Strakka Racing is continuously growing motorsport business
Strakka Racing is a British racing team, founded in 2007 and based at the Silverstone Circuit, which currently competes in the Blancpain GT Series as McLaren customer team with McLaren 650S GT3 cars.
Previously, the team competed in different single-seater and sports car competitions, such were Le Mans Series, World Endurance Championship or World Series by Renault. The team’s greatest success was the LMP2 class victory at 24 hours of Le Mans in 2010.
Downhill ski racer turned to be race car driver
The team was founded by Peter Hardman and Nick Leventis to run cars in GT racing competitions. Hardman was already an accomplished racer whilst Leventis was in an early phase of a career, which he started in 2004. Before switching to motorsport, Nick was a respected downhill ski racer before a serious back injury forced him to retire.
Nick Leventis’ first competition was the Britcar series, where he was driving an ex-works BMW M3 GTR. Leventis also competed in classic sports car races in a Ferrari 330 P3. Leventis finished as a runner-up in the Britcar. The part of a series was the 24 hours of Silverstone, where the team finished sixth overall.
In November 2007, Leventis and Hardman participated in their first race with Aston Martin DBR9, the non-championship 6 hours of Vallelunga. They finished in the second place overall and the best among GT1 crews. Next year, the team entered Le Mans Series, competing with Aston Martin in GT1 class.
24h Le Mans debut with Aston Martin in 2008
Leventis and Hardman had their LMS debut at 1000 km of Spa, finishing 24th overall and fourth in GT1 class. In June, they debuted at 24 hours of Le Mans, under the banner of German Vitaphone Racing Team, which didn’t pass ACO’s technical regulations with their Maserati so two teams jointly raced with DBR9. The third driver in a car, which retired after 82 laps due prop shaft failure, was a Brazilian Alexandre Negrao.
Strakka Racing then participated in the LMS race at Silverstone, at their home track, partnered by Aston Martin works driver Darren Turner. They were again 24th overall and 4th in GT1 class.
The team also participated in few Britcar events, including Britcar 24 Hours at Silverstone. Leventis and Hardman were joined by Allan Simonsen and Christian Vann. They finished 13th overall.
Switching to prototypes in 2009
In 2009, Strakka Racing made a significant switch, entering the full season of the Le Mans Series with LMP1 prototype. It was the #23 Ginetta-Zytek 09S. Nick Leventis and Peter Hardman continued to drive for the team, joined by Danny Watts.
In a debut race at Circuit de Catalunya, they started from pole and finished in the fifth place. It remained the best result in the 2009 season and the team finished the championship in 12th place.
In June, at 24h Le Mans, the #23 Strakka’s car finished 21st overall and 14th in class. Following Le Mans race, Hardman decided to retire from racing but also to stepped down from his team principal role and he sold his interest in Strakka Racing to Leventis.
Runner-up spot for a dominant car in 2010
They started from pole and won the season-opening race at Circuit Paul Ricard. In the second race, at Spa, the team was again on the pole but retired from the race. The same thing repeated at Algarve Circut, where the #42 started from pole and retired. Those DNFs cost them a lot, as they finished second in the LMP2 final standings, just six points behind RML.
Until the end of the season, Strakka recorded two more class wins at Hungaroring and Silverstone. The race at Hungaroring was special as it was the first time that LMP2 car took the overall pole and victory, ahead of LMP1 cars.
Victory at 2010 Le Mans 24 hours
At 2010 Le Mans 24 hours, Strakka secured pole position in the LMP2 class, one second ahead of the Patron Highcroft Racing team with the same HPD ARX prototype. Nick Leventis, Danny Watts and Jonny Kane converted a pole into a victory, six laps ahead of a nearest LMP2 class rival. In the overall classification, they were fifth.
2011 – second place again in the Le Mans Series
In the 2011 Le Mans Series season, Strakka Racing was running an updated HPD ARX-01d LMP2 prototype, with the same three drivers in the #42 car. Without wins, with just two podiums, Leventis, Watts and Kane finished as the championship runner-ups in the LMP2 class, behind Greaves Motorsport. At 24 hours of Le Mans, they didn’t finish the race.
Running the LMP1 prototype in the FIA WEC
In 2012, Strakka Racing entered the revived FIA World Endurance Championship, running the #21 HPD ARX-03a in the LMP1 class. Strakka Racing was among five private teams which were fighting against two factory teams(Audi and Toyota) in the LMP1 class.
At the season-opening Sebring 12 Hours, Strakka finished 10th overall. The best result was the third place at 6 hours of Bahrain. At the end of the season, Strakka Racing was in the second place in the LMP1 Trophy for the private teams. At 24 hours of Le Mans, the #21 car was the best-qualified private LMP 1 car but problems slowed down a car it finished in the 30th place.
Just three races in the 2013 FIA WEC season
One more FIA WEC season with HPD ARX-03a LMP1 prototype followed in 2013. Together with Rebellion Racing, Strakka Racing remained one of only two private teams in the LMP1 class. Rebellion won that duel, as Strakka Racing participated in only two races, leaving the championship following the Le Mans race.
In those three races, the #21 car retired at Silverstone, finished 7th overall at Spa and sixth overall at Le Mans, as the best of non-factory teams.
Strakka Dome S103 skipped 2014, debuted in 2015
For the 2014 FIA WEC season, Strakka Racing announced a switch from the LMP1 category to LMP2 class. They planned to co-develop an LMP2 car with Japanese manufacturer Dome, naming it the Strakka Dome S103. However, an evolved issues with a car development caused a cancellation of Strakka Racing’s 2014 program.
The car finally debuted in the season-opening race of the 2015 FIA WEC season, at Silverstone. Nick Leventis, Jonny Kane and Danny Watts finished 8th overall and 3rd in LMP2 class. It remained their only podium that year. The team finished in the 6th place of the FIA Endurance Trophy for LMP2 teams. At Le Mans, the #42 car retired after 264 laps.
2016 FIA WEC season with Gibson LMP2 car
Following Le Mans, Strakka Racing switched to another LMP2 prototype, the Gibson 015S powered by Nissan’s 4.5L V8 engine. The team was running that car in the 2016 FIA WEC season. Alongside regular drivers Nick Leventis, Jonny Kane and Danny Watts, Lewis Williamson participated in four races, replacing Watts.
The team finished seventh in the LMP2 classification, without wins or podiums. At 24 hours of Le Mans, the #42 Strakka Gibson finished in the fourth place.
Four wins in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series
While participating in the World Endurance Championship, Strakka Racing participated few season in some competitions organised by Renault. In 2013, Nick Leventis purchased P1 Motorsport and renamed it to P1 by Strakka Racing. The team fielded two cars in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series for Will Stevens and Matias Laine.
With five podiums, Stevens was fourth in the points. In 2014, Will Stevens scored two wins for Strakka Racing, finishing sixth in the points. In 2015, Tio Ellinas won two FR 3.5 races for Strakka Racing, finishing fourth in the points. Another driver was Gustav Malja, who was ninth in the final standings.
Occasional participations in other Renault’s series
Another single-seater competition was Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup, which Strakka Racing entered in 2014 with two cars for Jake Hughes and Matt Graham. The team participated in only one race of the 2015 FR 2.0 Eurocup season.
Back to GT racing in 2017
For the 2017 racing season, Strakka Racing made a complete switch, returning to GT racing. The team became a partner of McLaren, fielding McLaren 650 GT3 cars in the Blancpain GT Series. The cars #42, #43, #44, #58 and #59 participated both in the Endurance Cup and the Sprint Cup, with eighteen drivers taking part in the championships, including team owner Nick Leventis.