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Dunlop Le Mans

Strakka's Off Season Notebook

Whilst Strakka Racing may not have been on the grid for Sebring this year they have certainly been busy preparing for the 2013 FIA WEC.  We’ll have more from the Silverstone based team later this week but for now here are just a few snippets of news from them:

Kane gearing up for Le Mans milestone appearance
Strakka Racing’s Jonny Kane will reach a personal milestone this summer, when he contests the Le Mans 24 Hour race for a tenth time.
In his nine previous attempts at the Le Mans 24 Hours, the 39-year old has only finished the race three times – twice with Strakka Racing in the last three years.
Having made his Le Mans debut in a MG Lola EX 257 in 2001, Jonny – who is a former McLaren Autosport Young Driver of the Year award winner (1995), British Formula 3 champion (1997) and Arrows Formula 1 test driver – recorded his first Le Mans finish in 2009, when he finished 2nd in LMP2 (in a Speedy Racing Lola B08/80).
In his first season with Strakka Racing, Jonny scored his best Le Mans result to date in 2010, when he came home 1st in LMP2, and a record-breaking 5th overall, in a HPD ARX-01c.
Having failed the finish in 2011, Strakka Racing returned to Le Mans with a new LMP1 car in 2012 – qualifying the HPD ARX-03a as top LMP1 Privateer car. An oil leak in the transmission system prevented Jonny from starting 7th on the grid, and after repairs where carried out in the pits, he eventually joined the race 22 minutes later, six laps down and in 56th and last place.
Together with team-mates Nick Leventis and Danny Watts, Jonny helped Strakka Racing fight back to a magnificent 3rd in the FIA World Endurance Championship for Privateers’ category.
Jonny Kane: “Not everyone gets to race at the Le Mans 24 Hours ten times, so I’m really looking forward to reaching that milestone. I really enjoy the race, but I’ve only ever reached the finish three times in my nine previous attempts – although I’m pleased to say two of them have ended on the LMP2 podium. It would be nice to celebrate my tenth Le Mans with another top three finish. Last year’s pace showed that we can challenge for top LMP1 Privateer team honours at Le Mans, so that’s what we’ll be aiming for again this year.
“We have a strong driver line-up and Nick, Danny and I know each other very well. This will be our fourth season together, and whilst drivers in factory teams stay together for a long time, like Allan McNish, Tom Kristensen and Dindo Capello did at Audi, it’s more unusual to have such driver stability in a private team. Knowing each other so well certainly helps in endurance racing, because it’s a long and stressful race weekend and you get to know what to say to each other and when to avoid each other! We all get on extremely well at Strakka Racing – not just the drivers, but absolutely everyone in the team.
“With the upgrades to our HPD ARX-03c for 2013, and the experience we gained racing at new circuits last year, we will be very strong in the FIA World Endurance Championship. The aim is to win the Privateers’ title, and we’ll be looking for a strong start at our home event at Silverstone in April to get our season off to a flying start.”

Strakka Racing helps Harrow School students

Strakka Racing’s Team Manager Dan Walmsley has been helping the students of Harrow School towards a successful EDT course.

The EDT is the largest provider of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) enrichment activities for UK youth. It creates and runs learning schemes that provide opportunities for 11-21 year olds to enhance their technical, personal and employability skills through industry-led projects, industrial placements and specialised courses.

Strakka Racing is passionate about helping tomorrow’s motorsport engineers and inspiring those in further education. Indeed, it wasn’t that long ago that Dan graduated from Oxford Brookes University with a degree in automotive engineering.

Dan gives up much of his spare time to advise engineering students, and has organised engineering courses, been a motorsport STEM Ambassador and played a part in a variety of activities such as Formula Student.

Inspiring and helping motorsport engineering students is something that Strakka Racing’s new Chief Engineer, Jay Davenport, has also been involved with over the years.

Harrow School is more closely linked to Strakka Racing than one may imagine, as it’s where team driver Nick Leventis studied.

“There is such bright young motorsport engineering talent here in the UK today, and I was delighted to give some of the Harrow School students a bit of mentoring and guidance as they look into new suspension designs for their EDT course,” said Dan.

Flying the Strakka flag in Mozambique

There is a Strakka Racing flag flying high and proud – in a coal plant in Mozambique!

All vehicles entering the Jindal Mozambique plant, which produces 400 tons of coal per hour, must be fitted with a flag in order to drive onto the mine to help the large coal carrying trucks to see them.

But when the normal reflective flag was lost, it was replaced with something equally recognisable – a flag from the Strakka team!

“We lost our reflective flag and decided we were going to then fly the Strakka flag instead, so when I flew back to South Africa for a weekend I grabbed my flag and, well, the rest is history,” says James Derbyshire, the plant’s Commissioning Manager/Process Engineer.

“The flag does get a lot of attention on site and is a welcome break from the everyday boring orange flags.”

James, who is pictured with a Strakka Racing flag aloft his Toyota Hilux at the DRA designed coal plant, is no stranger to the race track himself, as he prepares and races his own Lotus 7 replica in South Africa, indeed he featured as part of DSC’s coverage of the African 6 Hours just 2 weeks ago.