Strakka Racing Welcomes HRH Prince Michael of Kent Strakka Racing has been delighted to extend a welcome this weekend to His Royal Highness Prince Michael of Kent, who is attending the 77th running of the Le Mans 24 Hours as a guest of the ...
Strakka Racing Welcomes HRH Prince Michael of Kent
Strakka Racing has been delighted to extend a welcome this weekend to His Royal Highness Prince Michael of Kent, who is attending the 77th running of the Le Mans 24 Hours as a guest of the team.
During the Saturday morning build-up to the race, Prince Michael visited the Strakka Racing garage, met members of the team, and viewed the engineers and mechanics as they completed their final preparations for the race. Once the car had been pushed out onto the track for the pit straight walkabout, the Prince joined Nick Leventis, Peter Hardman and Danny Watts to see the team's Ginetta-Zytek GZ09S taking up its position on the grid.
HRH Prince Michael of Kent visits Strakka Racing. Photo: Regis Lefebure During the course of the morning Prince Michael met a number of prominent members of the Le Mans community, including Daniel Poissenot, Sport Vice President of the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO); Stephane Sarrazin, the pole setter for Team Peugeot Total; and Dr Ulrich Bez, CEO of Aston Martin. He subsequently watched the start of the race from the private box of the President of the ACO, Jean-Claude Plassart.
HRH Prince Michael of Kent visits Strakka Racing. Photo: Regis Lefebure "There is tremendous excitement in seeing a new British privately owned team doing so well in its first year, and I am delighted to be here at Le Mans to support Strakka Racing and wish it every success," said Prince Michael.
"We are enormously fortunate to have Prince Michael's interest and support," said Nick Leventis, who drove second stint during the opening hours of the race. "It is a great privilege to have him here as our guest, and we appreciate his good wishes for the race."
Strakka Racing's fortunes during the first quarter of the race fluctuated slightly. Peter Hardman drove a strong opening stint, and found himself battling with both the Kolles Audi R10s and also the #009 Lola Aston Martin, but his early defence paid dividends, and he started to ease clear. He completed a solid double-stint before handing on to Nick Leventis.
Nick Leventis, Le Mans 2009, first stint. Photo: John Brooks In his first Le Mans 24 Hours as a prototype driver Nick (right) demonstrated his ever-increasing pace and ability by circulating as one of the fastest in his class, regularly lapping quicker than a number of highly regarded professional drivers. His mature and consistent double-stint ended at six o'clock, when he handed over to Danny Watts,
The A1GP Team Great Britain driver showed further speed and skill as he started to reduce his lap times steadily, topping out with a best of 3:33.276 on lap 76. Nearing the end of his third stint at the wheel, Danny was holding a comfortable 13th position overall when he returned to the pits for a refuel and driver change to Peter Hardman. Unfortunately, the crew found it impossible to remove the right-rear wheel using conventional pit-box tools, and the car then had to be hauled back into the garage, where more mechanics could attend to the problem. The full repair cost forty minutes and, as the race entered the seventh hour, one quarter distance, the car was holding 35th position overall.
Peter Hardman began the team's spirited recovery at nine o'clock, and with him the sequence of drivers was reset. Nick Leventis followed on, and as Saturday moved through to Sunday, the Strakka Racing Ginetta-Zytek had moved up to 25th position overall, a full ten places recovered since the extended pitstop.