Strakka Racing Meeting the Challenge Strakka Racing
Strakka Racing is being put through the mill in the 77th running of the Le Mans 24 Hours, facing the highs and the lows, the clean running and the rough, yet has demonstrated a professionalism and determination that does credit to the debutant team.
Having run as high as twelfth, or fourth in the "petrol class", Strakka Racing's Peter Hardman, Nick Leventis and Danny Watts have had to contend with a succession of minor issues that began at eight on Saturday evening, when the rear left wheel seized during a pitstop. Subsequently the team encountered an alternator belt failure; a problem with an exhaust manifold; a starter motor issue and an electrical circuit fault. Individually, these were modest problems that were relatively quickly solved, but each contributed to an accumulated loss of around an ninety minutes in the garage..
Even so, when the race stood at three-quarters distance, the #23 Ginetta-Zytek GZ09S was running in 20th position overall and was continuing to fight for position. Nick Leventis had completed the final stint of Saturday, picking up three positions before handing over to Danny Watts from 26th in the early hours of Sunday. Through the night the three Strakka drivers drove their utmost as they steadily recovered lost ground, working through to 17th at just before four o'clock with Danny Watts in the cockpit. Next into the cockpit, Peter Hardman had been in the car for little more than twenty minutes before the next enforced drama, and the loss of three more hard-won positions. However, by the end of his stint at half-six, Peter had recovered to 17th overall once again, but would end his run in the garage once more.
Peter Hardman, Le Mans 2009. Photo: David Lord / Dailysportscar Despite the frustrations, the crew have handled the pressure excellently; tackling each new challenge with enthusiasm and professionalism. "The guys have done a tremendous job," said Nick Leventis. "Each time we've had an issue, they've worked fast and efficiently to get us back out again as quickly as possible. It has been impressive to watch."
After Peter had tackled the awkward dawn run, when conflicting light and shadow can make driving at Le Mans more than usually difficult, Nick took over at just after seven. Within the hour he had recovered all the lost ground to have the #23 Ginetta-Zytek running 16th overall.
With six hours remaining the car was back in the garage once again, this time with an electrical fault that prevented the engine firing up after the pitstop. The team is confident of having the car back out in a few minutes and will work towards their principal goal of achieving a representative finish in the 2009 Le Mans 24 Hours.