Pagenaud Jumps To Highcroft
By Jonathan Ingram | Senior Writer
Simon Pagenaud, the brilliant young French sports car driver, has joined Patron Highcroft Racing as co-driver to David Brabham in the team’s Acura ARX-01c for 2010.
Pagenaud, 25, won three poles, five races and set six fastest race laps during this year’s 10-race American Le Mans Series season with the Acura team of de Ferran Motorsports. He also won the pole and co-drove to victory in a factory Peugeot 908 HDI at Spa in a Le Mans Series event.
“The last two years in the American Le Mans Series have
been very important for my career,” said Pagenaud, the Atlantic Series champion in 2006.
“When I made the decision to move to the U.S. it was to focus on
open wheel racing, but then an opportunity opened up for me in ALMS with Gil de Ferran and now to continue on racing here in the States with Patron Highcroft Racing is great. I am really looking forward to next year.”
The de Ferran team, launched in 2008, was a factory entry expressly funded by Honda Performance Development. Pagenaud
is considered to be continuing his role as a contract driver for HPD.
Highcroft will field the recently updated Acura chassis, derived from the ARX-01b, in conjunction with HPD. Under the rules to be confirmed by IMSA, which sanctions the ALMS, the team will run for the championship in the newly combined prototype category that includes the larger LMP1 chassis and the lighter LMP2 cars.
“I am looking forward to the updates on the ARX-01c for the 2010 season to make it even more competitive than it already is,” said Pagenaud. “The combined prototype class concept is very interesting. The regulations on equivalency for prototypes will be key and very important in providing good racing.”
Brabham and Pagenaud had some spirited duels last year aboard their respective Acura ARX-02a chassis in the battle for the LMP1 championship.
“Simon comes in as one of the quickest and best sportscar drivers out there,” said Brabham, who co-drove to the LMP1 title for Highcroft with Scott Sharp. “I think the two of us should be as quick as any of the combinations in the American Le Mans Series next year. Having somebody like Simon come aboard provides added motivation for me because he is a very fast driver and I think we are going to push each other very hard to squeeze more speed out of the ARX-01c.
“I don’t want Simon to come in and be faster than me and he doesn’t want to be joining his new team and be slower than his teammate either,” continued Brabham. “We’re both very team focused but our combination together should certainly push us forward.”
– Jonathan Ingram can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.orgOne Comment