Ten weeks after finishing its inaugural Le Mans 24 Hours in a superb sixth place overall and second in the privateers’ classification, JRM Racing takes on its next challenge this weekend, the 6 Hours of Silverstone, the fourth round of the 2012 FIA World Endurance Championship. Based in Rye, East Sussex, with a significant proportion of the crew of British nationality, the Silverstone round will very much be a home event for the team.
Currently second in the World Endurance Championship LMP1 standings, only 24 points behind the leaders, there is however more than home pride at stake as the team seeks to make up ground on current leaders, Rebellion Racing.
James Rumsey, team principal, commented, ‘We are really excited about the event this weekend. While it is our home race and it would be amazing to do well here in front of our fans, families and friends, the event is our first race in the championship post Le Mans and the first race we go to fully prepared.
‘After winning the FIA GT1 Championship last year, we entered the WEC in the LMP1 category very late on and in just over a month, assembled a team and bought a Honda Performance Developments ARX-03a LMP1 car. Le Mans is where we started to hit our stride and the result showed how much ground we had covered.
‘Now we’ve got that confidence we need to hit peak form at Silverstone. Clawing back the points from Rebellion and going to the overseas races of the championship closer to them has got to be the aim.’
Nigel Stepney, chief engineer and team manager, explained how the team will set out to achieve this objective, ‘Silverstone will be the first race we go to feeling confident in where we are, and able to consolidate form rather than lay foundations. The first part of the year was tough with the car assembled for the first time just hours before the start of Sebring and then a difficult race in Spa. Nobody gives you a book on how to do it – we had to learn how to work together on the LMP1 car and the drivers needed to gel. It all came together over Le Mans; the car had a new aero package, we understood the Michelin tyres a lot more and the drivers came together as a unit.
‘Last week we went to Aragon for a two day test, our first test since Le Mans and the first time we have had more than a day’s test with the car. This ironed out any remaining creases and got us back up to speed before this weekend. Of course the result in Le Mans was a boost to everyone’s confidence, but we feel equally confident in the progress we have made since then.’
David Brabham echoes Nigel’s optimism, ‘It will be good to get going again after the long break since Le Mans. The team has definitely moved forward – we’ve analysed all the data, done some rig testing, simulator work and then the two days of testing in Aragon last week. We’ve made some progress on understanding the feel and balance of the car and working with the Michelin tyres and we are getting stronger all the time. Our goal has got to be the first petrol car honours; the competition around us is pretty intense as everyone wants the same, but we could get a podium if the race proves to be unpredictable in front.’
Karun Chandhok, who became the first Indian to start and finish Le Mans this year, added, ‘I’m excited about this weekend. We had a good test in Aragon last week, made some good progress that we can put into practice at Silverstone. It’s our home race – as a team and all three drivers are based very close to the track – so we want to do well, and I think we have a good chance of succeeding. We know that Audi and Toyota are in front but the competition around us is hard, so our goal is to be the best of the privateers. It’s not easy but the progress we’ve made since Le Mans gives us a lot of encouragement.’
Peter Dumbreck, originally from Kirkaldy, Scotland, finished, ‘It’s been too long since Le Mans! The test last week really helped to get us back up to speed after a long time out of the car so we can hit the ground running in practice. The car felt good throughout, we got a positive direction and David, Karun and I picked up where we left off. It’s a good unit we’ve got going across the team and drivers. We know that the competition will be tough as Rebellion had a great Le Mans and are a strong team and Strakka will be looking to make up ground. But we know we’ve got the resources and the confidence that we can see the flag at Le Mans, which is psychologically an advantage.’
Source: JDM Racing