Kane impressed with Highcroft HPD car
- Highcroft tests at Sebring
- Strakka's Kane impressed by new car
LE MANS LMP2 CHAMP KANE IMPRESSED WITH HPD'S LMP1 MACHINE
DANBURY, CT, Thursday, March 24, 2011: Honda Performance Development’s new LMP1 class ARX-01e has left a big impression on Le Mans 24 Hour LMP2 class winning star Jonny Kane – the Northern Irishman spending two days alongside Highcroft Racing’s Marino Franchitti at Sebring this week.
After the team’s incredible second place finish in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring last Saturday, the back-to-back American Le Mans Series champion team stayed on in Sebring for two additional days of running.
With Simon Pagenaud on test duty for Peugeot and David Brabham headed to the opening round of the FIA GT Championship in Abu Dhabi – Highcroft had to seek additional driving talent to accompany Franchitti for the two-day test.
The team kept it in the Honda Performance Development family – bringing in Strakka Racing’s Kane who is set to drive alongside Danny Watts and Nick Leventis again in the Le Mans Series in Europe armed with HPD’s LMP2 class machinery.
The former Indy Lights driver shared the testing duties with Franchitti this week to complete a further two faultless days of running for Highcroft – recording in excess of 24 hours of mileage without a single issue.
“I’m very impressed with the ARX-01e. The reliability was fantastic – all we did was just refuel every hour, put new Michelin tires on it and keep going – just outstanding reliability from both the car and the engine,” Kane said.
“That was exactly what we were looking for. The team has done a great job in preparing the car because it ran faultlessly for the entire test and we managed to complete the mileage we were looking for.
“Completing that kind of mileage is a very good sign for Le Mans. To have the car run trouble free in the race and then complete another 12 hours of constant running is outstanding.”
Renowned as a car breaking circuit, completing the 12 Hours of Sebring is considered a tougher task on machinery than recording a full 24 hours in Le Mans.
We had a very good healthy rivalry at Le Mans last year which is great for helping drive the entire HPD program forward
“There is a lot of mutual respect between Strakka and Highcroft. Both teams achieved great results last year with basically the same equipment,” Kane said.
“We had a very good healthy rivalry at Le Mans last year which is great for helping drive the entire HPD program forward.
“Both teams are working closely with HPD and Wirth Research, so it was pretty easy to fit in with the test this week.
“The Highcroft boys made me feel very welcome here at Sebring over the past couple of days and I really enjoyed having a go in the LMP1 car and working with Marino.”
After back-to-back ALMS championships, the Le Mans 24 Hour class win and an LMP2 championship victory for the HPD engine on board a Lola chassis in the Le Mans Series last year for RML – season 2011 looks set to be an even brighter year for HPD.
Second place overall at Sebring for Highcroft and an LMP2 class victory for Level 5 Motorsport kicked things off in the best possible way. Highcroft Racing spent the off season conducting track tests for HPD with the new production-based V6 turbo LMP2 engine.
“It is a real credit to HPD and the guys at Wirth Research – there are some exciting things going on in both LMP1 and LMP2,” Kane said.
The HPD guys have been working hard on that all the time and we have our first race at Paul Ricard in France in a couple of weeks.”
While Kane will return to LMP2 action at the opening round of the Le Mans Series in France, he’ll certainly pass on nothing but positive reviews about HPD’s new LMP1 machine
“I’m really enjoying being at Strakka and looking forward to the season ahead,” Kane said.
“The only thing that slipped away from us was the Le Mans Series championship.
“We showed we could win races including taking our class at Le Mans and grabbing an outright win over the LMP1 cars in Hungary. The speed has never been in doubt, but we had a couple of bad results that let us down.
“Our main aim this year is to win the LMP2 championship. I really don’t get much of a say, but if we can win the LMP2 title, then stepping up to LMP1 with a car like what Highcroft put on the podium at Sebring might be something Strakka could look at.”
-source: highcroft racing