Acura On Target In Long Beach Practice
Long Beach, Calif. – Opening practice for Saturday afternoon’s Tequila Patron American Le Mans Series race was an all-Acura affair, with two LMP1 Acuras and an LMP2 Acura rounding out the top three on the 1.96-mile, 11-turn Long Beach Grand Prix street circuit.
Fresh off an impressive 1-2 finish two weeks ago at St. Petersburg, Fla., winner David Brabham posted the top time Thursday of 1 minute, 14.226 seconds in the No. 9 Patrón Highcroft Acura ARX-02a Prototype.Brabham and Scott Sharp, current point leaders in the LMP1 division, were second-best in the opening hour before recording the top overall time.
“The track was very slippery in the early stages of practice today,” Brabham said. “But we found a good direction with the Acura’s setup in the second round. This place is always [a] tough [place] to pass. But we found the spots to get by last year and we’ll find them again in Saturday’s race.”
ALMS qualifying is scheduled for 3:55 p.m. (PDT) Friday.
The opening session also saw Mexican star Luiz Diaz, who posted consecutive LMP2 wins at Sebring and St. Pete, trail Brabham at 1:15.450 in the No. 15 Lowe’s Fernandez Acura Acura ARX-01b.
“We had a little electrical glitch in the first practice, but the car is really handling well,” Diaz said. “I was pleased with the team’s setup. Adrian was fast in the second practice, too. So I think we have a great shot at another win.”
Frenchman Simon Pagenaud was quickest during the opening one-hour practice in the No. 66 de Ferran XM Radio Acura ARX-02a at 1:15.801, good for third overall. Pagenaud, teaming with former Indy 500 champion Gil de Ferran, has returned to Long Beach for the first time since 2007 when he drove a Champ Car. Owner/driver De Ferran is back following an eight-year layoff.