Gil de Ferran believes his LMP1 Acura team can take the fight to the Audi and Peugeot diesels when the European teams return to the American Le Mans Series for next weekend's Petit Le Mans.
Scott Dixon put de Ferran's Acura on pole for the Sebring 12 Hours – the only time all three cars have previously met – but Audi and Peugeot quickly took charge of the race, with the former winning and both LMP1 Acuras hitting trouble.
But de Ferran says Acura has taken great strides since then and will have a better shot at staying with the diesel teams at Road Atlanta.
"I'm very excited that we have a deeper field to compete against," he said. "While the current rules do still favor the diesels, we will do our best to give them a run for their money.
"We managed to qualify on pole at Sebring and stay on the lead lap until encountering some new car issues that eventually led to our retirement. Since then we have evolved the Acura. It's still such a new concept but now we understand how to get more performance out of it."
His teammate Simon Pagenaud agreed, and also reckons the Acura will prove better sorted to the Road Atlanta track.
"We are definitely stronger than we were at Sebring," said the Frenchman. "We are better prepared and have more understanding of how to tackle a long race with this car. Their diesel cars have been developed mainly for Le Mans, so they will be quick on the straights but our Acura handles really well and will be strong on the twistier sections of the track. It's going to be a fascinating battle and interesting to see who comes out on top."
The De Ferran duo go into the Petit Le Mans 17 points behind their ALMS title rivals David Brabham and Scott Sharp of Highcroft Racing. The two Acura teams have been the only competitive LMP1 entries for the majority of the season and have won every race since Sebring between them.