Indianapolis Motor Speedway
24 Hour Le Mans
Strakka Racing continues to impress in its first year of LMP1 competition with Honda Performance Development, as the driving trio of Jonny Kane, Nick Leventis and Danny Watts finished seventh Saturday to lead the HPD effort at the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, second round in the 2012 World Endurance Championship.
After qualifying sixth, starting driver Kane moved up to fifth overall - and first in the “privateer” order for non-manufacturer works entries - as Strakka’s HPD ARX-03a ran in a high-downforce configuration that paid dividends during the wet opening hours of the contest.
But when the forecast afternoon showers failed to materialize and the circuit dried mid-race, the Strakka trio lost its setup advantage. Kane, Watts and Leventis continued to battle for privateer honors with the Pescarolo Racing Dome Judd, and a pair of Lolas run by Rebellion Racing throughout the contest. At the finish, Strakka cross the line seventh overall, and third in the privateer category.
JRM Racing, fielding a second HPD ARX-03a, overcame a spin and contact with the crash barrier on the formation lap to finish 12th overall and fourth in the privateer category.
After the glancing contact, starting driver Karun Chandhok was able to pilot his HPD back to the JRM pits, where repairs were quickly completed. But series regulations required the team to take the start from pit lane, one lap down. An hour into the contest, contact with a slower GT car in the “bus stop” chicane resulted in another unscheduled stop for repairs, dropping the JRM squad to 21st overall.
As the 4.35-mile long Spa circuit began to dry, co-drivers David Brabham and Peter Dumbreck combined to claw back some of the ground lost as a result of the early incidents. Brabham had the HPD up to 15th overall at the three-hour mark, with Dumbreck making up additional ground in the final hours to finish eighth in LMP1.
In LMP2, it was a difficult race for the Sebring-winning, US-based Starworks team. Starting driver Enzo Potolicchio lost time with an off-course excursion - the result of possible contact from an LMP1 Audi prototype - in the opening hour. Additional repairs, to replace the engine drive belts, cost the Starworks HPD ARX-03b more than 20 laps, leaving co-drivers Ryan Dalziel and