Just five days after their car hit the track for the first time Marino Franchitti, David Brabham and Simon Pagenaud stood on the second step of the podium with a near faultless 12 Hours of Sebring behind them
The HPD ARX-01e – a development of the championship winning LMP2 design – only ran for the first time in the unofficial tests sessions in the week for the race and despite being designed specifically for the low-drag requirements of Le Mans seemed equally at home on the bumpy runways of Sebring International Raceway.
said Brabham. “At the beginning of the week if you had offered us a podium finish we would have grabbed it with open arms.”
While some of the team's result is owed to incidents early in the race that delayed many of the works diesels that had the ability to dominate the race, just is much is owed to the performance of the Highcroft Racing team and the three drivers.
The team ensured trouble free pitstops throughout the 12 Hours, while the drivers did their best to stay out of the pits, avoiding contact on a track packed with 56 cars.
Running in the top three – the team led a total of 16 laps – the Michelin Pilot Super Sport branded car was able to match the pace of the diesels. However, Duncan Dayton's team had to settle of second behind the 908 HDI FAP – a car with five years of development behind it in contrast to Highcroft's charge – of Team Oreca Matmut.
The result was still the best Sebring result for the drivers, who also won the Green X Challenge among the prototype classes.
“I am enormously proud of the whole effort of everybody on the team – Honda Performance Development, Wirth Research, Michelin and everyone at Highcroft Racing,” said Dayton. “There isn't a mark on the car, we never took the engine cover off, it is just a testament to what a powerful partnership this is.”
“Somebody made a joke at the end how it was great that we invited 55 other cars to come our test which made for a great race.”