Following a further engine failure in Japan, Strakka Racing has been forced to end its 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship campaign and will not compete in either China or Bahrain.
The engine problem experienced in Japan, related to crankshaft pressure build up, is the fourth the team has encountered since the Bahrain rookie test last November and left the team with no spare units for the final round. With customs regulations making it near impossible to ship another engine to China and, having already exhausted its allocation of engines for 2016 with a pre-season issue and a further retirement at Spa, the team would have to take a three-minute stop-and-go penalty in Bahrain, effectively preventing any chance to be competitive.
“It’s very sad that we have not been able to complete the championship due to issues beyond our control,” says team principal Dan Walmsley. “I’d like to thank the WEC organisers, the logistics team and the engineers at Gibson for their efforts to try to get us back out on track but it just wasn’t feasible to get an engine to China and taking the penalty in Bahrain would have seen us nowhere near the rest of the P2 runners.
“We did consider all options, including trying to borrow a unit from another team but the specific fitting kit for the Gibson and the fact we’d still have to take a penalty meant we had to take the tough decision not to race. We’d like to apologise to our sponsors, fans and supporters not to be out racing but we will soon be announcing, before the end of November, our plans for 2017.”
The withdrawal of the Strakka Gibson from the last two races of the 2016 season means that the open-top prototype era in the FIA WEC is over, along with the ELMS where the identical car of G-Drive/ Jota took the race win and the LMP2 title last weekend at Estoril