Starworks 2012 starring role in LMP2
When Peter Baron re-launched Starworks Motorsport in January 2010, his original championship aims extended as far as conquering the Rolex Series in North America. However, when Venezuelan Enzo Potolicchio came knocking on his door in October last year with a proposal to enter the FIA World Endurance Championship, the world became Starworks’ oyster…an oyster which has yielded several lustrous pearls in 2012.
Based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, the small, tightly-knit team won the LMP2 class in the 12 Hours of Sebring and the 24 Hours of Le Mans on its way to becoming the first-ever recipients of the FIA Endurance Trophy for LMP2 teams. Apart from the FIA World Endurance Championship, the American team has also had victories at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and clinched the inaugural North American Endurance Championship within the Rolex Series. Their success has been truly international.
The No.44 HPD ARX 03b, in the hands of regulars Ryan Dalziel and Potolicchio, plus Stéphane Sarrazin and Tom Kimber-Smith, had just one major blip throughout the season and that was at Spa when a failure in the oil pump system led to a fire in the pitlane. Although speedy pit work saw them go on to finish the 6-hour Belgian race, it was the only time in the FIA WEC that the team finished off the LMP2 podium. A win in Brazil – tantamount to a ‘home’ race for the team’s South American driver – consolidated Starwork’s lead in the standings, and second places at Silverstone and Fuji were enough to wrap up the Championship title with the Shanghai round still to run.
With qualifying hot-shot Sarrazin adding to the points tally with poles in Sao Paulo, Bahrain and Fuji (plus being first of the full season entrants at Silverstone), there was much to celebrate by the time the final 6 hour race came around in China including a first World Championship for Honda Performance Development. Peter Baron and Starworks have yet to confirm their 2013 plans but the opportunity to conquer every round within the FIA WEC must be a big incentive for such a competitive team.
Photo : SEBRING (FLORIDA, USA), SEBRING INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY, 17TH MARCH 2012. The No.44 Starworks HPD ARX 03b, winners of the FIA Endurance Trophy for LMP2 teams.