FIA GT » 3 May 2012
Brabham, JRM set up for Spa
Following the team's impressive endurance race debut with its brand new Honda Performance Development ARX-03a six weeks ago at Sebring, JRM Racing and David Brabham prepare for this weekend's 6 Hours of Spa, round two of the FIA World Endurance Championship.
Having finished building its car just days before round one of the revived World Endurance Championship, Sebring was always going to be a tough event for JRM Racing. However, experience shows that the team rises to a challenge and, after nine hours and 20 minutes of faultless running, JRM found itself battling for third place and a podium position.
The only thing that denied the team a dream result was a minor suspension problem, which meant the car was in the pits for 15 laps. Even so, once back on the track, a great recovery resulted in a final placing of sixth in the LMP1 category and third in the Privateer class.
Since then, the team has stripped and rebuilt the car and carried out a three-day test, before preparing it for the journey to Belgium for round two at Spa-Francorchamps. Taking into account that all three drivers - David Brabham, Karun Chandhok and Peter Dumbreck - have raced at Spa before and are familiar with the circuit, the team is in a far better position for this weekend than it was before the race at Sebring.
But the one thing no one can control is the weather and, with Spa having a reputation for erratic conditions, a sudden change may well be the deciding factor in the outcome of the race.
"Having had some time with the car, we now understand much more about it than we did for Sebring," team manager Nigel Stepney commented, "This time we are at a circuit that all of us know, having raced there in different formulas, so we go to Spa better prepared. However, the outcome there is never a forgone conclusion, as the circuit seems to have its own weather system, when it can go from bright sunshine one-minute, to pouring with rain the next."
Whilst the diesel-engined Audis are likely to have the advantage over the rest of the field once again, JRM will do all it can to minimise the advantage and aims to be the first petrol-engined car home on Saturday evening.
"After Sebring, the team have been able to catch their breath and take a good look at the data, so I am sure we will be in even better shape at Spa and I'm anticipating a strong performance," Brabham claimed.
"I love the circuit and have raced there in F3, F1, touring cars and sportscars - and won the Spa 24 Hours there in 1991. We are in with a chance of being the leading petrol-engined car, as the Audi diesels still have an advantage. But with the weather there so changeable, it can open up opportunities, so we have to make sure that we're in a position to take advantage of them."
The 6 Hours of Spa will see a full grid of 42 cars, 30 of them registered for the WEC, of which nine will be running in the LMP1 class. The first track action will commence on Thursday with two free practice sessions. A third practice session will be held on Friday morning, with qualifying at 1540. Following a 20-minute warm-up on Saturday morning the race gets underway at 1430 and finishes six hours later at 2030. All times are CEST.
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