Driver Danny Watts and Strakka Racing peaked at the perfect time, setting their best time of the weekend in qualifying for the Six Hours of Silverstone.
Watt’s lap, a 1:46.160, put the British team – based at the Silverstone circuit – fastest among the group of LMP1 privateers in the race, the fourth round of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC).
The session was complicated as all the LMP teams – qualifying together in a 20 minute session – were chasing changing track conditions as a dry line emerged after an earlier downpour. As such Watts started the session intermediate tyres, setting a banker lap before he and the team recognised the drying track and pitted to switch onto slick tyres for the final push for the best times.
At one point, as the slick tyres showed their worth around the 5.89 mile track, Watts was second fastest overall but as others improved as pushed back to fourth, a position he secured with a late improvement to ensure he beat the better to two Rebellion Racing Lolas by just 47 hundredths.
“It was a difficult qualifying session with the changeable conditions,” said Watts, who shares the team’s HPD ARX-03a with Jonny Kane and Nick Leventis. “It was difficult to judge where the grip was because one half of the track was considerably drier than the other half. I was surprised how quickly the track dried out. I had a spin on the intermediates and crossed the finish line backwards – that’s the first time I’ve ever done that – and that was my cue to come in and put slicks on.
“Fourth overall is like pole position for us. We have to forget about the works Audi and Toyota cars because we’re not racing them in the privateer class – so we’re very happy to qualify top privateer on our home round of the World Endurance Championship.”