World Endurance Championship: Kane steps up
Ulster sportscar racer Jonny Kane is to move up to the new World Endurance Championship next season.
His Silverstone-based Strakka Racing team have confirmed that they will contest the new seven- race series which includes the Le Mans 24-hour classic.
Strakka have also indicated they will retain the same three drivers — Kane, Nick Leventis and Danny Watts — who are currently competing in the LMP2 category of the Le Mans Intercontinental Cup.
The switch to the WEC will see the team step up to the top LMP1 class with a new Wirth Research-designed chassis powered by a 3.4 litre Honda engine.
“I was lucky enough to have a run in the HPD LMP1 car at Sebring earlier this year, so I have had a taste of what’s in store for next year,” said Comber-born Kane who has driven for a string of top teams including Aston Martin and Audi.
“I know there are some differences to the car that we’ll be racing in 2012, but it was really good to have an early run and see what the car is capable of.
“As a driver coming up through the ranks, I never shied away from racing against anybody, so we’re really looking forward to going up against all the big guys like Audi and Peugeot.”
Testing of the new car will begin later this year in America.
Kane and the Strakka team made history last year by winning outright at the Hungaroring and becoming the highest ever placed LMP2 car (fifth overall) at Le Mans.
The Ulsterman was out of luck in the Six Hours of Silverstone race where he led the LMP2 category before being hit as he lapped a slower car which forced him back to the pits with damaged bodywork.
It took over half-an-hour to repair the car, but they consistently out-paced all other LMP2 cars on the track, pulling back three full laps lost in the pits to finish eighth — although that was scant reward for a faultless performance and superb team effort.
Strakka Racing’s next race is the Six Hours of Estoril next weekend.