HPD Racing Report
Sunday, October 28, 2012
Six Hours of Shanghai Race Report
Circuit: Shanghai International Speedway (3.387-mile road course) Shanghai, China
Weather: Hazy, mild, 73 degrees F
HPD Concludes World Championship Season With Podium Finishes in Shanghai
After clinching its first FIA World Championship title two weeks ago in Japan, Honda Performance Development wrapped up its inaugural season of World Endurance Championship competition with class podium finishes in both the P1 privateer and P2 categories Sunday at the season-ending Six Hours of Shanghai in China.
For the second consecutive race, the British JRM team led the way for HPD, finishing second in the privateer class and fifth overall to equal its best result of the season, scored two weeks ago at the Six Hours of Fuji.
The JRM trio of David Brabham, Karun Chandhok and Peter Dumbreck started its Honda-powered HPD ARX-03a from the privateer category pole and fourth overall, their best qualifying result of 2012. The team fought both fellow HPD team Strakka Racing and a pair of Lola Toyotas from the Swiss Rebellion Racing organization for the opening two hours.
The Strakka HRX-02a was delayed first by a puncture, then contact from a factory Audi P1 entry required a second unscheduled pit stop to replace the rear bodywork, dropping the team several laps off the pace and putting drivers Jonny Kane, Nick Leventis and Danny Watts into recovery mode for the remainder of the race.
In the final hour, a series of dramatic events determined the result. Following contact while passing a GTcategory Corvette, JRM had to pit to replace damaged bodywork, resulting in a long final pit stop, while mechanical failure ended the day for the Rebellion entry of Neel Jani and Nicolas Prost with just minutes left in the race. Brabham chased down the second Rebellion Lola in the closing laps, but took the final checkered flag of the season in second, just 8.7 seconds short of the class win, with Strakka rounding out the privateer podium, third.
Running the final two WEC races of 2012 with Honda power, the French OAK Racing team of Bertrand Baguette, Dominik Kraihamer and IZOD IndyCar Series regular Takuma Sato were delayed by brake issues, but completed 131 laps for an seventh-place finish.
In P2, the Florida-based Starworks team followed their world championship-clinching finish at Fuji with another second-place run for drivers Ryan Dalziel, Enzo Potolicchio and Stephane Sarrazin. The trio crossed the finish line in its HPD ARX-03b Honda just 36 seconds behind the class winning ADR-Delta team, after six hours of trouble-free racing.
In 2012, the first year for both HPD and Starworks on the world championship stage brought P2 class victories at the 12 Hours of Sebring, 24 Hours of Le Mans and Six Hours of Sao Paulo in the eight-race series. It is the first world championship for engine and chassis supplier HPD of Santa Clarita, California, and the first FIA world championship for an American-based organization since1968, when Ford won the FIA International Championship for Manufacturers.
Today’s race in China concluded the 2012 FIA World Endurance Championship. The 2013 season opens on April 14 with the Six Hours of Silverstone in England and will once again include eight races in Europe, North and South America, and Asia