Strakka Racing gave its brand new P1 race car, the Honda Performance Development ARX-03a, its initial shakedown test at Snetterton at the end of last week, with the early performance of the car exceeding the high expectations of all three team drivers, Nick Leventis, Danny Watts and Jonny Kane.
Sporting a stunning new blue and white livery, each driver did two stints in the 3.4-litre normally aspirated HPD V8 engined car, going through a detailed pre-planned systems check in preparation for the opening round of the 2012 FIA World Endurance Championship, the Sebring 12 Hours (17 March).
Kane was given the honour of being the first to drive the car in the cold conditions, signalling a return to LMP1, after two years in LMP2, for the Silverstone-based team.
“The car feels good and the engine sounds amazing,” he said. “The car looks very British this year with its blue and white colour scheme and red decals, and everyone is very pleased how the car looks and performs. It was nice to be the first driver to do the roll-out and as a team we're looking in really good shape ahead of Sebring.”
Leventis and Watts were also upbeat: “The car feels extremely good,” Leventis added. “It has a lot of power, the engine feels very solid and powerful and it's good to get back in the driver's seat after the winter break. Expectations were high, and this initial shakedown test of the car has superseded all expectations.”
“It's great to be back in a race car after a few months away – and what a car to come back to!” Watts continued. “It exceeded my expectations being back in LMP1.
“The conditions at Snetterton were cold and a little bit damp, so you couldn't push too hard, plus it's only the shakedown test, but the car did everything and more that I expected it to.”
Piers Phillips, Strakka Racing team principal and technical director meanwhile was also a happy man.
“It's been eight weeks since the new tub arrived at Strakka, and the team has done an incredible amount of work to enable us to shake the car down at Snetterton. It's really good to be out of the workshop and back at a race track – and the sound of the V8 engine has put a huge smile on all our faces,” Phillips summed-up.