Silverstone-based Strakka Racing has announced that it will enter two Mercedes-AMG GT3s in the remaining four rounds of the 2019 Intercontinental GT Challenge.
Team owner Nick Leventis will, however, not be driving, due to business commitments clashing with 2019 race schedules. As a result, the 2018 Blancpain GT Endurance Series Pro-Am champion will take a sabbatical from driving duties for the 2019 season.
Looking at the two-car entry, the #42 Mercedes-AMG GT3 will be piloted by Gary Paffett, Tristan Vautier and Lewis Williamson.
37-year old Paffett, alongside teammates Luca Stolz and Maro Engel, drove the #77 Craft Bamboo Black Falcon Mercedes at the 2019 Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour. Paffett is currently driving the #17 HWA Racelab entry in the 2018/19 ABB Formula-E season.
Tristan Vautier has significant experience in sportscar racing, having first competed in the Blancpain Endurance Series in 2012. Vautier was the 2018 Intercontinental GT Challenge drivers champion, driving the #175 Mercedes-AMG team Sun Energy1 Racing Mercedes, alongside teammates Maro Engel and Maxi Buhk.
Lewis Williamson has long-standing allegiances with Strakka Racing, having first raced with the team as part of its 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship LMP2 campaign. Williamson finished at the top of Pro-Am standings the team’s 2018 Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup campaign, alongside teammates Chris Buncombe, David Fumanelli and team owner Nick Leventis.
Gary Paffett is delighted to be working with Strakka Racing for the remainder of the IGTC season.
“I’m really looking forward to starting the IGTC season,” said Paffett. “I competed at Bathurst with Black Falcon and Craft Bamboo and now I’m excited to get the rest of the season started with Strakka Racing and working with my new teammates. I’ve never been to Laguna Seca before so I’m looking forwards to driving on that track and can’t wait to get going. After that we go to Spa, which is a circuit that I know, and I’ve competed in the 24hrs a couple of times already. It’s going to be a good year doing this alongside my Formula E racing.”
The team’s #43 entry for the Laguna Seca, Spa, Suzuka and Kyalami will see Danish 2017 IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship GTD Champion Christina Nielsen joined by Adam Christodoulou and Dominik Baumann for all the rounds with the exception of Spa, for which Nielsen’s teammates have yet to be confirmed.
Nielsen is relatively new to the Mercedes-AMG GT3, having driven the car for the first time earlier this year. The IMSA WeatherTech champion is motivated by the new challenge.
“I’m thrilled to team up with a team and a brand that, for sure, has proved to be among the best in the business,” said Christina Nielsen. “I drove the Mercedes-AMG GT3 for the first time at Bathurst in February and I can’t wait to get back in that awesome car again. I like new challenges and this time I really found some. This is a new championship for me, a new car and a new team and I’m looking forward to it. There’s a lot of races ahead on tracks that I have never been at, but luckily the first race with Strakka will be at one of my favourites. I can’t wait to get back to Laguna Seca with this new squad.”
The California 8 Hours takes place at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca on March 28 – 30.