29. October 2018
Laguna Seca: Max finished in seventh position
Strakka Racing enjoyed celebrations at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca as it rounded off a successful 2018 race season in style at the California 8 Hours, the finale of this year’s Intercontinental GT Challenge, with a race victory in the ProAm class.
After a season in which the squad competed in both the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup and the Intercontinental GT Challenge, during which time the team secured four second-place podium places in the Pro and Pro-Am categories, a victory in 2018 as a brand-new Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing team had yet to be realised.
All that changed today at Laguna Seca, when the ProAm trio of Nick Leventis, David Fumanelli and Felipe Fraga took a commanding class win in the #42. The result also comes just a few weeks after Nick Leventis, Chris Buncombe and Lewis Williamson were crowned Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup ProAm Drivers’ Champions.
In the Pro class, the #43 finished in seventh position, while the #44 took the chequered flag in ninth.
Car #43 (Pro, Mercedes-AMG Team Strakka Racing) – P7
Raffaele Marciello, Max Goetz, Lewis Williamson
The #43 was strong straight out of the box, taking provisional pole position on Saturday and then, in Super Pole, securing a front row start from second in the race. Championship contender Marciello started the race for the #43 crew and, 50 minutes into the first stint, overtook the #29 Audi for the lead of the race. After leading up until the half way point, the #43 had some fierce on track battles and position switches with the #8 Bentley, but was on top again until the six-hour mark when a safety car and pitstop period shook up the order, putting them in fifth. Despite battling hard to the bitter end and showing impressive pace, the #43 suffered a puncture 20 minutes before the end of the race and had to settle for seventh.
Nick Leventis, Strakka Racing Founder and Car #42 Driver: “I’m very happy for the whole of Strakka Racing to get the ProAm win. It was a pretty uneventful race for the #42; we just stayed out of trouble and kept it clean and brought it home in P1. It was an unlucky race for the Pro guys. We had an incident with the #44 under the safety car, which cost us potentially a very good result, and we were in the fight for the overall win with the #43 for most of the race and we were a bit unlucky, but that’s racing sometimes. It marred what could have been a double victory for the team but we are very happy to have the victory in ProAm and the Pro guys did a top job and should be proud of themselves. We go into the off-season knowing we’ve had a great first season with Mercedes-AMG. We’re really happy with the partnership and we look forward to bringing the cars out again at Bathurst.”
Jay Davenport, Strakka Racing Director: “I’m extremely proud of the whole team and what has been achieved this year. In our first season with Mercedes-AMG, we have already shown we can compete at the top and this has been realised today with our first class victory of the year with the #42 ProAm. We’ve been very close on a number of occasions, but to seal the deal here and end the season on a high is just fantastic. There is a feeling of disappointment that we couldn’t get a podium with the #43 here as it was looking very good for most of the race until a safety car during a pitstop window affected the order. That has also meant that Mercedes just missed out on the Manufacturer’s championship this year, which is a real shame. But I know we will be back bigger and better next season, determined to achieve more. Everyone played a key part this week, from the drivers of the #42, #43 and #44 to all the members of the team. We’ll enjoy ending the year on a high and then get back to work preparing for 2019.”