Strakka back on more familiar WEC territory at Spa
After a strong start to its FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) campaign in Sebring, its first race in the USA, Strakka Racing will return to more familiar European territory for Round 2, when it contests the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps (5 May) in its Honda Performance Development ARX-03a.
The Silverstone-based team heads to Belgium on the back of a highly successful two-day Michelin tyre test at the MotorLand Aragón Circuit in Spain, in which drivers Nick Leventis, Danny Watts and Jonny Kane notched up almost 1000 miles (just over 1500kms) of trouble-free race-speed data gathering.
Strakka has a good record of achievement at Spa, qualifying its former LMP2 prototype on class pole in 2010 and ‘11 and scoring a podium finish last year. The team knows the famous 4.352 mile (7.004km) circuit, which snakes through the forests of the Ardennes, well. This year’s challenge will be even greater than before, however, as it fights for overall success and WEC Privateer points in a capacity 42 car field.
Nick Leventis: “We’re looking forward to racing the P1 car in Europe for the first time and continuing the good momentum in the WEC that we started at Sebring. Spa is a circuit we know well. Our P2 car always worked well there, and with the P1 a strong evolution of that, I believe it will suit the track very well indeed. After the 12 Hours of Sebring, Spa is going to be an incredibly intense six-hour sprint race. We’ll have to be on it from the word go and eliminate any mistakes to score a good result, and I have every faith that we can come away from the second round of the WEC with another very strong result.”
Jonny Kane: “Spa is one of my favourite tracks and I’ve raced there a lot of the years, as have the team. It’s completely different to Sebring, so it will be good to go back to a familiar circuit with our new car and try to be a lot more aggressive with set-up and work on race pace as well as reliability. Our recent test at MotorLand Aragón was very encouraging, and it was very good from a personal point of view, because I had no issues with my seat this time and no repeat of the leg cramps which caused me problems at Sebring.”
Danny Watts: “Our last two years at Spa in LMP2 were really good, because the car was well set up, strong and reliable – and I’m confident that with our new P1 prototype, we can continue to be competitive this year. Spa is a track I know and really like, and I think it will really suit our car and it will be easier to find a good set up straight away. You never know what weather you’re going to get in the Ardennes, and one part of the circuit could be completely dry and you go around Pouon or Stavelo and it’s raining heavily. In terms of strategy, we have to be prepared for anything and make good tyre choices at the right times.”
The 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps begins with two 90-minute practice sessions on Thursday 3 May (starting at 11.45 and 16.25 local time). A final 60-minute practice begins at 10.00 on Friday 4 May, followed by a 20-minute qualifying session at 15.40. Race day on Saturday 5 May starts with a 20-minute warm-up at 14.30.