Next weekend, Strakka Racing will return to the FIA World Endurance Championship with the belated debut of its Strakka Dome S103-Nissan. TCF caught up with two-thirds of the British squad’s driver line-up, Danny Watts and Jonny Kane, at the series’ London launch to discuss the team’s progress following an 18 month break.
Watts and Kane will share the #42 Strakka Dome S103 LMP2 with Nick Leventis for the full FIA WEC season, starting at the 6 Hours of Silverstone on April 12. Homologation issues side-lined the team last year, but after a long development period the drivers are fully prepared for Strakka’s FIA WEC return.
“It’s really good to be back,” said Kane. “Last year having the whole season off was very frustrating for the whole team and everybody’s just itching to get back. The fact that Silverstone is our first one is a nice touch as well, so we’re really looking forward to it.”
The Strakka Dome S103 made its public track debut at the FIA WEC Prologue last month. All three drivers contributed to a total distance of over 1000 km without any major issues. However, Watts was quick to point out one major challenge faced by drivers in the FIA WEC’s ‘middle’ class:
“I think the most important thing this year is traffic management because now you haven’t got the outright acceleration or top speed to actually blow past the GT cars, so now it’s more about really having to pick your place carefully and not take as many risks. I couldn’t believe how quick the LMP1 cars come up behind you as well, it’s really surprising when you’re sat there.”
“We’ve got six hour races, so in terms of driver mileage it’s not only important for Jonny and I to get more mileage but it’s also vital for Nick because he has to qualify the car,” he added. “So we all got some really good mileage over the two days and got some running in the dark ready for Le Mans.”
While LMP2 grid numbers dropped to concerning levels last year, this season’s field has received a healthy boost in entries. Ten cars are set to contest the eight race calendar, and while Strakka Racing is a clear podium contender the level of competition has also stepped up.
“LMP2 is going to be a really tough championship this year because there are a lot of good drivers and teams so we’re going to have to do a really good job to get good results,” commented Kane. “They’re long races and anything can happen but all you can go by is the testing that you have done and that’s been very successful recently. Speed-wise, we’ll find out where we are exactly at the end of Silverstone but we should definitely be in the mix and that’s a great place to be.”
The 2015 6 Hours of Silverstone will take place on April 12, starting at 12:00 GMT.