Strakka Racing in Le Mans Series Finalé 2008
Locally-based Strakka Racing will make a high-profile return to the 2008 Le Mans Series for the season finalé at Silverstone on September 14th. The team’s regular pairing of Nick Leventis and Peter Hardman will be calling upon the services of one of the trio of drivers who helped steer Aston Martin to a second successive GT1 victory in the Le Mans 24 Hours this year, Darren Turner.
Strakka Racing’s own Aston Martin DBR9 made its debut in the Le Mans Series in May this year, rising to a high of second in class during the Spa 1000 Kilometres before finishing fourth. The team then collaborated with Vitaphone Racing to contest the Le Mans 24 Hours in June, but suffered the disappointment of an early retirement. Peter Hardman is keen to put that result behind them as they look towards Silverstone, and perhaps the 2009 season beyond. “This will be our last race in the Aston this year,” he said, “and we would dearly love to make up for not finishing at Le Mans. We completed a very successful test at Snetterton last week, learning a great deal more about the car, and making excellent progress with the Dunlop tyres. We have a follow-up test scheduled for next week, and hope to be in good shape for Silverstone in a fortnight.”
Bringing a driver of Darren Turner’s experience into the squad certainly increases their chances. “It’s great to have him in the car,” said Peter. “His experience is huge. He’s been part of the Aston Martin DBR9 project since the very beginning, and we hope to be able to learn a great deal through him.” Darren co-drove the #009 DBR9 at Le Mans with David Brabham and Antonio Garcia. “Antonio was my team-mate in 2006, when we won the Le Mans Series round at Donington,” added Peter. “That’s how I know Darren will be very quick, and should do a great job for us at our home race. We particularly want to do the best we possibly can at Silverstone.”
Darren, who is also based near Silverstone, races there this weekend in the British Touring Car Championship, where he is a works driver for SEAT Sport UK alongside Jason Plato. “Silverstone is a great circuit to race on,” he says, “and it’s always a pleasure to get back into the DBR9, so racing there with Strakka makes the perfect combination. It will be my first time co-driving with Peter and Nick, but Peter has an excellent reputation, and Nick has made fast progress as a driver in only four years. I’m hoping we can get a good result. A new team, a new tyre supplier in Dunlop, new co-drivers, and at my home circuit – yes, I’m really looking forward to it!” Darren finished third in the Spa 24 Hours earlier this month driving a DBR9 with Gigawave Motorsport.
Nick Leventis was unable to take part in last Tuesday’s test, having been taken ill with food poisoning, but intends to be fighting fit for next week’s follow-up, when Darren is also scheduled to share the running. “I’m thrilled that Darren is joining us for Silverstone,” he said. “He brings a wealth of experience about the car, and I feel honoured and privileged to be driving with him. He’s won Le Mans twice with Aston Martin and has been with the DBR9 since it was first launched. Having him alongside us is an excellent way to round off the season, but I also feel that it demonstrates how serious we are about next year.”
The team unveils a striking new livery for the Strakka Racing DBR9 at Silverstone, with glossy black paintwork contrasting strongly with white lettering and prominent Relentless branding.