Strakka Racing’s Peter Hardman and Nick Leventis will co-drive an Aston Martin DBR9 GT1 with Vitaphone Racing in next month’s Le Mans 24 Hours. The third driver has been confirmed as former DTM racer Alexandros Margaritis.
Peter Hardman and Nick Leventis are partners in business with Strakka Racing, and also on track, where they have been sharing the team’s Aston Martin in the 2008 Le Mans Series as well as the Strakka Racing BMW M3 GTR in the Peroni Endurance Touring Car Series.
Strakka Racing’s parent company, EDM Motorsport, acquired Aston Martin DBR9 Chassis 04 from the factory in 2006. As the first works customer DBR9, Peter Hardman raced the car that season in the Le Mans Series, notably taking a GT1 class win at Donington Park. Last year, under Strakka colours, the car finished third overall, first in class, in the Brno 6 Hours, and then second overall, first in class, in the Vallelunga Gold Cup. After participating in the official Le Mans test at Paul Ricard in March 2008, the DBR9 made its Le Mans Series debut with Strakka Racing at Spa-Francorchamps yesterday, May 11th.
Peter Hardman has been at the forefront of British motorsport for more than two decades, but in recent years he has been best known for his exploits in historic and revival series. After embarking upon a career in motorsport in 1983, he first raced at Le Mans ten years later, sharing a Chamberlain Engineering Lotus Esprit Turbo in 1993 and 1994. “This year will be my first time back in the 24 Hours after fourteen years,” admits Hardman, “but I don’t really feel as if I’ve ever been away.” In 2007 he drove a Ferrari 250LM to second, just ahead of Nick Leventis, in the Le Mans Legends race, and has been a regular competitor in both the Legends and the Le Mans Classic events since 2000.
Peter’s experience in the Le Mans Series ensures that he has kept his eye in on contemporary GT racing. “I’ve been racing at this level for the last two years, so I appreciate what’s required to be competitive,” he says. “I also know what it means to run well at Le Mans, having won the Legends there in an Aston Martin DBR1, and been on the podium twice. In that context, it will be very special to race a contemporary Aston Martin in the 24 Hours this year.”
Peter Hardman has been responsible for mentoring the careers of several young, talented drivers, and one such is Nick Leventis. In just four years, Nick has risen from raw rookie to regular race-winner, competing in touring cars, saloons, sportscars and historic events. As a partner in Strakka Racing, he has shared the team’s success in the ETCC, but he made an impressive endurance debut for Duller Motorsport with a class win (6th overall) in the 2005 Silverstone 24 Hours.
He has a particular passion for Aston Martin, having won back-to-back victories in the Roy Salvadori Trophy Silverstone Classic meetings of 2006 and 2007 with the 1959 Le Mans-winning Aston Martin DBR1.
“I can’t wait to get back to Le Mans,” he says. “It’s going to be a great experience – for me, and for the team. I appreciate it’s a terrific learning curve, and there’s a great deal of knowledge to absorb, but we’re going to get as much out of this as we can, and look to the future.”