Strakka Racing is set to 'revive the tradition of the small British privateer sportscar team' taking on the giant motoring manufacturers – after the Silverstone-based squad revealed that it will contest the 2012 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC).
The announcement confirms that drivers Nick Leventis, Jonny Kane and Danny Watts will move from an LMP2 chassis in the Le Mans Series to an LMP1 Honda Performance Development HPD ARX-03a in the WEC. The car will be powered by a 3.4-litre, normally-aspirated HPD V8 engine – designed and built by HPD at its Californian headquarters – and will benefit from an entirely new Wirth Research-designed chassis and Michelin tyres. Testing will begin later this year in the USA, before the car is transported to its new home at Silverstone.
Established in 2007, Strakka Racing made its Le Mans 24 Hours race debut in 2008 with an Aston Martin DBR9 GT1, followed by a Ginetta-Zytek GZ09S LMP1 effort two years later.
A new chapter in the team's short yet successful history began with its association with Honda Performance Development, which led to a remarkable 2010 campaign – in which, with the HPD-ARX 01, it became the first LMP2 team to win a round of the Le Mans Series (LMS) outright at the Hungaroring and broke five records at the Le Mans 24 Hours, including the highest-ever overall finish by an LMP2 car when it came home in fifth.
Strakka remains in contention for the 2011 LMS LMP2 title, after a season of exceptional teamwork, intelligent race strategy, faultless driving, dogged determination and the reliability of the twin-turbo V6-engined HPD-ARX 01d. And beyond that, all concerned are palpably enthusiastic about the team's new challenge.
“The evolution of Strakka Racing has been remarkably quick,” affirmed team owner and driver Nick Leventis, “and we've enjoyed a tremendous amount of success in a relatively short period of time. We always set out to be a world sportscar team and to compete at the very highest level. Our success – particularly in LMP2 last year – illustrates the ambition, drive, ability and skill of the team and that we are ready for the challenge of LMP1.
“We are proud of our relationship with HPD, Wirth Research and Michelin, and it's a privilege to make this journey into the FIA World Endurance Championship together and demonstrate what the HPD-ARX 03a can do on a world stage. For us, it's also reviving the tradition of the small British privateer sportscar team taking on the big manufacturer teams. We hope to achieve some respectable results and spring some surprises, and I have every faith that the project will be a huge success.”
Those sentiments are echoed by Leventis' team-mates Danny Watts and Jonny Kane, both of whom are convinced that Strakka is more than up to the sizeable task of taking on sportscar racing's big guns.
“I'm very excited about racing in the top class in the new FIA World Endurance Championship,” enthused Watts. “Racing on the world stage in LMP1 is a natural progression for us as a team, following our success in the LMP2 category over the last two years in the Le Mans 24 Hours and Le Mans Series.