Strakka’s HPD ARX-03a shakedown exceeds expectations

© Strakka RacingStrakka Racing gave its brand new P1 race car, the Honda Performance Development ARX-03a, its initial shakedown test at Snetterton today, 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).

Jonny 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.

Nick Leventis: “The car feels extremely good. 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 Expectations were high, and this initial shakedown test of the car has superseded all expectations.”

Danny Watts: “It’s great to be back in a race car after a few months away – and what a car to come back to! 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.”

Jonny Kane: “The car feels good and the engine sounds amazing. 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.”

Piers Phillips, Team Principal and Technical Director: “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 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.”

7 Comments on Strakka’s HPD ARX-03a shakedown exceeds expectations

  1. I”m looking forward to Strakka and HPD competing this year, but how can a 3.4L V8 be on par with other P1 powerplants? I realize the rules have scaled back all the engines, but I have this lingering image of the Sebring Pole Sitting ARX-02a being swallowed up by the diesels, and that was a 4.0L engine.

  2. The ARX-02a was restricted. And it was a first generation car. That 4 liter was a brand new engine as well. But really it only needed a good size restrictor to keep up with the diesels.

    This chassis on the other hand, has been developed for 2 years and the engine has been in development since 2007.

    Just think of F1 cars with 2.4L engines. F1 does not use restrictors.

    So for sports car it only depends on how big (or small) of a restrictor size they are allowed.

  3. After the first tests of Muscle Milk at Sebring and Strakka at Snetterton, it seems that this is what you call a “healthy” race car, quick and reliable right from the start. Reminds me a bit of the Porsche RS Spyder LMP2. It will be interesting to see what this car is able to achieve compared with the Rebellion Lola-Toyotas and the Pescarolo-Judd.

  4. In it’s most potent P2 form the 3.4 V8 was putting out around 550bhp, these petrol P1’s have larger restrictors so the same engine should be nearer 580bhp+. It was said the diesels were over 600bhp last season, over the winter they’ce had a 7% restrictor cut. The unkown is the hybrid, I’m not sure how much of a performance boost it will give the diesels as they already have plenty of torque to punch out of the corners, but it should be a big boost for the petrol runners.

    Re. Rebellion I read they’ll have a further aero update coming on stream after Sebring, looking at the new (regular) Lola that too looks quite different at the front to the Lola of old.

  5. If Honda and Wirth continue to invest in this program, I see no reason why they couldn’t be breathing down the necks of Toyota and possibly Audi.

    For me the fin ruins the look of this car more than any other, but if Wirth develops the coupe that is supposedly lurking on some file on they’re CFD computers, This team could easily be an overall Le Mans and WEC contender.

    Good luck to them starting with Sebring.

  6. That 3.4 litre V8 is essentially the same as Honda’s IndyCar engine that was retired last season.

    In various indycar forms, that engine was good for 700 hp. And it was incredibly reliable.

    I would be interested to know if the Toyota design is actually new or a revision of their Indycar engine from the early 2000s. At the time, the Honda engine (along with Wirth working on aero) smoked the Toyotas and ran Toyota out of the series.

  7. There’s an interview with Wirth on the ACO site, he says they continually develop the car, it’s upto HPD or the customer to pay for upgrades, also mentions coupe is still planned for 2014 regs. He goes on to say they want to be the best privateer car but also challenge Audi and Toyota, it is notable how much more upbeat the petrol teams are regarding competitiveness, could be down to better equivlance, Toyota upping all petrol entrants game, or a combination of the two.

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