ALMS, LM24: Highcroft severs HPD ties, withdraws Le Mans entry.

Highcroft Racing's ARX-01e during the 2011 Sebring 12 Hour. - Image courtesy Highcroft Racing.

Highcroft Racing's ARX-01e during the 2011 Sebring 12 Hour. - Image courtesy Highcroft Racing.

After a rocky start to its 2011 campaign, US team Highcroft Racing today confirmed the news many sportscar racing fans had been fearing.

Following five, highly successful years at the forefront of the North American sportscar racing scene, the squad today concluded the final chapter in its HPD-backed history.

Earlier today the team’s PR officials confirmed details of the Danbury-Connecticut-based outfit’s severing of ties with long-time technical partner, HPD.

News of the team’s Le Mans 2011 entry withdrawal were also confirmed shortly after.

Despite a Goliath-beating, highlight performance at the Sebring 12 Hour event earlier this year, along with intentions for a return to Le Mans with the revised ARX-01e, many had anticipated the possibility of Highcroft returning to the ALMS would be, following the outfit’s well-known pre-season struggles, all but a distant possibility.

Highcroft campaigning Acura's radical ARX-02e design at the 2009 Sebring 12 Hour. - Image courtesy Doug Werner/SpeedTV.com

Highcroft campaigning Wirth's radical ARX-02e design at the 2009 Sebring 12 Hour. - Image courtesy Doug Werner/SpeedTV.com

Selected as a satellite-team during the original Acura LMP program’s infancy, the Duncan Dayton-led outfit excelled. Often competing toe-to-toe with rival factory-backed teams of Penske, and Audi, in addition to its Acura-backed sister teams, during what many considered to be the glory years of modern prototype racing in North America.

As long-time HPD-stalwarts, Highcroft Racing remained the only US-based team campaigning an HPD chassis following the demise of De Ferran Motorsports at the close of the 2009 ALMS season.

During this period the team achieved a total of eleven race wins, nine pole positions, and 28 podium finishes, along with two consecutive championships (2009/2010). The squad’s HPD-backed efforts ultimately culminating through a highly-deserved second-placed finish at this year’s Sebring 12 Hour.

Although Highcroft’s future remains unclear, team members, and fans remain hopeful for a possible return.

The team is currently evaluating opportunities for potential future programs, and actively seeking new manufacturer partnerships.

Team owner, Duncan Dayton released the following statement:

“I am deeply disappointed for our team at Highcroft Racing who were really looking forward to the race and for David and Marino 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.”

“For our future, we need to take the next step in the development of our team. The team is now in a position to start with a clean slate and work towards our next championship assault with new partners.”

Advertisements

Wirth Confirms LMP1 For 2012; HPD Contract Renewed.

 

Highcroft Racing's Wirth Research-designed ARX01c during the 2010 Petit Le Mans.

Highcroft Racing's Wirth Research-designed ARX01c during the 2010 Petit Le Mans.

Having rounded out successful seasons on both sides of Atlantic with it’s HPD-branded ARX-01c chassis, Wirth Research has revealed the company’s future plans and details of the renewed partnership many endurance fans had been hoping for.

In a recent announcement Wirth Research founder, Nick Wirth revealed the firm’s desire to further build on it’s endurance successes, unveiling plans to update the highly popular ARX-o1 LMP2 design to the now ‘d’ spec phase (i.e. ARX-01d) of it’s development life.

The announcement arrives shortly after British squad, Strakka Racing confirmed their intentions for continued use of the chassis (coupled with HPD’s new 2.8L Twin-Turbo V6 powerplant) throughout the 2011 season within the LMP2 category.

Wirth also provided details of a renewed multi-year partnership with HPD, and immediately announced the firm’s intention to enter the LMP1 category under the HPD banner with a coupe design as of 2012. Further details regarding the package and programme are not yet known.

Additionally, Wirth Research will also provide a further iteration of the ARX01 chassis bearing the designation ARX-01e, updating the chassis to 2011 LMP1 specifications. The chassis is rumoured to be destined for the garage of an as yet unconfirmed US team.

Reigning ALMS LMP champions and long-time HPD stalwarts, Highcroft Racing have, as yet not confirmed the details of their 2011 programme.