Strakka takes fifth at Silverstone WEC opener
18th April 2016
Facing one of the most competitive LMP2 fields with eleven entries, Strakka Racing enjoyed a return to improved form at its home race, ultimately delivering a fifth place at the opening round of the World Endurance Championship. Fifth in class and tenth place overall was the strongest performance for the Silverstone-based team since switching to the Gibson 015S midway through 2015 and followed a weekend of consistently featuring at the front of the LMP2 pack. “Today was recognition of the effort the team and drivers have put in over the winter and a great start to the relationship with our new partners Dell and Xero,” says team principal Dan Walmsley. “The car was fastest in practice, all the drivers drove superbly notably Jonny’s opening stint, our pit stops were some of the fastest in the pit lane and I think the safety car and hold ups during the Full Course Yellow possibly prevented us from an even stronger result.”
Kane delivered a stellar first stint in the car, scything through the field from P9 on the grid to seize the class lead just as he handed the car over to Danny Watts. Watts also drove well, producing a trouble-free stint and successfully managing tyre wear; needing only a front left to maintain the pace of the class leaders and never dropped out of the top three. As team founder Nick Leventis took over the car, a safety car was deployed, closing the field and causing the team to lose track position. Having worked hard over the winter on both the sim as well as driving the team’s Formula Renault 2.0 car to build his race pace, Leventis delivered a smooth and consistent stint behind the wheel, handing the sole remaining open-topped car in the championship back to Jonny Kane for the final stint. “This car suits Silverstone and we found a good balance that works through the tyre life cycle,” says Kane. “Topping the times and getting past all our rivals in the opening stint was very satisfying and a good sign we are heading for a better year.”
With a fully-fuelled car and with just under 90 minutes to the flag, Kane was swiftly in the groove, hunting down his rivals despite being stymied with an mechanical issue. A cracked exhaust posed fuel consumption concerns but Kane nonetheless pushed on from sixth to grab fifth at the flag. “The exhaust fooled the sensor into over fuelling, meaning we had to back off in the latter stages,” adds Walmsley. “It was only issue we faced during six hours, a testament to the preparation by our engineers.”
The weekend was further bolstered with Strakka’s Renaultsport R.S.01 team securing a second, third and sixth in its debut in the category at the Aragon circuit in Spain. Pro driver Lewis Williamson secured a second in his race with Prestige driver Tim Sugden finishing sixth and the Strakka pairing stepping onto the podium in the two driver Endurance event. Lewis Williamson now leads the Pro category as the series heads to Imola next month.
‘A great weekend for the team with podium success in Aragon, Lewis leading the championship and a return to much-missed competitive form in the World Endurance Championship,” adds Nick Leventis. “I’m looking forward to continuing the momentum at Spa in three weeks’ time.”
Track Days / Test Days / MotorsportDays.com