‘Photo finish’ fourth at The Six Hours of the Nürburgring
25th July 2016
Strakka Racing misses podium by just 71 thousandths of a second after six hours of racing
Strakka Racing continued its improved run of form in the FIA World Endurance Championship at the Nürburgring, just missing out on a podium by a mere 71 thousandths of a second. A stellar drive from Jonny Kane, coupled with an impressive WEC debut from Lewis Williamson and orchestrated by an inspired strategy from the pitwall, ensured the venerable Gibson 015S was in podium contention right up to the flag, closing a thirty second gap in as many minutes.
In dry and warm conditions, Jonny Kane started third in class with the team’s bold strategy coming into play from the first stop. By taking only fuel on board Kane nosed into the class lead by the first hour.
A scheduled driver change saw Lewis Williamson make his impressive race debut in the championship. Belying the fact this was his first race in sportscars, the 26-year-old was consistently on the pace and managed both the faster and slower traffic with finesse. “It was great to make some overtaking moves and have a proper race again,” says Williamson. “That’s the longest I’ve driven a car in a race for but physically it was fine. I’ve just got to learn more about driving the car, especially how to adapt as fuel levels change and the tyres wear. The car feels very different on full tanks and it caught me out under braking when I was between two GTs, leading to me flat spotting the fronts.” With Williamson concerned about the condition of the tyres, the team took the decision to bring him slightly earlier than planned with a driver change to Nick Leventis. Once again during this stint that the team delivered a strategic gain that brought the race alive at the very end. “Lewis did exactly what we asked him to do,” adds team principal Dan Walmsley. “He showed good pace but also stayed out of trouble, didn’t make mistakes and drove like an accomplished sports car driver. We are all impressed with the job he did all weekend.”
With a Full Course Yellow slowing all cars on track, the team brought Nick in for an early fuel fill, with just over two hours forty minutes to go. This strategy coupled with good tyre management by the drivers set up the dramatic finish. After a trouble-free end to his stint, Leventis handed the car back to Jonny Kane in fifth place for the run to the flag. Despite the drinks system in the car only working intermittently and a flurry of warning lights flashing on the dashboard, Kane set about chasing down the third placed ESM car. With 30 minutes remaining, Kane was around 30 seconds behind Ryan Dalziel’s ESM car. Kane slashed the deficit, finding a second every lap until the final tour. With both cars struggling on worn rubber, Kane was incessant in his charge, pushing right up to the flag but with time against him, Kane was only just seventy one thousandth’s of a second behind as the cars crossed the line. “Jonny drove superbly to get that close,” adds Walmsley. “After two fourths in a row, we definitely want that podium in Mexico now.”
Strakka Racing is sixth in the Teams’ Championship. The next round of the championship takes place on the 3rd September in Mexico.
Track Days / Test Days / MotorsportDays.com