American Le Mans Series champion team Highcroft is still hopeful of being part of HPD's new LMP1 program, but team boss Duncan Dayton says nothing is currently finalized for the squad's 2011 campaign.
Highcroft won the ALMS LMP1 title in 2009 and the temporarily combined prototype category last year, both with Acura/HPD machinery. It has continued to work with Honda and has conducted several tests of the new HPD LMP2 engine.
At the AUTOSPORT International motorsports show last week Highcroft's lead driver David Brabham said he was looking at other opportunities for 2011, as although his preference was to stay with Highcroft, he knew that the team did not have a firm program in place. Dayton confirmed that this was the case, but said he was eager to hang on to 2010 drivers Brabham, Simon Pagenaud and Marino Franchitti, and to be part of HPD's return to LMP1, especially as his squad has a Le Mans 24 Hours entry already secured.
"We are very excited about the new LMP1 car that HPD have the team at Wirth Research working on," Dayton said. "We're still waiting on final word regarding the program, but it is certainly our desire to defend our championship crown with an LMP1 entry with David Brabham, Simon Pagenaud and Marino Franchitti as part of our driving squad.
"We are also very keen to return to Le Mans. We earned automatic entries with our championship win and class victory at Petit Le Mans and I know HPD would be very eager to take the new ARX-01e to France.
"The ACO are working hard on improving the balance between the diesel-powered machines and gasoline cars like the HPD – that makes the Le Mans opportunity even more appealing."
Pagenaud and Franchitti are currently working on Highcroft's HPD LMP2 testing program at the MSR Houston road course in Texas.