Strakka reveals McLaren Blancpain deal, announces WEC hiatus

Strakka Racing has announced a switch to Blancpain GT Series in partnership with McLaren GT in 2017, thereby discontinuing its World Endurance Championship's LMP2 programme.

The British team will field a minimum of four McLaren 650S GT3s in both the Endurance and Sprint categories, aiming to defend McLaren GT's Endurance drivers' and manufacturers' title won by the Garage 59 outfit.

Team founder Nick Leventis said upon the announcement: “Creating this partnership with such an esteemed brand as McLaren is, for me, the most exciting chapter and proud moment in Strakka’s 10-year history.

“We are now working with one of the most successful and prestigious GT3 manufacturers with a commitment to build a long term future together.

"Alongside the opportunity to work closely with a manufacturer such as McLaren GT and join its portfolio of winning customer teams challenging for race victories and championships, we will also support the development of McLaren GT’s Academy Driver programme via our Strakka Performance and Simulation programmes.

"Nurturing young talent is something Strakka has always been passionate about and this partnership will enable us to use our resources to help such drivers develop.

"As we know first-hand, aspiring drivers face difficulties raising budgets to compete on the single-seater ladder and more and more are turning to GTs."

The team will announce its driver line-up for the new season after a series of track tests to be held in the off-season - but it's been confirmed already that Leventis will be among the drivers.

“We aim to test a range of drivers, giving young talent an opportunity to show what they can do,” Strakka’s team principal Dan Walmsley said.

“We’d like to offer a number of junior single-seater drivers the opportunity to try a GT3 car and understand the potential it provides for a career.

"You’ve seen how effective Lewis Williamson has been making the switch to sportscars and he is revelling in the new challenge.

"We also want experienced drivers in the team, not only for performance but also as a benchmark for the Academy Drivers to work towards. Jonny Kane is driving better than ever and still one of the fastest guys in LMP2.”

The team added that it will "devote 2017 solely to GT3 racing", which means it will not return to WEC next season.

“The regs came too late to get a P1L car ready for 2017 and to stay in the championship next year would have meant acquiring a P2 car,” Walmsley said.

"It is a fantastic championship so expect to see us back racing there again."

Earlier, the team was forced to cut short its WEC campaign after engine problems discovered in the aftermath of 6 Hours of Fuji race.

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About this article
Series WEC , Blancpain Sprint , Blancpain Endurance
Teams Strakka Racing
Article type Breaking news