Only four weeks after announcing the team’s bold decision to move up from GT1 to race a Ginetta-Zytek GZ09S in LMP1, the news that Strakka Racing’s entry for the Le Mans 24 Hours has been accepted by the ACO brought both delight and relief to the Silverstone-based outfit.
In what will be Strakka’s first season at the top level of sportscar racing the publication of the ACO’s list for the 2009 Le Mans 24 Hours could not have come at a better time. “It’s great for us to get this entry, and it makes this the start to what could be a perfect season,” says Peter Hardman, team principal at Strakka Racing. “We had banked a great deal on this entry. Le Mans was always going to be a huge part of our year, but gaining the entry makes everything possible, and I have to admit to being both excited and relieved.”
Ten days ago Strakka hit the headlines by announcing that Ginetta-Zytek’s works driver, Danny Watts, would be joining the Strakka line-up for the year, and Team GB’s AI GP driver is as pleased as his co-drivers to have secured the place on the Le Mans grid. “I’m absolutely delighted,” he said upon hearing the news “To be able to start planning for what is arguably the finest race in the world is fantastic. I raced in the 24 Hours in 2007, so this will be my second time, but to do it in the top class, and face the possibility of outright victory, is just a wonderful opportunity.”
The youngest driver in the squad is Nick Leventis. “This is such fantastic news for Strakka Racing. We’re simply delighted to have gained our confirmed entry and looking forward to cracking on with preparation for the race,” he said. “When you look down that list and see who we’re up against, it’s awesome, but everyone relishes the opportunity to go out and compete against the best, and that’s what we’ll be doing.”
The list includes a second Ginetta-Zytek entered by Team LNT, winners of the GT2 crown at Le Mans in 2006. “Everyone at Ginetta-Zytek is delighted to see such a strong representation for our products at the world’s most famous race,” said Richard Dean, Managing Director of Ginetta-Zytek. “Strakka Racing in particular have done a remarkable job in a very short period of time to win the respect of the world’s sportscar community, and to have that endorsed by the invitation to compete at the Le Mans 24 hours is a credit to their commitment. It can take teams and drivers years of trying to convince the ACO of their worth, value, and potential contribution to the event, but I am sure that Strakka will put on a great show and put in a huge effort - an effort fully backed by the Ginetta–Zytek factory and personnel.”
John Manchester, Director of Zytek Engineering, is “delighted for Strakka Racing. They have taken a big step this season by moving from GT1 up to LMP1, and the fact they have received an entry for Le Mans is fantastic news. I am equally pleased that Zytek will have four teams competing in the Le Mans 24 Hours this year, and this will make us even more determined to bring success for all these teams.”
Securing the entry for Le Mans adds extra intrigue to next week’s official ACO test at the Paul Ricard circuit in southern France. “The test will be an opportunity for us to see how we compare against the diesels, particularly, and also the new Aston Martin,” says Peter Hardman. "It will be a great benchmark for us and I can hardly wait to get started."