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May162011

HIGHCROFT RACING – THANKS AND FAREWELL TO HONDA

After a highly successful five seasons as partners, Highcroft Racing and Honda have concluded their relationship – the combination’s giant-killing performance at the 12 Hours of Sebring earlier this year was the final curtain for the partnership. 

Highcroft was selected as one of the initial factory Acura teams for the brand’s debut in the American Le Mans Series in 2007.

Throughout the partnership, Highcroft established itself as not only the highest ALMS point-scoring team out of four factory outfits, but also collected back-to-back ALMS championships in 2009 and 2010.

The team also won the 2010 Michelin Green X Challenge Championship for optimizing overall on-track performance, while using the least amount of fuel.

Highcroft scored 11 race wins for Honda, nine pole positions and 28 podium finishes from only 42 races, including its gallant second place finish at Sebring, where it defeated both factory Audi and Peugeot entries.

It was the only ALMS team of any class to score a podium finish in every round of the championship in 2010. It’s championship victory last season came in the most competitive year in ALMS history where five different teams and manufacturers took overall victory.

The team had intended to run the HPD ARX-01e at next month’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Unfortunately, given the situation in Japan and its impact on Honda, Highcroft has been obliged to withdraw its entry at Le Mans, due to lack of adequate financial support. 

 “We have had an amazing relationship with all the associatesat 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,” Highcroft Racing owner, Duncan Dayton said.

“We are extremely proud of what we have achieved with our partners. When we were first selected as a factory team, nobody expected we would be able to run with some of the biggest names in racing, that came across from IndyCar racing.

“Not only did we prove that we were competitive, but we became the team the beat. We are equally proud of the great working relationships we built with HPD and Wirth Research developing the cars and turning them into winning machines.”

“We certainly appreciate the massive impact the earthquake and tsunami has had on the people of Japan and the huge challenges facing Japanese business.

“It appears this may have contributed to Honda’s decision and we fully respect and understand their position.

“Everyone was really looking forward to taking the ARX-01e to Le Mans – we really believed the car could have been extremely competitive.

“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.

“Our drivers have been truly incredible in recent years and I know they are as disappointed as we are that the ARX-01e will not be at Le Mans.”

Highcroft completed a number of firsts for Honda in the development of the sportscar program including the first overall race victory, first LMP1 victory, first championship and an amazing effort in 2010 where it took a LMP2 chassis to overall series victory in the combined LMP1/LMP2 class – taking the team’s title, the drivers championship for David Brabham and Simon Pagenaud as well as the manufacturer’s championship for HPD with a single car entry.

Highcroft Racing is actively seeking new manufacturer relationships and is beginning discussions regarding future programs – both in sports cars and other championships.

“For our future, we need to take the next step in the development of our team,” Dayton said.

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

“Our organization was established as a platform for manufacturers to showcase their technology on the world stage through motorsport.

“We still have very big goals and ambitions – including additional victories in the ALMS as well as Le Mans and IndyCar.”

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Reader Comments (24)

That's really sad news. I think I can say that many people, including myself, were looking forward to seeing you guys at Le Mans and potentially giving a couple of the diesels a bit of a headache.

Good luck in the future, and hopefully we'll see you back in the ALMS and at Le Mans soon with new partners.
May 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterVictor
This is very sad news! I think I may be heartbroken!
May 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJulia
I second the above, while I'm personally a GT fan, I love watching the Prototypes and Highcroft has been a hell of a team to watch. Great car, and drivers. We'll miss seeing you on the track, and I hope you return soon!
May 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterD
I am very sad to hear the news. Highcroft has been an amazing plus to ALMS and Le Mans. Great car, great teams, and amazing drivers. I really hope to see you guys next year in ALMS next year with new chassis and engine.
May 16, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterhabibif1
Darn, this is indeed sad news! Keep us posted.
May 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBucket
Thanks for the great memories of Sebring 2011. Rooted for you guys all day. Was counting the "seconds" at the end. Great podium finish. Well done, boys!
May 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Penn
Sad to hear the news. I thank you for the opportunity to work along you and the guys with the in-car camera's. All of the Highcroft Racing Family have been a pleasure to work with and has given me the opportunity to meet a great bunch of friends! Loo foeward to working along side you again in the very near future.
Gary
BSI
May 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGary Boyd
I'm looking forward to the next chapter in the Highcroft Racing story!
May 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMarc
Sad news. Always enjoyed watching the team.
May 17, 2011 | Unregistered Commentertom
This is very sad. Is there no other way to find the backing to supplement what Honda can't provide? It was only because of HPD's involvement that I got in to ALMS several years ago. I became a big fan of Highcroft as well as the series. Now that both HPD and Highcroft are out, the overall entry list is dwindling, and the fact that their broadcast package is absolute rubbish I don't see myself remaining an avid follower.
Best of luck and I hope to see this partnership rekindled when times are better.
May 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJustin
Very saddened to hear this news. I've followed Highcroft since their maiden year in ALMS and thought they were a class act from the time they hit the ground. Feel bad that they had to give up their LM entry, especially for David and Marco. Thanks for the memories. Looking forward for your return, hopefully soon. Best of luck.
May 17, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterpdxracefan
This is a sad day for the amls. This team provided a lot of excitement to the sport and from the owner to the drivers they were top of the class. You guys will be missed but please make it back. Thanks for all the memories and hard work.
May 17, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterdon
Dang it! This was the one car I really wanted to see this year at Le Mans. Best of luck finding new partners. Any chance of Wirth putting the know how from this car on a Courage chassis?
May 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterM.G.
So...turn up the volume on the metronome...on the song. Stay focused on the journey Be here and now. Be the best platform for manufacturers to live up to what they're singing.

Best wishes.
May 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterWever Weed
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May 27, 2011 | Unregistered Commenter------- -------
I am a long time ALMS fan and have been a fan since the beginning of the series. I have been an avid fan of Highcroft since Acura/HPD came in the sport and have pulled for you being a fan of Brabs. Also I am a Honda Tuner so a bit of favoritism there also. My Father, my friends and I go to Sebring and Petit lemans every year and we will miss you but will never forget the show you all put on with a less than a week old car this year. We were looking forward to seeing what the car could do in the 24hr race but it seems it was not to be. Only wish that Honda would have taken this Golden opportunity with a great team, Great Drivers and a competitive car to have a chance that some manufactures will never have that is to finish on the Podium or Win at La Sarthe. Looking forward to the programs in the future hopefully a new Wirth closed top P1 car and a Manufacture that is on the same Goal as Highcroft/Duncan Dayton to win Le Mans 24 hours.
May 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRJCgreenvillesc
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Le Mans requires significant financial and physical resources. I'm sure they'd understand that they are unable to provide financial support because of the situation in Japan brought about by the recent earthquake and tsunami.

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I understand that but less than a year later now Honda is producing the same(updated for the rules) package with Wirth and I would think with Honda's resoures that assisting one team to get to one of the biggest races in the world would have been a drop in the bucket for them. Also with stories going around that they are considering a factory effort for this season also I think the natural events that effected Japan is just an excuse considering that they still raced at Sebring and had the package ready to go for Le Mans so I think that something else happened that caused the cancelation of the entry to the event cause you got to think that HighCroft had to be boxed up and ready to go over there and then the bottem fell out and then the current project just fell in to there lap I guess?
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