26 November 2013

Strakka Racing forms long-term partnership with DOME

Strakka Racing has agreed a long-term sportscar partnership with DOME, in which it will work together to develop, bring to market and race a brand new ‘cost-capped’ LMP2 coupe prototype endurance race car – the Strakka DOME S103.
The first Strakka DOME S103, which will be powered by a Nissan VK45 4.5-litre V8 LMP2 petrol engine, will contest the entire FIA World Endurance Championship next year, pending approval of the Selection Committee.
Silverstone-based Strakka Racing has a rich history in sportscar racing, having contested the Le Mans 24 Hour race for the last six consecutive years – winning the LMP2 trophy (and finishing a record-breaking 5th overall) in 2010 and the LMP1 Privateers’ award in 2013. In 2012 Strakka Racing was runners up in the LMP1 Privateers’ class in the FIA World Endurance Championship and finished as LMP2 runners up in 2010 and 2011 in the European Le Mans Series.
DOME was established in 1975 by Minoru Hayashi, and over the last 38 years has become a leading racecar constructor and motorsport competitor. Based in Maibara, Shiga Prefecture in Japan, DOME made its Le Mans 24 Hour race debut in 1979.
Utilising DOME’s 50% wind tunnel (which it has run since 2000), CFD expertise and lightweight technology, the Strakka DOME S103 promises to be one of the most aerodynamically and advanced LMP2 cars on the grid.
Dan Walmsley, Strakka Racing Team Manager: “Our new partnership with DOME signals an exciting new chapter in the history of Strakka Racing and reinforces our commitment to sportscar racing. Following the difficult decision not to compete in the remaining races of the 2013 FIA World Endurance Championship, we’ve focussed on the engineering challenge of building and testing a brand new car ahead of the start of the 2014 season, with the opening race of the WEC only five months away. It’s a very tight schedule, but between Strakka Racing and DOME, we’re confident we have the best team of skilled engineers to hit our targets and to debut a fast, reliable and competitive car.”
Hiroshi Fushida, President of DOME: “We are delighted to team up with Strakka Racing, in a partnership that will enable our cutting-edge designed S103 become reality and race on tracks all over the world. Strakka Racing’s results at Le Mans and performances in both the Le Mans Series and World Endurance Championship racing have impressed us, and our joint sportscar racing expertise will enable us to maximise the car’s full potential. We are confident the Strakka DOME S103 will become a very competitive and desirable cost-capped LMP2 race car.”
Nick Leventis: “Following the success Strakka Racing has achieved in sportscar racing, this partnership with DOME is an important and logical next step to develop the Strakka team as a global motorsport brand. It wasn’t an easy decision to withdraw from the remainder of the 2013 World Endurance Championship and we’d like to thank WEC and the Automobile Club de l’Ouest for their understanding. Now, we’re looking to the future and the challenge that lies ahead of us, and we’re confident that the development we have planned for the Strakka DOME S103 demonstrates our future commitment to the FIA World Endurance Championship.”

18 September 2013

Nick slides Ferrari 246S Dino to Goodwood Revival joy

Strakka Racing’s Nick Leventis finished 5th in a rain-soaked Sussex Trophy at the Goodwood Revival, surviving an entertaining race in a gorgeous Ferrari 246S Dino that was set-up beautifully for dry conditions!

The 33-year old double class-winning Le Mans 24 Hour driver qualified the rare 1960 car 4th (out of 29 cars) in the dry. Recording an unbeaten 126.3mph through the Sector 1 speed trap, and 140.1mph in Sector 2’s, Nick’s 1:29.258 best around the 2.4-mile track (96.79mph average speed) placed him on the second row of the grid.

The final race of the famous Goodwood Revival weekend endured the very worst of the weather, with heavy rain and gale-like winds making conditions very hazardous. It wasn’t ideal for the Ferrari’s dry set-up, yet after an exciting 14 lap race Nick finished 5th – just behind the Lister-Jaguar driven by ex-Formula 1 and five-time Le Mans 24 Hour race winner Emanuele Pirro.

The Sussex Trophy was won by Anthony Reid, driving a Jaguar D-type ‘long nose’.

Nick Leventis: “The Goodwood Revival is a fantastic event, and I’m very grateful to be able to compete in it.

“We qualified fourth in the dry, and it was a privilege to line up on the second row of the grid with only Julian Majzub, Anthony Reid and Emanuele Pirro ahead of me.

“About an hour before the race started, however, there was a monsoon-like downpour of rain. We didn’t have time to change the set-up of the car, so the race was pretty much a fight for survival in the rain and strong winds. We dropped to fifth after two laps, but managed to hold onto that position and bring the car home safely. Whilst it wasn’t the best of conditions, driving the Ferrari in the wet was actually great fun.

“I’d like to thank Tim Samways at Sporting and Historic Cars for preparing the Ferrari, which ran faultlessly all weekend, and to everyone at Goodwood for organising another excellent race weekend. I’m already counting down the days to next year’s Goodwood Revival.”

Sussex Trophy – top 6 finishers
1. Anthony Reid (Jaguar D-type)….26:05.151
2. Rob Hall (Maserati 300S)….26:07.758
3. Richard Kent (Lister-Jaguar)….26:41.305
4. Emanuele Pirro (Lister-Jaguar)….26:59.608
5. Nick Leventis (Ferrari 246S Dino)….27:18.036
6. Julian Mahzub (Sadler-Chevolet Mk2)….27:25.205

08 July 2013

Goodwood finale for Strakka Racing’s HPD ARX-03c

Strakka Racing will give its Honda Performance Development ARX-03c a celebratory farewell run at this weekend’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, after withdrawing from the 2013 FIA World Endurance Championship in order to finalise its long-term sportscar racing plans.

Jonny Kane will do timed runs in the Relentless Energy Drink-supported LMP1 prototype on the Goodwood Hillclimb on all three days of the Festival (12-14 July).

Silverstone-based Strakka Racing is currently lying 2nd in the LMP1 Privateers’ standings, while Nick Leventis (London), Danny Watts (Buckingham) and Jonny (Thame) are joint 7th in the WEC Drivers’ points table, with only the factory Audi and Toyota drivers ahead of them.

However, new regulations for 2014 mean that Strakka Racing’s open cockpit HPD ARX-03c will not be eligible to compete in the WEC next year, obliging the team to replace its current race car and make a significant new investment in order to continue in endurance racing.

Strakka Racing won the LMP1 Privateers’ category on the recent Le Mans 24 Hours, although it didn’t survive the event completely unscathed, after suffering a 128.6mph (207kph) impact with a crash barrier during Qualifying. The accident destroyed the team’s only spare front end and engine cover, together with one of only two spare rear end assemblies. The financial repercussions of replacing these, and the many other broken mechanical components, would have prevented Strakka Racing from operating at the very highest level for the remainder of 2013 WEC.

Strakka Racing aims to continue to race in the LM prototype category, having enjoyed great success in this category over the last five years.

Its first season in prototypes was in 2009 when Strakka Racing ran a LMP1 Ginetta-Zytek GZ09S-04 (car #23), before switching to LMP2 and a HPD ARX-01c (#42) for 2010 and a HPD ARX-01d for 2011. In 2012 in moved back to LMP1 with a HPD ARX-03a (#21), before running the upgraded ARX-03c in the opening three rounds of this year’s WEC.

During this period, Strakka Racing won its class at the Le Mans 24 Hours in 2010 and 2013 and became the first team to win a round of the Le Mans Series outright with an LMP2 car at 1000Km of the Hungaroring (Hungary).

In addition to planning its exciting new 2014 sportscar campaign, Strakka Racing will remain highly active running its P1 by Strakka Racing team in the World Series by Renault series, with a pair of Formula Renault 3.5 single-seaters driven by Will Stevens (Britain) and Matias Laine (Finland).

The team’s Strakka Performance driver development programme will also continue to operate. Demand has been so great that tests in Spain, Belgium and Hungary have already been completed and further exclusive test days in Europe are planned throughout the summer.

Dan Walmsley, Strakka Racing Team Manager: “We are currently considering a number of very exciting opportunities that will commit Strakka Racing to top level sportscar racing well into the future, so it’s imperative we focus all our efforts on this important decision-making process. It was a very difficult decision not to contest the remaining rounds of this year’s FIA World Endurance Championship, but a decision that was taken in the best interests of the team’s long-term sportscar racing future. We hope to be able to announce our exciting new plans very soon.”

23 June 2013

Strakka wins LMP1 Privateers’ award at Le Mans 24 Hours

Strakka Racing has won the LMP1 Privateers’ award at the 2013 Le Mans 24 Hours.
In a dramatic race, the only all-British driver line-up of Nick Leventis (London), Danny Watts (Buckingham) and Jonny Kane (Thame) came from 36th on the starting grid to finish a magnificent 6th overall in their Honda Performance Development ARX-03c, boosting its title challenge by scoring double points in the FIA World Endurance Championship.

This is the second major victory for the Silverstone-based team at Le Mans. In 2010, Strakka Racing won LMP2 and finished 5th overall – which is still the highest overall finishing position for an LMP2 car in the 90-year history of the race.

A similar strategy of keeping the car circulating around the 8.468 mile (13.629km) Circuit de la Sarthe and out of the pits again paid dividends – and the HPD ARX-03c ran faultlessly throughout, despite zero water pressure for the majority of the race.

Constantly changing weather and track conditions, low temperatures and more than 10 Safety Car periods made it a tricky race, yet the team managed to turn around a troublesome practice and qualifying build-up to enjoy a largely problem-free race in its Relentless Energy Drink supported prototype.

Danny started the race and moved from 36th to 13th in three laps, before quickly settling into 8th place – the same position the team had qualified in before a grid penalty was imposed. His first stint lasted three and three-quarter hours, during which Danny sustained sore hips that developed into very painful welts, which required medical treatment during the remainder of the event. But his speed and textbook quadruple stint in the hours after midnight were also significant.

Nick took on the most challenging of race conditions – long runs when the temperatures were at their coldest and the track had the least amount of grip. His faultless performance immediately after darkness and during sunrise was the backbone of the team’s success.

Jonny showed no side effects of his 128.6mph (207kph) impact with a crash barrier in qualifying to put in another stunning performance on his tenth appearance at Le Mans. His experience ensured Strakka made no mistakes in the incredibly difficult closing stages of the race, where torrential showers of rain caused havoc. He eventually had the honour of taking the chequered flag.

Strakka Racing’s success was overshadowed by the tragic accident that claimed the life of Aston Martin Racing Team driver Allan Simonsen. The 34-year old Dane had raced a BMW M3 GTR with Strakka Racing in various races in 2008, including the Britcar 24 Hours. Strakka wishes to express its great sadness and extends its deepest condolences to Allan’s family and close friends.

Nick Leventis: “It wasn’t an easy run up to the race by any means, but such is the spirit of the Strakka team that we never give up. We stuck to our game plan of staying out of trouble and we’ve won the LMP1 Privateers’ award – meaning that for Strakka Racing stands on the top step of the podium at Le Mans for the second time in four years. It was a tremendous effort by everyone in the team. Both Jonny and Danny showed once again why they are top level drivers and whilst we’re not a factory team, we certainly try to operate at a factory standard. Fair play to Rebellion, they had the pace on us this weekend, but in a twenty-four hour race you have to be there at the end, so we’ll take this victory away with us and enjoy it. To race at Le Mans in LMP1 and be the first privateer team home is a monumental mark in the history of Strakka Racing. It’s been a very emotional weekend for all sorts of reasons. I am deeply saddened to hear the news about Allan Simonsen and send my condolences to his family. I was fortunate enough to know him well and am proud to have been a former team-mate of his in 2008 at the 24 Hours of Silverstone, he will be dearly missed by all.”

Danny Watts: “It’s not really sunk in that I’ve been on the podium at Le Mans, because I’m so tired. I have to apologise to Jonny, because I missed his last race-finishing stint, because I was asleep in the back of the truck! My side hurts a little, but I’m not so much physically whacked as mentally drained. It’s also been a very emotional twenty-four hours with what happened to Allan Simonsen. I had to take the start from thirty-sixth on the grid, so there was a bit of pressure on me to stay out of trouble – which I managed to do. I went on and had a really good three hour forty-five minute stint which got us threw all the GT and LMP2 cars. My second stint was at night and the car was consistent and fairly easy to drive. It’s great to won the LMP1 Privateers’ award, but what’s most important is that we get double points for the WEC.”

Jonny Kane: “That was the most changeable conditions of any of the ten Le Mans I’ve done before by a long way. It was very tricky, lots of people were spinning in front of you and trying to choose the right tyre was all very difficult. So this really feels like a brilliant win, because we had to work very hard for it. Victory in LMP1 Privateers’ certainly didn’t come easy, so it makes the win all the more special. Crashing in qualifying was a big set back for us and it was a bit unfortunate. I don’t make many mistakes and it really upsets me when I do – plus it took a lot of our spares out of action. If we had pretty much any problems in the race, with any damage to the front or the rear bodywork, it would have probably been a race stopper. So it was nice for me to redeem myself within a few days, rather than have to wait until the next race weekend! Winning LMP1 Privateers’ at Le Mans is a fantastic result and an achievement I’m very proud of.”

Dan Walmsley, Strakka Racing Team Manager: “It’s been a very challenging race weekend and a compete contradiction between what we experience in the run up to the race, none of which related to the team’s level of preparation, and the race itself – which produced such a very satisfying result. The issues we had in practice and qualifying really didn’t show the true performance we had in the car or our true standard of work. So to start a race fairly blind, with drivers who hadn’t had enough track time, and with a big grid penalty, and to still come out the other end with victory in the LMP1 Privateers’ category – and being the top non-factory car – exceeded all our expectations. Because of the constantly changing weather, we had to change our strategy and react to things on a minute-by-minute basis, and I think we called all the key decisions correctly. I’m really delighted for the entire team, as each person has contributed so much on so many different levels – even though we are missing our chief mechanic, Paul Stephens, who is recovering from a back problem. The result stands out as a reward for everyone in the team for all their hard work and commitment to the Strakka cause and to what we hope is becoming a well recognised and respected motorsport brand.”

Time-lapsed significant race moments
00.00 JK takes the chequered flag. 6th overall / 1st WEC Privateers’ Team
00.34 Safety Car comes in after rain delay
01.13 Fuel and tyres (wets).
01.34 Fuel
02.23 Fuel and tyres (slicks).
02.41 Fuel and tyres (inters). Garage to reset ECU.
03.07 Driver change: JK replaces JK. Fuel and tyres (slicks).
03.29 Fuel and tyres (inters)
03.56 Fuel and tyres (slicks)
05.12 Fuel and tyres (inters)
05.47 Driver change: DW replaces NL. Fuel and tyres (slicks).
06.23 #13 Rebellion spins into barriers and pits. Up to 6th o/a and 1st LMP1 Privateer
06.30 Fuel and tyres (slicks)
06.44 #12 Rebellion in garage, up to 7th
07.29 #1 Audi overtakes. 8th
08.25 Driver change: NL replaces JK. Fuel and tyres (slicks). 7th
09.12 Fuel
10.04 Spun backwards into gravel entering pit lane to change tyres (wets to slicks)
10.50 Fuel and tyres (inters to wets)
11.12 Driver change: JK replaces DW. Fuel and tyres (slicks to inters). 7th
12.18 Fuel
13.20 Fuel
14.08 Fuel. Right rear puncture on in lap, for tyres as well (slicks)
15.07 Driver change: DW replaces NL. Fuel and tyres (slicks). 7th
16.07 Fuel
17.00 Driver change: NL replaces JK. Fuel and tyres (slicks). 6th
17.48 Fuel
18.49 Pit under Safety Car (debris) for quick garage check. Dropped to 8th
19.07 Overtakes #13 Rebellion at second chicane on Mulsanne. Up to 7th
19.24 Fuel
20.16 Driver change: JK replaces DW. Fuel and tyres (inters to slicks)
20.59 Fuel
21.51 Fuel and tyres (slicks to inters)
22.37 Fuel
22.47 Moved to 8th
22.51 10th at restart
23:50 13th after lap 3. #95 car crashed at Tertre Rouge. Safety Car
23.53 19th after lap 2
23.56 23rd after lap 1
24.00 Start 36th on the grid (outside Row 18)

Nick’s stellar double stint as temperatures drop

Nick Leventis put in a stellar double Le Mans 24 Hour stint in the team’s Honda Performance Development ARX-03c, despite cold tyres and a dramatic drop in temperature as night time fell over the Circuit de la Sarthe.

Nick took over from Jonny Kane in the #21 LMP1 car at 10pm, but was held at the pit exit as the Safety Car was out on track. Yet despite understeer caused by cold front tyres, Nick held on to the Rebellions in the battle for LMP1 Privateers’ honours.

“That was quite a tough stint,” admitted Nick.

“I was held at the pit exit because of the Safety Car and all the temperature dropped from the tyres. From then on it was an uphill struggle, because I just couldn’t get the temperature back into our new wide front tyres. It was a case of survival and keeping the car on the track, which we did in pretty good shape – although it wasn’t the most enjoyable stint!

“Our overall pace isn’t quite that of the Rebellion’s, but we continue to push. We’re still going strong and there is a long way to go, and the aim is to be here at the finish.”

21 June 2013

Strakka’s 24-hour rebuild ensures Le Mans 24 Hours start

Strakka Racing has completely rebuilt its Honda Performance Development ARX-03c overnight after a heavy crash in qualifying for the Le Mans 24 Hour race – ensuring the only all-British driver line-up of Nick Leventis (London), Danny Watts (Buckingham) and Jonny Kane (Thame) can start the 90th anniversary race tomorrow at 15.00 (CET).

Jonny hit a patch of damp Tarmac under braking for the second chicane on the Mulsanne Straight, which spun the Relentless Energy Drink supported LMP1 car into the crash barriers.

Jonny was uninjured, but the impact destroyed Strakka Racing’s only spare front bodywork panel and engine cover, and leaves the Silverstone-based team with just one spare rear assembly.

However, the team won LMP2 and finished 5th overall in 2010 without sustaining any bodywork damage – and with a competitive car set-up for the race, Strakka Racing is hopeful that it has now exhausted all of its bad luck before this year’s race starts.

It’s been a tough build-up to this year’s 24 Hours, with electrical issues, a lack of dry running and each practice and qualifying session shortened by Red Flags. Even Strakka’s tyre buggy was stolen!

Having qualified 8th, Strakka Racing is one of several teams to receive a grid penalty for qualifying outside the 110% rule – in Strakka’s case, because of its reduced pace owing to its electrical issues. Danny will therefore take the rolling start from the outside of row 18 – 36th on the grid.

But a fantastic team spirit remains, and such troubles are merely part of the challenge of contesting what, to many, is the world’s greatest motor race.

Nick Leventis: “All three drivers have qualified and we believe we have a pretty good car for the race. We’ve been a bit unfortunate with electrical problems and a big impact with a crash barrier, so we haven’t had a chance to show our true pace yet. Qualifying at night for me was tough, because we had major electrical internal current issues. Although I had main headlights, that was about it. I didn’t have any traction-control combined with clutch issues and no dashboard display at all, so it was quite a new and interesting experience for me! But qualifying at Le Mans is always a bit of a bonus – the main objective isn’t to start as high up the grid as we can on Saturday, it’s about being in a strong position at the end of the race on Sunday afternoon. While the build-up has been frustrating, we’re in pretty good shape and we’re confident we can have a good race.”

Danny Watts: “It’s been a hard couple of days for us, what with the changeable weather and electronic problems with the car. We wanted to get a lot of track mileage in to learn a bit more about the car at this track and really dial it in for the race. But because of the poor weather we couldn’t do too much running and then we had a fairly big accident that has destroyed a lot of our spares. We weren’t even going for a fast qualifying time when the accident happened, it was all about getting the car comfortable for the race. The build-up hasn’t gone well, but that makes us all the more determined to have a strong race.”

Jonny Kane: “As soon as I braked for the second chicane on Mulsanne, both right hand wheels locked up on a damp patch and the car turned left so quickly that I couldn’t catch it. It was a pretty hard impact with the barriers and there was a lot of damage. I’m just massively disappointed for the team. We’ve had two hard days at Le Mans, the boys had already been working extremely hard and this was the last thing we needed. With the weather against us in every test and practice session we’ve done this year, it’s certainly not the run up to my tenth Le Mans that I was hoping for. But hopefully all our bad luck is out of the way now and we can have a trouble-free run for the rest of the weekend.”

Dan Walmsley, Strakka Racing Team Manager: “It’s been a challenging build up to this year’s race – everything from electrical problems, a lack of dry running, a major crash and even our pit buggy been stolen! The final qualifying session was all about Jonny doing his mandatory few laps to get the car into the race, which he duly did. We’d identified a small area of the car that we thought we could improve for the race and we had just gone out to evaluate the change on that, towards the end of Qualifying 3, when Jonny lost control of the car at the second chicane. There was a lot of damage, and the guys worked through the night to repair it. Our supply of spare parts has been somewhat depleted, but we’ve still got the team Glitter Ball in the pit garage and while that’s still turning, we’re still racing!”

This year’s Le Mans 24 Hours will be shown in 189 different countries and to a potential TV audience of just over 672 million viewers. British fans can watch the race live on Eurosport, and on the internet with live-streaming on lemans-tv.com, www.24h-lemans.com and www.fiawec.com.

09 June 2013

Only all-British driver line-up completes Le Mans test

Strakka Racing’s Nick Leventis (London), Danny Watts (Buckingham) and Jonny Kane (Thame) successfully completed a mostly wet official test session for the Le Mans 24 Hour race (22-23 June), posting 63 trouble-free laps in their Union Flag flying LMP1 Honda Performance Development ARX-03c.

With the majority of the 8.468 mile (13.629km) Circuit de la Sarthe used by normal traffic since last year’s race, the grime from everyday lorry and car use, combined with often heavy rain, reduced grip levels significantly, contributing to a number of accidents and incidents.

A minor spin during a heavier downpour was Strakka’s only hiccup in an otherwise encouraging eight-hour test session. As conditions dried for the final 90 minutes, Strakka set a 9th fastest 3:35.631 best time.

Strakka has a strong record at Le Mans, winning the LMP2 category in 2010 and finished 5th overall – the highest ever finishing position for an LMP2 car. This year, the Silverstone-based team races in the premier LMP1 class against the might of Audi and Toyota, with its primary target of challenging for victory in the LMP1 Privateers’ category.

Despite it being a small privateer team, Strakka Racing has one of the strongest and most experienced driver line-ups at Le Mans this year – with a total of 19 starts between them. It also has team consistency, as this will be the fourth consecutive year that Nick, Danny and Jonny have raced together with Strakka Racing at Le Mans. This constancy gives each driver a great depth of understanding and knowledge of each other’s strengths and personalities, as they share the 200mph HPD ARX-03c.

This will be Jonny’s tenth appearance at Le Mans, having made his debut driving an MG Lola EX 257 in 2001. The 40-year old former McLaren Autosport Young Driver of the Year award winner (1995) and British Formula 3 champion (1997) has only finished the Le Mans 24 Hours three times – twice with Strakka Racing in the last three years. His speed and race craft makes him the natural choice to start the Le Mans race.

Danny made his Le Mans 24 Hour debut in 2007 with Team LNT Panoz, and has contested the race five times. The 33-year old former Formula Renault champion (2002) was the first British driver to be signed to the Renault Formula 1 Driver Development Programme, and is now established as one of the fastest endurance racing drivers on the grid and especially recognised for his outstanding speed in qualifying.

Nick is the only sportsman driver in the LMP1 field, and has dedicated the last nine years to becoming as quick as the world’s top professional endurance racing drivers. The 33-year old only started racing in 2004, after a back injury forced him to abandon a promising downhill ski racing career. In such a short space of time, Nick has contested the Le Mans 24 Hours five times. He made his Le Mans debut in 2008 in an Aston Martin DBR9 GT1 and returned the following year in a Ginetta-Zytek GZ09S-04, finishing 14th in LMP1.

A total of 168 drivers (including 10 former outright winners) in 56 cars will contest this year’s 90th anniversary running of the Le Mans 24 Hours.

The blue-riband long-distance race hosts Round 3 of the FIA World Endurance Championship, where Strakka Racing is aiming to score maximum double points in its quest to become LMP1 Privateer world champions.

Nick Leventis: “It’s great to be back at Le Mans – I love racing here and can’t wait for the event to start. It’s been a very wet and tricky test, but we’ve worked through our programme and everything’s gone really well. It was beneficial to get some dry laps done in the afternoon, as we have some good data in both conditions and have a very good feel for where the car is now and how we can improve it between now and the start of the race. Historically, our low-drag kit has always worked well at Le Mans; on the LMP2 car it was very quick and there’s no reason why it won’t be fast on our P1 car this year. We’re confident that our car will be pretty competitive once again this year.”

Danny Watts: “It’s fantastic to be back at Le Mans, because it’s one of my favourite races of the year. It’s a massively challenging circuit in the dry, let alone in the wet like it has been for most of today. It was a case of driving to the conditions and having a little bit in reserve to get through everything we wanted to test, because nobody was going to win the Le Mans 24 Hours today. It’s just a case of the engineers gathering data and information on the car and for us drivers to get back into it. The new low-drag aero package is good; it was difficult to judge it in the wet, because we’re coming onto the straights a lot slower because our corner speeds are reduced, but in the dry the car felt very well balanced indeed. We’ve gathered a lot of useful information today, but don’t look too much into the lap times.”

Jonny Kane: “The car felt really good and the new low-drag aero package seems to be working very well. The roads have been used by normal traffic for a whole year since the last Le Mans event, so there wasn’t an awful lot of grip to start off with. In addition to all the water, the track was dirty, so conditions were very tricky early on. The balance of the car feels very good, it was a real benefit to get some dry running in towards the end of the test, and we’ll return to Le Mans next week with a very strong base on which to build. Today was all about getting Danny, Nick and myself back into the car again, back into Le Mans mode, comfortable with the track and things like that – you don’t get any prizes for lap times today.”

Dan Walmsley, Strakka Racing Team Manager: “This has been a very productive test session for us. Despite the tricky track conditions, we’ve achieved everything we set out to do, worked through our pre-planned test programme and now we’re all looking forward to returning for the big event itself. It’s always a privilege for the team to compete at the Le Mans 24 Hours – one of the blue-riband events of motorsport and specifically the FIA World Endurance Championship. We love racing at La Sarthe and historically have presented a fast car. The racing is absolutely relentless for twenty-four hours and no single member of the team can lose focus – that’s what makes this such a galvanising event for all the competitors. A lot of British fans will be making the pilgrimage to Le Mans, and we hope not to disappoint them!”

Strakka Racing will return to the Le Mans track for official free practice and qualifying (19-20 June), before the start of the race at 15.00 Saturday 22 June.

Strakka Racing’s partners at this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours are Relentless Energy Drink, Honda Performance Development, Michelin, Wirth Research, ATEC Fluid Systems, Eibach, Inspiron ONE, NEO Synthetic Oil and The Sun newspaper.