A Great British Weekend

With the Le Mans Series hosting a race at the Hungaroring and the American Le Mans Series visiting Road America in Wisonsin, it was always going to be a busy weekend for the British Le Mans teams.

Overtaking at the Hungaroring is notoriously difficult due to its narrow straights and slow corners, so as the LMP1 cars including the Peugeot from the Oreca team set the early pace, there would have been few that would have been betting on a surprising outcome. However, as the reliability of the LMP1 cars faltered, so the LMP2 cars began to shine. Continuing their success from the Le Mans 24 Hours the British Strakka Racing team proved their class by not only winning the LMP2 title, but also taking the chequered flag for their fist overall win! Jonny Kane, Nick Leventis & Danny Watts drove a superlative race and the Strakka HPD car ran smoothly throughout to bring them home ahead of the field.

Another British performance of note was that of Leo & Greg Mansell, bringing the Beechdean-Mansell LMP1 car in ahead of its class rivals. Consistency on the track and efficiency from the pit lane team ensured a first class win for the team. The Saleen of Larbre Competition avoided trouble to take the LMGT1 class honours and a thrilling LMGT2 race ended with the Felbermayr-Proton Porsche GT3 RSR just pipping the British CRS Racing Ferrari to the top of the podium, in a fiercely contested battle.

Across the Atlantic the American Le Mans Series race at Road America came down to a last lap sprint and a nail biting finish. With four laps to go of this intriguing battle the Muscle Milk RS Spyder with Klaus Graf was leading, with David Brabham in the Highcroft Racing HPD fighting hard to stay ahead of the Dyson Racing Team with Guy Smith behind the wheel. The Drayson Racing Lola-Judd coupe piloted by Jonny Cocker had dropped down to fourth following a pit stop for fuel.

After regaining third place, Cocker then found himself back in fourth after running wide in competition for second, but was soon back in the mix. As the white flag signalled the last lap, Cocker had managed to get up in to second, but the Muscle Milk car looked to be cruising to an ALMS win. Turn by turn the Drayson Racing car closed on the Porsche as Graf was conserving fuel and was then held up in traffic. Then on the penultimate turn of the last lap, Cocker managed to squeeze past Graf taking victory by 1.051 seconds. Amazingly the Drayson Racing car clawed back a deficit of 6.295 seconds to the Porsche on that last lap to claim a first outright victory for the team.

After the race Jonny Cocker reflected on the win; “The last few laps of the race were just as exciting in the car as I am sure they were from the outside. An incredible feeling to be lucky enough to have a car underneath me that was capable of winning the race. When I saw Klaus in the distance on the last lap I never expected to be able to catch up fast enough. He was unlucky with a bit of traffic and I was pushing absolutely flat out. I managed to make a move into Turn 13. I was not going to do anything to lose us second-place but I was not going to pass up the opportunity on that move.”