Stoneman, Tordoff headline Strakka's Blancpain line-up

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Stoneman, Tordoff headline Strakka's Blancpain line-up
Valentin Khorounzhiy
By: Valentin Khorounzhiy
Mar 13, 2017, 9:01 AM

Junior single-seater ace Dean Stoneman and BTCC runner-up Sam Tordoff are among the drivers named in Strakka's Blancpain GT line-up for 2017.

Strakka Racing, McLaren GT 650S GT3
Strakka Racing, McLaren GT 650S GT3
#58 Garage 59, McLaren 650 S GT3: Shane Van Gisbergen, Côme Ledogar, Rob Bell
#59 Garage 59 McLaren 650 S GT3: Andrew Watson, Struan Moore, Alex Fontana
Ben Barnicoat, HitechGP Dallara F312 – Mercedes-Benz
Race 3 Winner: Sam Tordoff, West Surrey Racing
#84 HTP Motorsport, Mercedes-AMG GT3: Jazeman Jaafar
#42 Strakka Racing Gibson 015S - Nissan: Jonny Kane, Lewis Williamson

Strakka, which joined Blancpain in partnership with McLaren's GT wing, will field four 650GT3s in the series.

The British team's line-up for the coming campaign is comprised largely of junior open-wheel graduates and McLaren GT regulars.

“We are delighted to have secured such a formidable and impressive line-up of successful and talented drivers for Strakka’s debut in what is arguably the most competitive GT series in the world,” said team founder Nick Leventis.

“Running four cars is a significant step up but the entire team together with McLaren GT have worked superbly to get all the cars prepared and racking up testing miles ahead of the season start.

"We’ve enjoyed getting to grips with our move to GTs but now’s the time to get racing and deliver on our aim to continue McLaren’s success in the category.”

McLaren GT Academy driver Ben Barnicoat, formerly of Formula Renault 2.0 and European F3 fame, will be partnered by works driver Alvaro Parente in the Blancpain GT Sprint Cup.

For the Endurance series, he will be joined by Rob Bell and Come Ledogar, who were both part of the Garage 59 line-up that took the honours in that category last year.

Bell will take on the Sprint series alongside Andrew Watson, but they will be in different line-ups in Endurance, with Watson joined by Stoneman and Jazeman Jaafar.

Stoneman makes the move from single-seaters, having won the F2 title in 2010 before taking a hiatus to fight testicular cancer. He returned to open-wheel racing in 2014, claiming the runner-up spot in GP3 - and was last year a title contender in the IndyCar support series Indy Lights.

Malaysian driver Jaafar, meanwhile, made his transition from single-seaters in 2016 - and finished Blancpain Endurance runner-up with HTP Mercedes in his first year in GTs.

BTCC runner-up Tordoff, who exited the category to forge a career in GT racing, will add a Blancpain Endurance schedule to his earlier-announced British GT campaign.

Tordoff will run alongside Academy driver and Renault Sport Trophy champion David Fumanelli and McLaren works driver Jonny Kane - with Kane also contesting the Sprint series alongside Dutchman Loris Hezemans.

Finally, team founder Leventis will be in the team's sole Pro-Am entry alongside former Red Bull junior and last year's Strakka WEC driver Lewis Williamson, with Craig Fleming joining the pair in Endurance.

Endurance Cup line-up

Ben Barnicoat Rob Bell Come Ledogar
Jonny Kane Sam Tordoff  David Fumanelli
Andrew Watson Dean Stoneman Jazeman Jaafar
Nick Leventis Lewis Williamson Craig Fleming

Sprint Cup line-up

Rob Bell Andrew Watson
Jonny Kane Loris Hezemans
Alvaro Parente Ben Barnicoat
Nick Leventis Lewis Williamson

 

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