the quickest out there right now but we know that when it comes to the race we'll have a strong package."

"All three of us wanted to get our required three dark laps in plus a few more just to get a feel for the car because we had had some issues in earlier practices. It looks like we've got the car working normally again after some problems we encountered in the past two days. We're in good shape to have a strong car for qualifying tomorrow," said Stefan Johansson, the final driver in tonight's session.

How rigid was the practice? Well, it is very challenging to the and other race parts. On Thursday, three separate practices were conducted with over 30 machines dicing through the north Georgia hills through which the Road Atlanta facility is woven. Morning, afternoon and evening practice sessions kept the drivers and crews busy attempting to find the fast line on the new racing pavement, Acura Motosports reported. Three Acura prototype teams, Andretti Green Racing, Lowe's Fernandez Racing and Highcroft Racing, comprise the lineup for the automaker's debut at the Petit Le Mans.

"The Acura has been very reliable all season. We have a good driver lineup and a very good crew. We have had our ups and downs this year as it has been a learning year for the Acura and AGR in sports car racing. Porsche has been racing in this form for decades. This is the debut year for Acura, HPD and AGR. We think we have a good car for Road Atlanta," noted Bryan Herta, #26 XM Satellite AGR Acura ARX-01a.