From Autoweek By: Gary Watkins on 1/05/2012
The British squad that won the FIA GT1 World Championship with the Nissan GT-R in 2011 has become the third team to purchase one of Honda Performance Development’s new ARX-03a LMP1 prototypes for the coming season.
JRM Racing, which sealed the FIA GT1 drivers’ title with Michael Krumm and Lucas Luhr, joins Strakka Racing and the U.S. Muscle Milk team in signing up to run the new HPD. Like Strakka, it plans to compete in the FIA World Endurance Championship, which includes the 24 Hours of Le Mans, while Muscle Milk will contest in the American Le Mans Series.
“We have chosen the HPD because it’s a well-developed package and currently the most competitive of the petrol-engined LMP1 cars,” JRM team boss James Rumsey said.
JRM, which appears unlikely to defend its FIA GT1 title in 2012, is moving into the prototype arena for two reasons, according to Rumsey.
“Having the 24 Hours of Le Mans included in the calendar is a significant factor for us,” he said. “It’s been a goal of ours to compete since the company started racing two years ago.”
Rumsey said that commercial factors were also important in the decision.
“FIA GT1 is still finding its feet commercially, while the sponsorship acquisition potential of the WEC and Le Mans in particular is very good,” he said. “LMP1 is manufacturer-led and they are really getting behind the WEC. The hope is that we can tag onto the back of that.”
JRM will run three drivers in its HPD but has yet to confirm any names. Krumm, who is contracted to Nissan, and Luhr, who has signed for Muscle Milk, will not be part of the program.
The ARX-03a is a development of the ARX-01e that finished second in last year’s 12 Hours of Sebring with Highcroft Racing. The car is built around a bespoke monocoque designed by Wirth Research in the United Kingdom rather than the Courage tub that was the basis of line of ARX-01 cars.
A continuation of JRM’s participation in FIA GT1, which started in 2010 under the Sumo Power banner, depends on the team finding sponsorship to fund the program. The company is pushing on with development of the Nissan GT3 GT-R in conjunction with the Japanese manufacturer’s motorsport arm, Nismo