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Franchitti coming to Road Atlanta to race in Petit Le Mans
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Another of motorsports’ marquee drivers is set to compete in the Petit Le Mans powered by the Totally New MAZDA6. Former Indianapolis 500 and IndyCar champion Dario Franchitti joins the lineup for Patrón Highcroft Racing.

Franchitti will return to the cockpit of an Acura LMP2 for the American Le Mans Series’ cornerstone event at Road Atlanta.

He will drive with David Brabham and Scott Sharp in Patrón Highcroft’s Acura ARX-01b, an entry that has won four times this year in class with an overall victory at Lime Rock.

"I’m really excited to be joining Patrón Highcroft Racing for Petit Le Mans," said Franchitti, who was part of Acura’s debut LMP2 victory at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in 2007.

"I’ve been very impressed with David, Scott and the whole team this year so when Duncan approached me it was easy to say yes.

"To be back in the Acura and to race in such a competitive field, which includes my brother Marino and my new (Target Chip Ganassi) teammate Scott Dixon will be great!"

Franchitti is the latest big-name addition to the roster for Petit Le Mans.

Franchitti and de Ferran Motorsports’ duo of owner Gil de Ferran and Dixon each have claimed the Indy 500 as well as championships in CART or IndyCar.

Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves and 2004 IndyCar winner Tony Kanaan are entered in the race as well, and Sharp was the 1996 IndyCar co-champion.

"We’re really excited about the opportunity to have Dario in the Patrón Highcroft Racing Acura for Petit Le Mans," said Patrón Highcroft team principal Duncan Dayton.

"Clearly he’s quick and to have last year’s IRL Champion and Indy 500 winner on our team to partner with Scott and David is fantastic. It’s a true testament to how far we’ve come as a team to be able to attract the kind of world-class drivers that we have."

Franchitti made his Series debut last year at Sebring with Tony Kanaan and Bryan Herta for Acura and Andretti Green Racing. Franchitti also won the overall pole last year at Long Beach.

"It’s great to have Dario joining our effort for Petit Le Mans," said Sharp.

"He’s been quick in just about everything he has driven. Additionally, he drove the Acura last year at Sebring and won, so he is familiar with the car. It should be great! I think we have quite a lineup for Patrón Highcroft Racing."

"When I heard the news that Dario was joining us, I thought it was perfect timing for both the Patrón Highcroft Racing team and for Dario," said Brabham, who also won at Le Mans this year.

Petit Le Mans powered by the Totally New Mazda6 is the 10th round of the 2008 American Le Mans Series. The 1,000-mile/10-hour race is scheduled for 11:15 a.m. Oct. 4 at Road Atlanta in Braselton. SPEED will televise the race live with XM Satellite Radio airing live race coverage throughout the day on Channel 166.

Live coverage from American Le Mans Radio will be available at americanlemans.com, which also will feature IMSA’s Live Timing & Scoring.

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