Following the team’s impressive endurance race debut with its brand new Honda Performance Development ARX-03a six-weeks ago at the Mobil1 12-hours of Sebring, JRM Racing now prepares for this weekend’s 6-hours of Spa, round two of the FIA World Endurance Championship.
Having finished the car just days before the race, round one of the WEC was always going to be a tough event for JRM-Racing. However, experience shows that the team rises to a challenge and after nine-hours and 20-minutes of faultless running, JRM found itself battling for third place and a podium position.
The only thing that denied the team a dream result was a minor suspension problem, which meant the car was in the pits for 15 laps. Even so, once back on the track, a great recovery resulted in a final placing of sixth in the LMP1 category and third in the Privateer class.
Since then, the team has stripped and rebuilt the car and carried out a three-day test, before preparing it for the journey to Belgium. Taking into account that all three drivers: David Brabham, Karun Chandhok and Peter Dumbreck have raced at Spa before and are familiar with the circuit, the team is in a far better position for this weekend than it was before the race at Sebring.
But the one thing no one can control is the weather and, with Spa having a reputation for erratic conditions, a sudden change may well be the deciding factor in the outcome of the race. And whilst the diesel-engined Audis are likely to have the advantage over the rest of the field once again, JRM will do all it can to minimise the advantage and aims to be the first petrol-engined car home on Saturday evening.
“After Sebring, the team have been able to catch their breath and take a good look at the data, so I am sure we will be in even better shape at Spa and I’m anticipating a strong performance. I love the circuit and have raced there in F3, F1, Touring Cars and Sportscars – and won the Spa 24-hours there in 1991. We are in with a chance of being the leading petrol-engined car, as the Audi diesels still have an advantage. But with the weather there so changeable it can open up opportunities, so we have to make sure that we’re in a position to take advantage of them.”
“I have to say that I really enjoyed my first sportscar race at Sebring. It was a lot of fun charging through traffic and the car was brilliant to drive, especially in the final stint at night. I love Spa, but then again, who doesn’t? I won there in GP2 and have always been pretty strong around the circuit. It normally rains at some point, but I have experience there in the wet, including last year in the F1 car. We had a good test last week and I’m learning more about the car, so I’m hoping for a good result this weekend.”
“Considering the time scale from building the car to sitting on the grid in Sebring, everyone in the team did a fantastic job. The fact that we almost pulled off a podium gives me great confidence going into the Spa weekend. I have raced there many times before in a variety of different cars, but nothing quite as fast as the JRM HPD LMP1, so I intend to use my circuit knowledge to get up to speed quickly. Spa is one of the few iconic circuits in the world and, with its unpredictable weather, it’s always a challenge.”
Nigel Stepney (Team Manager and Head of Engineering)
“Having had some time with the car, we now understand much more about it than we did for Sebring. This time we are at a circuit that all of us know, having raced there in different formulas, so we go to Spa better prepared. However, the outcome there is never a forgone conclusion, as the circuit seems to have its own weather system, when it can go from bright sunshine one-minute, to pouring with rain the next.”
James Rumsey (Team Principal)
“The first race of the season with a new car is always difficult. Even so, our performance at Sebring proved that we have the pace to get to the podium. All three of our drivers have raced at Spa before and say it’s one of their favourite tracks. So if we can bring all of these elements together, then we should be in line for a good result. Our target is the same as always – to achieve the unachievable!”
(Image: JRM Racing)