Strakka Racing has revealed that agreement has been reached with Ginetta-Zytek to move up to the LMP1 class of the Le Mans Series for the 2009 season.

Having campaigned an Aston Martin DBR9 in the GT1 class last year, the team will now move up into the premier prototype class for the new year with a Ginetta-Zytek GZ09S, with the deal following a successful test for drivers Peter Hardman and Nick Leventis prior to Christmas.

"We were always going to get there in the end, this is just a bit earlier than originally planned," Hardman said. "There were certain elements associated with running another season in GT1 that needed to come together, and that prospect was looking increasingly unlikely. We decided to check out other options, and while the elements we required for GT1 proved elusive, they gelled very neatly for an LMP1 project.

"From where we were four years ago, this is a huge step, and if someone had asked me then if we'd be racing in LMP1 now, I'd have laughed at them! But we were already geared up for the Le Mans Series and Le Mans 24 Hours in 2009, and this merely represents a change of car. From a team and logistics point of view, it makes little difference. Whatever level we run at, my philosophy is that we should always aim to operate to the best possible standards, so those will remain exactly the same - very high!"

Hardman added that the initial plans for a prototype progamme had been more geared towards LMP2, with the chance to test the LMP1 car coming more by accident that anything else.

"Having started to look towards running a prototype in 2009, our initial thoughts had been focused on LMP2, and we had spoken to a number of manufacturers, including Porsche," he said. "As part of that process I invited Ginetta-Zytek to join us in Valencia, where we were already booked to test the Aston. They had no LMP2 car available, but offered to bring along an LMP1 chassis instead."

The deal with Ginetta-Zytek includes a comprehensive support package and close liaison between team and factory.

"This is a fantastic opportunity to showcase the LMP1 version of the Ginetta-Zytek 09S," Zytek Engineering operations director John Manchester said. "With our all-new 4.5-litre engine, the car demonstrated race-wining potential at Petit Le Mans last year.

"We feel that we have an extremely strong package, which Strakka Racing will be able to demonstrate in Europe. We are now very much looking forward to working with a highly professional racing team and to fulfilling the great promise that lies ahead of us this season."

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