Having arrived at the ionic Spa-Francorchamps circuit earlier this week, JRM Racing prepared its Honda Performance Development ARX-03a for its first competitive outing since the opening round of the World Endurance Championship at Sebring in March, and were rewarded with a strong qualifying performance.
"Even with the reduced running time so far, we have been able to gather a great deal of information and data, which is not only good for Spa, but Le Mans too - which is valuable, as it's the most important race of the year and the next round of the championship," JRM team principal James Rumsey commented, "However, we have a six-hour race tomorrow, and a lot can happen in that amount of time and we therefore have every opportunity of getting a good result."
With three practice sessions - two on Thursday and one Friday - the intention was to build on the car's proven performance on its first outing and set it up specifically for Spa's unique layout.
Although running well in the first of the 1.5-hour sessions, with David Brabham and Karun Chandhok behind the wheel, the car developed a braking issue that caused the rear wheels to lock momentarily. Deciding that fixing the problem would be more important than continued running, the team opted not to complete the second session.
With everything back working 100 per cent, Peter Dumbreck took the car out for the third and final practice period on Friday morning, with Chandhok finishing off the driving in readiness for his qualifying stint. Having ran perfectly for the full hour, all that was left for the team to do was hone the car's set-up and, although eighth fastest in the 20-minute qualifying session was a step in the right direction, the team knows there is still more to come for the race tomorrow.
"The problems in practice meant we didn't do all we wanted in terms of set-ups, so to start eighth is very promising," team manager Nigel Stepney admitted, "Six hours of running at Spa is a long time and, if we can make a few more improvements, then we should be on target for another good run. Of course, at this track the weather can also play a part, which could certainly shake things up."