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Acura sure new LMP1 car a success

Honda is confident that its new Acura ARX-02a LMP1 car will be a success, but warned that the machine will need development time before it shows its true potential

The ARX-02a made its debut in yesterday's Sebring test with de Ferran Motorsports and Highcroft Racing, before being officially launched in an evening event.

The new car was quickest in the test, although the Audis, Peugeots and Dyson Lola-Mazdas that are likely to form Acura's main opposition in the Sebring 12 Hours were not present.

John Mendel, the American Honda Motor Company's executive vice president of auto operations, said the firm was delighted to see its LMP1 dreams coming to life.

"We are very excited for the debut of the new Acura ARX-02a sports car," Mendel said. "Less than three years ago, we announced our intention to enter the American Le Mans Series under the Acura brand. We had always planned to compete in the ultimate sportscar category, LMP1. Now, it is a reality.

"We had six class wins and two overall victories last year in LMP2 competition. After those successful performances, we believe we can enjoy further success in the top American Le Mans Series division in the future.

"Our new entries are beautiful, and I am proud of the HPD and Wirth Research designers and engineers who are involved in this project. I want to thank them for their hard work."

Highcroft's David Brabham, who led the Acura charge in LMP2 last year, is certain that the new car will be an LMP1 front-runner.

"I see a lot of potential with the new Acura prototype," Brabham said. "We had a great race car last year in the LMP2 division, and I'm sure that the new car will follow on last year's successful product.

"We're still at the very early stage of development. We want reliability right now, but there will be speed with this new Acura.

"I believe the battle that Acura had with Porsche and Audi last year was some of the greatest racing in the history of sports car competition in North America and we now look forward to challenging Audi and Peugeot for LMP1 honours at the 12 Hours of Sebring in March."

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