JRM Racing heads to the 2012 FIA World Endurance Championship finale at the Shanghai International Circuit this weekend hoping to consolidate the strong form demonstrated at the previous round at the Fuji Speedway. The British based team, which competes in the LMP1 Privateer class of the WEC with a Honda HPD ARX-03a, delivered a scintillating performance at the Six Hours of Fuji two weeks ago, securing its first-ever podium position and third overall in the Privateers’ championship.
The last event on the eight-round WEC will take place at the 5.451km Shanghai International Circuit used by the FIA Formula One World Championship for the annual Chinese Grand Prix. The driving trio of David Brabham, Karun Chandhok and Peter Dumbreck will be looking for a repeat performance of the podium at the very least, and challenging for a surprise result should conditions allow.
Karun raced at the Shanghai track in 2010 in F1 and hopes his experience will benefit the team as it goes out to finish the season on a high. ‘Fuji was a positive result for everyone and it’ll be good to go one better in Shanghai this weekend. I know the circuit from when I raced there in Formula 1 with HRT in 2010. It will be reasonably cool at this time of the year, which may not be ideal for us, as we seem to be better relative to the Rebellion cars in the hotter conditions, but let’s see. The long straights will mean that overtaking shouldn’t be too bad with slower cars at least, which is sometimes where we have been losing out. I really hope that we can finish the season on a high – James, Nigel and the guys have been pushing hard all season and it’s always nice to go into the off-season with a good result. I’m going to be a bit hunting for a TV to watch the Indian GP on the weekend as well – especially as my dad’s giving away the trophies!’
David Brabham and Peter Dumbreck have not raced at the circuit on the outskirts of Shanghai, but have been keeping race fit with an appearance at the Australian V8 Supercar event in Surfers’ Paradise last weekend. David finished fourth and fifth in the double header with partner Tim Slade, while Peter and team-mate Russell Ingall came home seventh and ninth.
Peter commented, ‘After a weekend of driving a 680bhp touring car it will feel nice to get back to the high downforce and strong braking performance of an LMP1 car! It will be my first visit to Shanghai so I’m looking forward to driving at another world-class circuit with the HPD car. We had a promising result in Fuji so I hope we can carry that form on to China and take another podium finish to end the season strongly.’
David echoed the Scot’s thoughts, ‘I am really looking forward to going to China again and going to Shanghai for the first time. Pete and I don’t know the circuit, but we have Karun in the team who drove F1 there, so he will be able to help us out. We had a really strong race in Japan and so we look to continue this into the last race.’
Team manager and chief engineer, Nigel Stepney, anticipates the tough challenge of the formidable Shanghai Circuit. ‘Shanghai is a typical modern-style track with two very long straights, hairpins and low to mid speed corners round the back section. It’s not used a lot during the year so it is likely that conditions will evolve a lot over the weekend. This will increase the tyre wear but we feel we have got a much better understanding on the tyre performance now. Temperatures should also be a lot more consistent than they were in Fuji when the range varied considerably over the race. We know we are pretty economical on fuel usage and if the conditions are right we could even spring a surprise result, one better than Fuji.’
Team principal James Rumsey looks forward to the final event in the championship: ‘Getting second on the podium in Fuji finally showed we could deliver on the potential we’ve shown this year. We had looked competitive all season, quite often the quickest or second quickest privateer in practices, but the reliability in the races has been missing since Le Mans unfortunately. However we’ve always said that this was a learning year and we were overjoyed to finally find that piece of the puzzle in Fuji. It would be a very positive end to our first season to repeat that in China.’