Strakka Confirms move to HPD ARX-01 for 2010
Silverstone-based Strakka Racing is pleased to confirm that the team will be competing in the 2010 Le Mans Series with Honda Performance Development (HPD) and the ARX-01 LMP2 sports prototype.
The decision came at the end of a very successful first season in prototype racing for the young team. In just three years, Strakka has progressed from running sports saloons in national championships, via an Aston Martin DBR9 GT1, to competing at the highest level in sportscar racing. Challenging for outright pole in the Le Mans Series, and a highly creditable run in the Le Mans 24 Hours, were just two highlights of 2009.
"The move to HPD has been a logical step for us," suggests Piers Phillips, Team Manager at Strakka. "We examined all the options open to us, and swiftly recognised that HPD offered us a relationship and product that would give us the best opportunity to move forward with a serious manufacturer. We also felt it was sensible for us to aim for the top in LMP2, rather than attempt another season in LMP1, where the situation looks set to become increasingly dominated by factory squads. The budget for a privateer team such as ourselves is not hugely different in LMP1 and LMP2, but the potential for good results is poles apart - probably quite literally."
"We are very pleased to welcome Strakka Racing to the HPD family of race teams," said Stephen Eriksen, HPD Technical Director. "Strakka Racing have a clear direction for their evolution as a team, and we are pleased to be able to support them in their desired direction. We are excited to be competing for the first time in the Le Mans Series LMP2 class and to show that our updated ARX-01c can compete on European circuits as well as it has on American circuits. Thanks to Strakka Racing for giving us that opportunity. We look forward to working with them in the coming year."
Although not previously seen in Europe, the HPD ARX-01 comes with an excellent record. In the American Le Mans Series, the ARX-01 recorded seven pole positions and eight wins from ten starts in 2009, finishing on the podium in every race. "It's a well-sorted package, but one that still has enormous potential for further development," insists Piers. "Our first opportunity to experience that first-hand came at the Misano test in mid-November, and we were hugely impressed."
Officially invited by Michelin to take part in the test, Strakka Racing arrived with an inspiring driver line-up, including David Brabham, Jonny Kane and Andrea Piccini as well as Strakka regulars Danny Watts and Nick Leventis. "David was simply superb - a pleasure to work with, and a consummate driver," said Piers. "Jonny and Andrea are both familiar with the LMP2 Lola, and this, combined with Andrea's local knowledge, gave us an excellent benchmark to judge against. The results confirmed our best hopes, and we all recognised the enormous "wow factor" this car generates."
The commitment to LMP2 is for a minimum of two years. "The team structure, the personnel and the ethos within the whole outfit is now exactly right," insists Piers. "After a full foundation year, we can move forwards with confidence, and HPD represents our best opportunity for doing so. I've worked with many manufacturers over the years, but I can't quantify how impressed I have been with their operation, their approach and their technical capabilities."
The calendar for 2010 is "exciting and diverse," adds Piers. "It highlights the variety of the series, but it will also be enormously challenging. Anyone fortunate enough to gain an entry to Le Mans, for the 24 Hours, couldn't have wished for a better first half to the season. Eight hours at Paul Ricard, followed by the Spa 1000 Kilometres, represent the perfect preparation opportunities ahead of the year's toughest race."
Strakka Racing intends to begin testing for the 2010 season early in the New Year.