Newtownards born Jonny Kane got Strakka Racing’s season off to a flying start at the home of British motorsport Silverstone, which last weekend hosted the opening round of the World Endurance Championship.
Despite being faced with one of the most competitive LMP2 fields in years the teams improved form helped to deliver a fifth in class and tenth place overall and was the strongest performance for the Silverstone-based team since switching to the Gibson 015S midway through 2015 and followed a weekend of consistently featuring at the front of the LMP2 pack.
Kane delivered a stellar first stint in the car, scything through the field from P9 on the grid to seize the class lead just as he handed the car over to Danny Watts. Watts also drove well, producing a trouble-free stint and successfully managing tyre wear; needing only a front left to maintain the pace of the class leaders and never dropped out of the top three.
As team founder Nick Leventis took over the car, a safety car was deployed, closing the field and causing the team to lose track position. Having worked hard over the winter on both the simulator as well as driving the team’s Formula Renault 2.0 car to build his race pace, Leventis delivered a smooth and consistent stint behind the wheel, handing the sole remaining open-topped car in the championship back to Kane for the final stint.
Kane remarked “This car suits Silverstone and we found a good balance that works through the tyre life cycle, topping the times and getting past all our rivals in the opening stint was very satisfying and a good sign we are heading for a better year.”
With a fully-fuelled car and with just under 90 minutes to the flag, Kane was swiftly in the groove, hunting down his rivals despite being stymied with a mechanical issue. A cracked exhaust posed fuel consumption concerns but Kane nonetheless pushed on from sixth to grab fifth at the flag.
Strakka’s next outing will be at Spa in three weeks time, generally regarded as a pre-test for the 24hr Le mans in June.
— 24 Hours of Le Mans (@24hoursoflemans) April 20, 2016