Strakka Racing will kick off its brand-new GT program this weekend with the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup opener at Misano, and Jonny Kane is eager to see where the team will be in the pecking order.
Following a long streak in the FIA World Endurance Championship’s LMP classes, the British squad has switched its battling ground to the Blancpain GT Series with a large-scale McLaren effort.
Together with Strakka team boss and driver Nick Leventis, Kane will once again find himself in a car with a roof this year.
“For me the big thing is just getting used to the car and trying to get some miles in,” Kane told Sportscar365.
“I’m using the information from the others guys that know the car well to try and get me up to speed as soon as possible.
“2007 was the last time a raced a GT car and I’ve been driving an LMP car for the past ten years.”
Strakka has taken over from reigning Endurance Cup champion Garage 59 in running the McLaren 650S GT3 and will have big shoes to fill this year.
“It’s very much a joint effort between Strakka and McLaren GT. We have personnel and drivers from both sides,” said the 2010 Le Mans 24 Hours LMP2 class winner.
“We’re working closely together, trying to maximize our results in this first year.
“McLaren had a fantastic season last year and it would be nice to continue that.”
With four cars entered in the ten-round series, the season will pose a new logistical challenge for the British squad, having only run a single car in the WEC for the past few seasons.
However, Kane feels Strakka is prepared for the task at hand and that the increased car count could also help the team progress faster, maximizing the available track time.
“The Strakka mechanics are working with a new vehicle, but they already know the car from building it up over the winter,” Kane said.
“We didn’t have any big hiccups during testing, everything has been going ok so far.”
“I’m really looking forward to it and I’ve heard a lot about Blancpain GT over the past few years. I know it’s a very competitive series, so it will be extremely hard to try and get some good results.”
Although he has stayed with his long time employer, the Northern Irishman gained an additional gig by becoming a McLaren GT factory driver.
“I did a test at Navarra at the end of last year and then I went to Bathurst earlier this year,” he said.
“I have already been a factory driver a couple of times. It’s nice to have a busy program with five races in America (Pirelli World Challenge SprintX), a couple in Australian GT at the end of the year, and of course the entire Blancpain GT program.
“I should know the car really good by the end of this year.”
Kane teams up with Academy driver Loris Hezemans this weekend, while David Fumanelli and GT convert Sam Tordoff will join him for the Endurance Cup races.
“Everything is new for me and the team, so it’s hard to make any predictions for the season,” he said. “Once the car gets up to speed you can feel the downforce in a GT3 car too, but I’m used to the car having a lot more.
“It’s just getting used to the characteristics the feeling of the car, it’s moving around a bit more.”