Indianapolis Motor Speedway
24 Hour Le Mans
For the second time in three attempts, Honda Performance Development has won the LMP2 class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with the American-based Starworks Racing claiming the category victory in its first Le Mans start.
Starworks, which earlier this year won LMP2 at the 12 Hours of Sebring, made it’s 24 Hours of Le Mans debut in the most impressive way possible, with drivers Ryan Dalziel, Tom Kimber-Smith and Enzo Potolicchio piloting their HPD ARX-03b to a seventh overall finish, one lap ahead of the next LMP2 entry.
In 2010, HPD’s first attempt at Le Mans, it was British-based Strakka Racing winning LMP2 in its HPD ARX-01c with a commanding margin of seven laps and LMP2 record fifth overall finish. This year’s race was far more dramatic, but just as rewarding for HPD.
Starting ninth in LMP2 and 22nd overall after electing to focus on race preparation rather than making an outright qualifying run, the Starworks trio also made a conservative start to the 24-hour endurance racing classic. But by the six-hour mark, the team had moved into the top-10 overall and third in LMP2. As night settled over the Circuit de la Sarthe, LMP2 settled into a multi-car battle between the HPD and several Nissan-powered teams
But three hours later, at midnight, the Starworks HPD ARX-03b chassis and HPD HR28TT twin-turbo V6 engine combination was in the LMP2 lead and - although challenged for the remaining 12 hours by several Nissan-powered teams - Starworks was more than capable of defending it’s hard-won advantage, and maintained a steady, if narrow lead for the remaining 12 hours to take the LMP2 victory over TDS Racing.
For the first time, HPD also fielded a pair of entries in the headline LMP1 class, utilizing the new ARX-03a chassis and normally aspirated HR-LM V8 engine. Strakka Racing moved up from LMP2 for 2012 and driver Danny Watts qualified the new combination seventh overall on Thursday, fastest of the “privateer” teams doing battle with the full manufacturer-supported teams from Audi and Toyota. Another British team, JRM Motorsports, started 11th in their ARX-03a.
JRM had a steady run in their first Le Mans attempt, after winning the FIA GT1 World Championship in 2011. The driving trio of David Brabham, Karun Chandhok and Peter Dumbreck moved into the top-10 in the opening hours, and seventh overall at the 16-hour mark. Other than a few minor delays, JRM pressed on for an excellent