“Next year's car will clearly be very competitive as it's already finished second at Sebring, and with further development and track time, we are confident of extracting even more from it. From a driver's point-of-view, I can't wait for the new challenges that lie ahead with a new car, new circuits and different competition!”
“I'm obviously very excited about next year,” added Kane. “I was lucky enough to have a run in the HPD LMP1 car out at Sebring after the race there earlier this year, so I got a taste of what's in-store for next year. I know there are some differences to the car we'll be racing in 2012, but it was really good to have an early run and see what the car is capable of.
“As a driver coming up through the ranks, I never shied away from racing against anybody, and I think everybody in the team shares that ambition judging by the way the guys prepare the trucks, the car, the speed of the pit-stops, engineering and everything, so we're really looking forward to going up against all the big guys like Audi and Peugeot and trying to show what we're capable of.”
There is a similar sense of eager anticipation on the technical side of the team, with team principal and technical director Piers Phillips, Honda Performance Development technical director Roger Griffiths and eponymous Wirth Research president Nick Wirth all clearly champing at the bit to embrace the new project.
“I'm extremely thrilled and excited to be in the position to announce Strakka Racing's plans for 2012 in the FIA World Endurance Championship so early ahead of the official programme announcement and before the end of the current season,” underlined Phillips. “It's a fantastic position to be in, and it reflects not only the strong relationship that exists between Strakka, HPD and Wirth Research, but also all the hard work that's gone into the previous two-and-a-half years. Any successful programme is a journey, and our first two years were always going to be a learning curve and the plan was always to spend them in LMP2.
“The timing of this new opportunity to move into LMP1 has been impeccable, with the availability of the HPD-ARX 03a, the ACO and FIA's creation of a brand new world championship and the position Strakka is in, in terms of its growth and development. It's now ready to step up for the next challenge. We're delighted to be able to run a car that's undoubtedly going to be competitive from the word 'go' due to the technical support of HPD, Wirth Research and Michelin, and we're looking forward to relishing every challenge that next year throws up.”
“For everybody at Honda Performance Development, American Honda and also Honda Europe, it's extremely exciting that this announcement is coming from Strakka Racing,” concurred Griffiths. “This is an extension of a programme that's been running for two years already and has seen a tremendous amount of success – Strakka were LMP2 winners at Le Mans in 2010 and very close to winning the championship the same year as well.
“What we've seen is Strakka grow as a race team into a very professional outfit. HPD prides itself on working with operations like Strakka, and we believe the announcement to move to LMP1 now is a culmination of the fruits of our efforts over the past two years to really take the team to the next level. HPD is bringing its experience from sportscar racing in North America to help Strakka get the success that we know they're capable of, and we're very proud to continue our relationship.”
“Wirth Research has worked with Strakka Racing for some time now, and we are two companies tied by a common quest for perfection and success,” revealed Wirth. “With Nick Leventis, Danny Watts and Jonny Kane driving, Strakka presents a formidable on-track force and, coupled with the excellent technical team lead by Piers Phillips and (assistant team manager) Karl Patman, they set the highest standards of professionalism. We are delighted to renew our partnership with them.”