Strakka Racing’s skill and experience at nighttime racing could pay dividends at the next round of the FIA World Endurance Championship, the 6 Hours of Bahrain (Saturday 29 September), which starts in daylight and finishes in the desert darkness at 22.00.
The Silverstone-based team’s performance at night at Le Mans, together with its outright victory at the day-night 1000Km of the Hungaroring in 2010, puts it in good stead as the only all-British LMP1 driver line-up of Nick Leventis (London), Danny Watts (Buckingham) and Jonny Kane (Thame) continues its challenge for the WEC for Privateers’ title.
With limited previous experience of the 3.36 mile (5.412km) Bahrain Grand Prix circuit layout, Strakka Racing has been working hard in the simulator to get its drivers familiarised with the track, as well as establishing a solid base technical set-up for its 3.4-litre normally aspirated, 600bhp, Honda Performance Development ARX-03a.
If the challenge of the heat of a late afternoon race start, dodging slower cars at sunset and maintaining a near 200mph top speed down the 1km start/finish straight at night isn’t enough, a layer of sand will sit off the racing line to penalise any minor misdemeanour – meaning the 6 Hours of Bahrain will be a gruelling, yet hopefully richly rewarding, sporting adventure.
Nick: “There is a fantastic team spirit coming off the back of two great results at Silverstone and São Paulo, and huge enthusiasm to continue our battle for the Privateers’ title with Rebellion and JRM.
We’re very excited about going to Bahrain, because it’s another new challenge for Strakka Racing and it’s an important race in terms of points.
The majority of the race will be held at night, but the in-car temperatures will still be very high. Before returning to Britain I was lucky enough to have a few days training in Rio; even though it’s winter over there, it was still thirty-eight degrees on Copacabana, so perfect physical training for the forthcoming race in Bahrain.”
Danny: “I really like Bahrain, because it’s a good fun flowing circuit with a combination of high and low speed corners. I raced there in the Porsche Super Cup in 2008; we had a three-day test beforehand and I finished fourth and fifth in the double header, so I know the track quite well – although it will be a lot different returning there in a LMP1 car.
It’s a challenging circuit because it’s sandy and grip levels are generally low, plus the track evolves a lot over a race weekend. It’s incredibly hot there too, so keeping hydrated is very important.”
Jonny: “We’ve been very competitive at every WEC race weekend this year, so I’m looking forward to continuing our good run in Bahrain. I’ve never raced there before, but I’m expecting the change in temperature and the evolution of the race track to be a real challenge.
The pre-race sim session went well, and I’m confident that Bahrain is a circuit we’ll quickly dial into as drivers and where the car will work very well at. After two really strong performances, we’re going to the Middle East full of optimism and aiming to win the Privateers’ category.”
Dan Walmsley, Strakka Racing’s Team Manager: “Bahrain presents an interesting challenge for the team due to the permanently evolving track conditions, with regards to track temperature, grip level and sand contamination of the surface.
From my experience of racing there with GP2, I know we need a car that is adaptable to the conditions, to give the drivers confidence to push at all times during the race. It’s an important race for the team, where we need a Privateer victory to maintain our championship challenge.”
Source: Strakka Racing