Strakka making Le Mans Series debut

Strakka Racing will make its Le Mans Series debut this weekend in the Spa 1000 Kilometres with an Aston Martin DBR9 GT1.

The name Strakka may be unfamiliar, but behind the label stands a team with years of experience in endurance racing. Based at Silverstone Circuit, Strakka Racing is the new name for EDM Motorsport, and marks the evolution of the successful partnership between Peter Hardman, driver and team principal, and racing partner Nick Leventis.

As Peter Hardman’s EDM enterprise did so successfully in recent years, Strakka Racing will continue to concentrate on endurance motorsport. In addition to developing the existing association with the Peroni Endurance Touring Car Series, where the team’s BMW M3 GTR has been a regular race-winner, the squad will contest three rounds of the Le Mans Series - Spa, Nurburgring and Silverstone - with the Aston Martin DBR9. In addition, other outings for the Aston Martin are scheduled for later in the year.

The team completed a trouble-free shakedown test at Silverstone on Tuesday ahead of the DBR9’s immediate departure for Belgium. “We spent two hours on the South Circuit carrying out a thorough systems check and shakedown ahead of Spa,” said team manager Rob Schirle. It was also an opportunity to check the efficiency of the car’s new air conditioning system, fitted in response to the 2008 regulation that stipulates that the driver’s cockpit temperature must never be more than 12 degrees above ambient.

“Yesterday was quite hot, and Peter and Nick both confirmed that the system worked well,” said Schirle, who joins the team after a year away from top-level motorsport. His last major appointment was as manager to Russian Age Racing, campaigning an Aston Martin DBR9 in the 2006 Le Mans Series and a Ferrari 550 Maranello in the Le Mans 24 Hours. “I saw Strakka as a team with a realistic agenda, the right equipment and a proper budget,” commented Schirle.

The driver line-up for Spa is confirmed as Peter Hardman and Nick Leventis. “This is a big step forward for the team,” said Hardman this week. “We’re coming in at the highest level in GT racing, and joining one of the most prestigious championships. Our initial expectations are realistic – we know what we’re up against - but we’ll get on with it and do the best we can. We’ve had a series of excellent tests this year, at Paul Ricard in March, then at Jerez last month, and Silverstone yesterday, and I believe we have the potential to be serious challengers in the Le Mans Series.”

Nick Leventis was feeling “very optimistic and looking forward to getting into the Le Mans Series. Peter’s running well, the car is running really well, and everything is looking very positive.”

Both drivers are on the point of confirming drives for the Le Mans 24 Hours this June. “This weekend will be a good learning curve for the 24 Hours,” said Peter Hardman. “We’ll be facing similar opposition, and racing under comparable conditions, and six hours at Spa should give us some idea of what to expect in June. We hope to be in a position to release further details about our Le Mans plans at the weekend, or early next week.” Both drivers have raced at Le Mans before, competing in the Legends and Classic races, but have yet to take part in the full 24 Hours.