With two seasons of LM GT1 racing under their belts, Strakka Racing is moving up to the prototype ranks for 2009. The British-based team led by Peter Hardman confirmed Monday that it will enter the LM P1 category of the European-based Le Mans...
With two seasons of LM GT1 racing under their belts, Strakka Racing is moving up to the prototype ranks for 2009. The British-based team led by Peter Hardman confirmed Monday that it will enter the LM P1 category of the European-based Le Mans Series with a Ginetta-Zytek GZ09S. The team has also submitted an entry to the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with hopes of making its second consecutive appearance in the twice-around-the-clock French classic.
Last year, Hardman and co-driver Nick Leventis paired with Alexandre Negrao in Strakka's Aston Martin DBR9 at Le Mans, run under the Team Vitaphone banner. The team also contested the Spa and Silverstone rounds of the Le Mans Series with its GT1 challenger, but had not expected to jump into the top prototype category so quickly.
"We were always going to get there in the end, this is just a bit earlier than originally planned," Hardman explained. "There were certain elements associated with running another season in GT1 that needed to come together, and that prospect was looking increasingly unlikely. We decided to check out other options, and while the elements we required for GT1 proved elusive, they gelled very neatly for an LMP1 project."
Hardman and Leventis tested the Ginetta-Zytek at Valancia in October, and the pieces started to fall into place. What originally was intended for a move into the LM P2 ranks in 2009 turned into a more accelerated program following the positive outcome of the test.
"Having started to look towards running a prototype in 2009, our initial thoughts had been focused on LMP2, and we had spoken to a number of manufacturers, including Porsche," Hardman added. "As part of that process I invited Ginetta-Zytek to join us in Valencia, where we were already booked to test the Aston. They had no LMP2 car available, but offered to bring along an LMP1 chassis instead."
Strakka Racing is the fourth team to commit to running a Ginetta-Zytek in the Le Mans Series, but is the first with a P1 machine. Barazi-Epsilon, GAC Racing Team (formally Trading Performance) and Quifel-ASM Team all have confirmed entries in the lighter-and-more-nimble P2 category. However Corsa Motorsports will campaign a gasoline-electirc hybrid version of the P1 car in the American Le Mans Series season.
"This is a fantastic opportunity to showcase the LMP1 version of the Ginetta-Zytek 09S," said Zytek Engineering operations director John Manchester. "With our all-new 4.5-litre engine, the car demonstrated race-wining potential at Petit Le Mans last year. We feel that we have an extremely strong package, which Strakka Racing will be able to demonstrate in Europe. We are now very much looking forward to working with a highly professional racing team and to fulfilling the great promise that lies ahead of us this season."
The deadline to submit entries for the 24 Hours of Le Mans is on Wednesday, with the Automobile Club de l'Ouest expected to publish a preliminary list sometime next month.