Strakka Racing today announced it will expand its GT activities beyond Europe in 2018, forming a new partnership with Mercedes-AMG which will see them carry Performance Team status for the German marque. The Silverstone-based team will run three new Mercedes-AMG GT3s in the Intercontinental GT Challenge alongside Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup.
Strakka will debut with the Mercedes-AMG GT3 in February at the opening round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge at Bathurst, Australia with subsequent rounds at Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Suzuka, Japan and Laguna Seca, USA. It marks a return to racing beyond Europe for the team after a season competing in Blancpain GT Series Sprint and Endurance Cups. “It’s great for Strakka to be back on the world stage and competing at venues such as Bathurst and Laguna Seca,” says team founder Nick Leventis. “Together with a return to the Endurance Cup, we’ve a got an exciting calendar next season and a partner in Mercedes-AMG that will enable us to fight for podiums and wins.”
The switch to the Mercedes-AMG GT3 follows a challenging debut season in the GT3 category running a quartet of McLaren 650S GT3s. “Regrettably, we suffered a range of issues that prevented us from being competitive in 2017 and despite a desire for stability, a change was necessary. After a thorough review, we feel the opportunity to become a Performance Team for Mercedes-AMG is the perfect platform for the future of Strakka.”
The first of the three 2018 chassis will be delivered to the Strakka Racing workshops in November before testing begins at the end of the year. “We recently tested the Mercedes-AMG GT3 at Paul Ricard and I instantly felt at home, it gives you everything you need in an endurance car. I’m looking forward to getting underway with our winter testing plan,” adds Leventis. “From what we saw this year, the Mercedes-AMG GT3 has been quick across a range of circuits and has shown supreme reliability in the long-distance events that will make up our programme in 2018.”
Drivers have yet to be announced with racing director Jay Davenport confirming that the team is talking to both existing and new drivers for the programme which will also include drivers from the factory Mercedes-AMG roster. “From initial discussions, there is real interest in the programme, especially with the Intercontinental GT Challenge,” says Davenport. “Our tie up with Mercedes-AMG is something which we have kept extremely close to our chest. To be able to announce this today means we now have the full package in place.”
Stefan Wendl, head of Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing adds “It is a pleasure to welcome Strakka Racing in our Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing family. I am fully convinced this team has everything in place to build up a successful future with the Mercedes-AMG GT3. Strakka Racing will be a great ambassador for our brand at race events worldwide, especially competing in the increasingly significant Intercontinental GT Challenge.”