Strakka Racing completed a relatively trouble free test day for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the all-British team coming away unscathed from a day that began with difficult conditions on the Circuit de la Sarthe.
Though the slippery track caught out some drivers – including Audi works pilot Loic Duval – Strakka’s only problem came with a spin during one of the heavier bursts of rain during the morning’s session. As conditions improved in the afternoon session they ended the day with a best time of 3:35.631.
“It’s a massively challenging circuit in the dry, let alone in the wet like it has been for most of today,” said driver Danny Watts. “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.”
This will be the fourth consecutive year that Watts, Jonny Kane and Nick Leventis have driven at Le Mans for Strakka Racing and their second in the premier LMP1 class with their HPD chassis. In their first year together at the race the trio won the LMP2 class in fifth overall, a result that stands as the best overall finish for an LMP2 entry.
In total the trio have 19 24 Hours of Le Mans starts between them with Kane the most experienced of them with nine starts since 2001 but only three finishes, two of which came as part of the Strakka Racing line-up.
“It’s great to be back at Le Mans,” said Leventis, the only gentleman driver in the LMP1 class. “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.”
Strakka Racing’s primary aim in the Race (June 22-23) will be to take maximum points in the LMP1 teams’ championship of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) where they face up against the two cars fielded by Rebellion Racing.