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Highcroft, Honda End Le Mans Bid

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Monday, May 16 2011

Honda and Highcroft a no-go for Le Mans.

On the heels of a runner-up finish at the Mobile 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring with its new ARX-01e, Highcroft Racing will not contest the Le Mans 24-hour this year. The team’s five-year relationship with Honda has ended due to the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan and the budget shortfall cannot be overcome.

“We have had an amazing relationship with all the associates at Honda, Acura, Honda Performance Development and Wirth Research over the past five years and it is with deep regret that our amazing run has come to an end,” said Duncan Dayton, owner of Highcroft Racing.

Dayton acknowledged the problems faced in Japan created the difficult decision for for Honda and his team to go their separate ways. “We fully respect and understand their position,” he said.

“Everyone was really looking forward to taking the ARX-01e to Le Mans – we really believed the car could have been extremely competitive,” continued Dayton. “Le Mans is one of the greatest races in the world, but it requires significant financial and physical resources to compete at the highest levels. Whatever we do, we want to be able to do it properly and it just isn’t viable at this time without proper backing.

“I am deeply disappointed for our team at Highcroft Racing who were really looking forward to the race and for David Brabham and Marino Franchitti, who are left without a ride at Le Mans at a very late stage.”

Dayton said the team will pursue new manufacturer relationships with a focus on continuing in the American Le Mans Series, where Highcroft won the championship in 2009 and 2010 with Acura prototypes designed by Nick Werth and powered by Honda. Daytona said he’s also focused on IndyCar as well as the Le Mans 24-hour in the future.

“The team is now in a position to start with a clean slate and work towards our next championship assault with new partners,” said Dayton.

Highcroft scored 11 race wins for Honda, nine pole positions and 28 podium finishes in 42 races, including a second-place finish at Sebring, ahead of the factory entries of Peugeot Sport and Audi Sport.

– Jonathan Ingram can be reached a jingram@racintoday.com

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Monday, May 16 2011
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