ADR-Delta's steep 2012 learning curve
When the small British team first appeared in the FIA WEC at the 12 Hours of Sebring, one could be forgiven for thinking they looked a little shell shocked. But that wouldn’t be taking into account the fact that the deal between Alan Docking Racing and Delta Motorsport was only finalised at the 11th hour, and the No.25 Oreca 03-Nissan was delivered to them just hours before it was due to be flown to the USA.
With virtually no time to prepare, Alan Docking and his crew faced a steep learning curve to reach the high standard demonstrated by competitors such as Starworks Motorsports in the LMP2 class. So, after such a start, to end as vice-champions in the category and record four LMP2 victories through the season is hugely creditable to the newcomers.
The tenacious Docking, a long-time team owner and entrant in single-seaters, and Delta’s Simon Dowson worked hard to beat the opposition, so the final outcome was bitter-sweet. “We were the new guys on the block in endurance racing,” said New Zealander Docking. “Starworks have a good operation and LMP2 is very competitive; you can’t drop any time anywhere. Le Mans was our biggest problem as we had tyre vibration issues and bodywork problems and spent too long in the pits getting it right. It really took until Silverstone for us to feel comfortable in the championship and start to represent our potential, but ultimately we were disappointed we didn’t win the title.”
Australian John Martin formed a strong pairing with Thailand’s Tor Graves, a relatively inexperienced driver who more than held his own amongst his more practiced peers. However, the complete line up lacked consistency due to commercial pressures and Robbie Kerr’s contribution to the team’s WEC class win at Spa came to nought. Jan Charouz, Shinji Nakano and Mathias Beche all contributed further to the overall points tally, with wins at Silverstone, Fuji and Shanghai.
Suspension failure and a failed wheel nut knocked the team’s championship challenge further at Bahrain, but the end of the year demonstrated that ADR-Delta had gathered itself up and were on the right track. Simon Dowson prefers to look forward rather than back. “We didn’t underestimate our opposition, and were comfortable we could take it to them if it hadn’t been for those couple of races. In the end it was a bit of a disappointment to be so close to winning the title, but that’s more incentive to come back and have another go in 2013. We’ve only one place to go now – to win it – and we’re working hard to make sure we’ve got strongest possible team to do that.”
Photo: SHANGHAI INTERNATIONAL CIRCUIT (SHANGHAI, CHINA), 6 HOURS OF SHANGHAI, SUNDAY 28TH OCTOBER. The No.25 ADR-Delta Oreca 03-Nissan finished second in the standings for the FIA Endurance Trophy for LMP2 Teams.