With just 12 hours of racing left in the 2015 FIA World Endurance Championship season, Strakka Racing hopes that by building on its pace from Fuji, the team can claim a top-five spot in the points standings at Shanghai.
Long straights and technical medium-speed sections highlight the 5.4km circuit at Jiading, a venue opened in 2004 at which Strakka Racing has only raced once before – finishing sixth overall in the inaugural WEC season back in 2012.
The points situation in the LMP2 Teams’ Championship is extremely tight with just two rounds remaining. A strong points haul at Shanghai could see eighth-placed Strakka Racing climb as high as fourth in the class with just 11 points separating it and fourth in the standings.
“We’re improving every time we go out with the Gibson,” says driver Jonny Kane. “I think a good result here will give us a lot to fight for when we head to the series’ finale at Bahrain. The whole team is motivated to finish above ESM, Sard and Alpine in the standings and it would be a massive achievement for us to do that after the year we’ve had.”
One of the newer Hermann Tilke tracks that’s proved to be popular with drivers, the Shanghai International Circuit has hosted the Chinese round of the World Endurance Championship in each of its first four seasons. Its unique layout inspired by the Chinese character Shang (上), the first character in the name of the city Shanghai – has nonetheless proved very tough to master.
“It’s a really tricky track to set up a car for,” adds team principal Dan Walmsley. “The first corner is so tough on the drivers and requires a lot of downforce to get round quickly. Then there’s the lengthy back-straight into its famous hairpin. It’s a prime overtaking spot, but if the drivers misjudge the braking point, it can completely ruin their lap.”
The WEC race weekend at the circuit runs from the 30th of October to the 1st of November, with the race starting at 11am local time on Sunday.