Strakka aims high on South American debut in Sao Paulo

Strakka Racing heads to Round 5 of the 2012 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) at Interlagos, São Paulo (15 September) to begin the second half of the season which sees races in Brazil, Bahrain, Japan and China run over an intensive six week period.

#21 Strakka Racing HPD ARX-03a Honda:Nick Leventis, Danny Watts, Jonny Kane
#21 Strakka Racing HPD ARX-03a Honda:Nick Leventis, Danny Watts, Jonny Kane

Photo by: Daniel James Smith

Riding high after an excellent performance at Silverstone, Strakka Racing drivers Nick Leventis, Jonny Kane and Danny Watts will be looking to keep the pressure on in the WEC for Privateers’ category, as they race the team’s Honda Performance Development ARX-03a for the first time on South American soil. Out of the three pilots, only Jonny has previously been to Interlagos, racing a Spyker GT car in 2007.

The Autodromo José Carlos Pace race circuit is located in Interlagos, 20kms south of the vibrant city of São Paulo and takes its name from Brazilian Formula One driver Carlos Pace. The only circuit in the WEC to be run in an anti-clockwise direction, the 2.677mile (4.309km) track poses a unique physical challenge to drivers who face a change in centrifugal forces. The long main straight at Interlagos also means that engine performance will be a critical factor. Adding to this, the circuit is set 900 metres above sea level, which could see engines lose almost 10% of their power output.

Nick Leventis: “We’re very excited to be going to Interlagos. It’s a new circuit for most of the team and the first time that Strakka Racing, as a team, has raced in South America. Off the back of a really good result at Silverstone there’s a good buzz in the team at the moment and we feel we’ve got a really good chance to compete for overall victory in the Privateers’ Cup. I think that Silverstone was a big step forward for us and we’re sort of riding off that momentum going forward to Brazil. It’s going to be a big challenge and there’s been a lot of work to do for the team, as it was a very short turn around from Silverstone, but we feel that we’re as well prepared as we can be and we’ll be going to Brazil with a renewed enthusiasm and looking forward to getting the best result we can.”

Jonny Kane: “I’m really looking forward to the race in Brazil. I raced at Interlagos in 2007 in a GT car and really loved the circuit, and remember thinking at the time that it would be a fantastic circuit to drive in a prototype. It’s quite a challenging circuit, once you’re out of the final corner it’s a very long pit straight, very steep uphill, so engine power’s obviously important and so is getting good drive out of the corner. The middle section is quite tight and twisty and there are quite a lot of acceleration zones out of slow corners, so it’s a case of getting a good aero balance, mechanical grip and traction – those are the things we’ll be focusing on with the set-up of the car. We had a good race at Silverstone, a great battle with the other privateer petrol cars and I think that will continue at Interlagos.”

Danny Watts: “I think Interlagos is going to be a really interesting race. We’re currently second in the Privateer’ Cup and Rebellion is within reach, so it’s all to play for. Interlagos is a track I’ve never been to, only Jonny’s raced there before so for Nick and I it’s a case of learning the circuit and I think it’s going to be a big challenge. It’s different from all the other race circuits that we face in that it’s run anti-clockwise so it’ll be quite physically demanding on your neck muscles from the G-Forces hitting you in a different direction to what we normally face. We’ve done a lot of homework in the lead up to Brazil, in terms of simulation days and going through data and track notes from friends that have raced there in the past - so one thing’s for sure, we’ll be turning up as prepared as possible.”

The 6 Hours of São Paulo begins with two 90-minute practice sessions on Thursday 13 September starting at 11.00 and 15.30 local time. A final 60-minute practice begins at 09.45 on Friday 14 September followed by a 20-minute qualifying session (14.30-14.50). Race day on Saturday 15 September starts with a 20-minute warm-up at 08.00, before the start of the race at 12.00.

The race will be broadcast live on Eurosport, so check TV listings for more details.

Source: Strakka Racing

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About this article
Series WEC
Drivers Jonny Kane , James Smith , Nick Leventis , Danny Watts
Teams Strakka Racing
Article type Preview
Tags honda, interlagos, kane, leventis, sao paulo, strakka, watts, wec