Reigning American Le Mans Series champion team Highcroft Racing says it is close to committing to a title defense, after announcing that it will definitely contest the Sebring 12 Hours and Le Mans 24 Hours with the latest LMP1 HPD.
Highcroft's plans for 2011 had been uncertain over the winter, with lead driver David Brabham admitting he was keeping his options open in case Duncan Dayton's squad was unable to put a program together for the season. But yesterday the team's place in the Le Mans 24 Hours entry with the new HPD was confirmed, and Highcroft is also set to give the car its debut at Sebring.
Dayton said the team's intention was to defend its ALMS crown, having won the LMP1 title in 2009 before taking the combined prototype category last year – both with HPD.
"I am very much looking forward to returning to ALMS competition and aiming for our third championship in a row," he said. "We have been working very hard with our existing marketing and technical partners and potential new sponsors.
"David Brabham, Simon Pagenaud and Marino Franchitti combined to form the perfect driver lineup last year and we're looking forward to having them back in the car. We will be announcing the final details of our campaign in the next couple of weeks."
The team boss added that he was delighted that Highcroft would be back in the top prototype class, having used a variant of the LMP2 HPD when the ALMS temporarily amalgamated LMP1 and LMP2 for 2010.
"The team has been very busy in the off-season helping HPD develop its new engine for the LMP2 class, but we are eagerly awaiting the chance to return to LMP1," Dayton said. "The 01e has been designed with the unique aerodynamic requirements of Le Mans in mind and Sebring will be a great opportunity for us to begin the on-track development process."