Over the last two weekends, Northern Ireland’s Jonny and Steven Kane have wrapped up their respective motor racing seasons.  2011 saw both spending the year competing in sports car series, which straddled both sides of the Atlantic.  Jonny started his winter break first, after competing in the final round of the 2011 Le Mans Series and the Michelin Green X Challenge at the 6 Hours of Estoril, Portugal.

This final race of the season, typified what a turbulent season the Silverstone-based team has endured. Despite Strakka’s drivers driving faultlessly, a race win in the HPD-ARX 01D wasn’t to be, as a dry sump pump belt came off and forced the car into the pits for repairs after 23 laps, where the team quickly found the problem and sent Leventis back out again – albeit with the loss of 11 laps.

Having dropped down the order, the team battled just as hard for 6th place as it had been racing for the lead.  Watts then gave the HPD-ARX 01D its swan song in the final hour of the race, and pushed as hard as possible to close in on the teams sixth place.

Strakka’s gritty performances for a second year running, highlighted the professionalism and determination of the Silverstone-based team.  Strakka last year scored maximum points in every LMS race they entered, but unfortunately new regulations for 2011 severely air-restricted the performance of the HPD-ARX 01d race car with every point scored, being attributed to the team’s better strategy, inspired driving and faster pit stops.  The team ended their successful two-year LMP2 programme on a high in Portugal by securing 2nd position in both the 2011 Le Mans Series (for a second consecutive year-an extraordinary achievement, considering how different the two seasons have been) and the Michelin Green X Challenge.

After two successful seasons in LMS, Strakka Racing now turns its attention to the 2012 FIA World Endurance Championship, in which it will race a brand new HPD-ARX 03A.  Jonny has already committed himself to Strakka racing for next season and will be competing in the recently announced World Endurance Championship.

Steven brought his season to a close last weekend by competing in the 14th annual Petit Le Mans which was staged at Road Atlanta, Georgia, USA with teams battling for the American Le Mans Series and Intercontinental Le Mans Cup.  Like the first race of the season, the Petit Le Mans grid included cars from the European dominating diesels Audi and Peugeot.

Qualifying for the Petit Le Mans saw the two Dyson Racing Lola Mazdas qualify ninth and twelfth for the 14th running of the ten hour/1,000 mile classic. Steven Kane qualified the 20 Dyson Racing car ninth in the fifty-three car field.  Steven said “We had a very good car this morning, but there was a wind in qualifying we have not had all week.  That caused the car to touch in a couple places and with the two long straights here, that takes speed out of the car.  The car was good in the corners so obviously we have a good car.”

The 20 Dyson Racing entry of Humaid Al Masaood, and Steven Kane had its race day end early when Petit Le Mans addition Butch Leitzinger had a turn one crash, an hour and fifteen minutes into the nine and a half-hour race.  Steven said “The season has really beaten all our expectations.  Humaid and I came this year to learn the series and the circuits. For both of us to be at the front from day one has really made for a great year. For me, it makes me more eager to come back next year and compete for the championship.”

Steven’s sister car driven by Chris Dyson and Guy Smith won the 2011 ALMS Drivers Championship with Dyson Racing winning the Team Championship, Mazdathe Manufacturers Championship and Dyson Racing winning the Michelin Green X Challenge for the 2011 season at today’s season ending race.

Once again, my thanks go to Tony Gregory for the report and to Jakob Ebrey for the photo above