Following a 2009 season during which HPD spearheaded the effort which saw Acura become the first manufacturer to win both American Le Mans Series prototype (LMP1 and LMP2) championships in the same season, HPD will support Patron Highcroft Racing in ALMS prototype competition in 2010, and will also support Strakka Racing and Ray Mallock Limited (RML) Racing in the European Le Mans Series. All three teams have accepted invitations to compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2010.
Skrakka in LMS
At the end of Strakka Racing’s first season in prototypes came confirmation of rule changes for 2010 that made a move to LMP2 almost irresistible. When it came to selecting a car to carry Strakka forwards into a new arena there were several options on the table, but Strakka’s aim has always been high and only the best will do. That narrowed the choice, and the decision was taken to invest in one of the finest prototype chassis available – the ARX-01c LMP2
Created by Honda Performance Development Inc (HPD) in partnership with Wirth Research of Bicester in Oxfordshire, the Acura ARX-01 powered by HPD’s own LM-V8 3.4 litre engine made its competition debut in the American Le Mans Series in 2008. The following season, after further development, the ARX-01c recorded seven pole positions and eight wins from ten starts for Fernandez Racing, finishing on the podium in every race. Needless to say, Fernandez took the ALMS LMP2 driver and team titles.
Those statistics alone might have been temptation enough, but Strakka Racing’s drivers took part in a five-day test at Misano in Italy at the end of 2009 with the ARX-01c, and were immediately convinced. “It’s a well-sorted package, but one that still has enormous potential for further development,” said Piers Phillips, Team Manager here at Strakka. “We were hugely impressed, and swiftly recognised that HPD offered us a relationship and product that would give us the best opportunity to move forward with a serious manufacturer.”
The ARX-01, together with its sister LMP1 chassis (designated ARX-02), continues to dominate Le Mans-style competition in the United States. Now, following a very satisfying pre-season test in Portugal, Strakka’s trio of drivers; Nick Leventis, Danny Watts and Jonny Kane, hope to replicate that success in Europe.