Highcroft Racing on Monday announced that it has withdrawn from the 24 Hours of Le Mans and has parted ways with manufacturer partner Honda after five successful seasons in the American Le Mans Series.
Honda chose Connecticut-based Highcroft to run its Acura-branded cars when the Japanese automaker made its ALMS debut in 2007. The partnership went on to win the ALMS championship in 2009 and 2010. Highcroft and Honda captured a total of 11 wins, nine pole positions and 28 podium finishes in 42 races.
However, because of the situation in Japan brought about by the recent earthquake and tsunami, Honda is apparently unable to provide Highcroft Racing with adequate financial support to continue. As a result, Highcroft, which was already without a major sponsor after losing Tequila Patrón during the off-season, was forced to withdraw from next month’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.
“We have had an amazing relationship with all the associates at Honda–Acura, Honda Performance Development and Wirth Research [which designed the car]–over the past five years, and it is with deep regret that our amazing run has come to an end,” said Highcroft owner Duncan Dayton. “We certainly appreciate the massive impact the earthquake and tsunami has had on the people of Japan and the huge challenges facing Japanese business. It appears this may have contributed to Honda’s decision, and we fully respect and understand their position.”
Dayton also commented on the team’s decision to withdraw from Le Mans.
“Le Mans is one of the greatest races in the world, but it requires significant financial and physical resources to compete at the highest levels,” he said. “Whatever we do, we want to be able to do it properly, and it just isn’t viable at this time without proper backing.”
Highcroft Racing is seeking partnerships with new manufacturers and plans to be back on the track as soon as possible.
“For our future, we need to take the next step in the development of our team,” Dayton said. “The team is now in a position to start with a clean slate and work towards our next championship assault with new partners. We still have very big goals and ambitions–including additional victories in the ALMS, as well as Le Mans and IndyCar.”
Read more: http://www.autoweek.com/article/20110516/ALMS/110519872#ixzz1MddwcWUz