Barely a month after revealing that it was to turn its back on the GT1 class to move into prototype competition, Strakka Racing has secured one of the sought-after slots on the grid for the 2009 Le Mans 24 Hours – to the 'excitement and relief' of team principal Peter Hardman.
The team will be one of two to represent Ginetta-Zytek in the race, with the factory Team LNT outfit also securing an entry in an impressive looking LMP1 field featuring no fewer than twelve works cars from the likes of Audi, Peugeot and Aston Martin.
The Le Mans entry was a key part of the team's decision to move up to LMP1 and Hardman admitted he was glad to see a place on the grid secured.
“It's great for us to get this entry, and it makes this the start to what could be a perfect season,” he said. “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.”
Hardman will be partnered at the wheel of the car by Nick Leventis and Danny Watts after the recent announcement that the A1 Team GBR driver will complete the line-up in the car for the season ahead, leading to the somewhat bizarre situation where the works Ginetta-Zytek driver will line up on the grid against the factory team.
“I'm absolutely delighted,” he said. “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.”
Ginetta managing director Richard Dean was also pleased to see the Strakka squad secure a place in the race and said he was confident that the team would do the brand proud.
“Everyone at Ginetta-Zytek is delighted to see such a strong representation for our products at the world's most famous race,” he said. “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.”