It would be no understatement to say that Strakka Racing had a disappointing 2015, with a mid-season chassis change and run of bad luck, and as such, the Silverstone-based team will look to rectify that in the coming season.
Nick Leventis is preparing for his sixth consecutive season racing alongside long-standing co-drivers Jonny Kane and Danny Watts, as they target further gains throughout their first full-season campaign with the Gibson 015S Nissan in the FIA World Endurance Championship.
“Last season was tricky with the Dome [S103], which was a car we were building internally,” Leventis told Sportscar365 during last weekend’s season-opening Six Hours of Silverstone.
“We had a lot of problems with that which then forced us into a chassis change after Le Mans. We were straight into the flyaways so we didn’t really get a chance to get into the setup of the car.
“We were constantly on the back foot, but I think there was a certain element of bad luck for us. If you were to look at individual races like we have done over the winter, you can see that we could have achieved podiums.
“But this is a different year and we’re more prepared than last year, so I’m confident of good results.”
The Gibson that Strakka is campaigning this season is a car style that is becoming increasingly rare amongst LMP2 classes worldwide, in that it’s an open-top car.
The team struggled significantly last year, having finished third and fifth at Silverstone and Spa, and retiring at Le Mans. After the switch to the Gibson chassis, Strakka took two fifth place finishes, two sixth place finishes and a seventh in class.
Leventis said the plan is to turn the results around this year, although the difficulty for the British squad lies in the fact that the field is bigger than previously, with more teams seemingly capable of being championship contenders than ever before.
While Strakka may be the only team fielding an open-top car on the full-season entry list, Leventis isn’t concerned about this because of how much success the the Gibson has enjoyed already, including earming the European Le Mans Series title last year with Greaves Motorsport.
“The car is a proven package, and we’re much more on top of it this year than we were last year,” he said.
“We think the car is competitive and this has been shown in the European Le Mans Series and Le Mans last year and a couple of years before.
“We have shown there’s pace in the car. Perhaps over one lap, the newer models probably have an advantage over us but over a double or triple stint, the tires are really good with wear.
“We’re confident we can get really good results and as always we’re aiming for the championship.”
The trio finished fifth in class at Silverstone last weekend, but they did lead the class for 12 laps in what was clearly a very hotly-contested LMP2 battle.
However, even if the Gibson will work for Strakka in 2016, the team will have to source a different car looking ahead into 2017, as a result of the LMP2 rule changes which will outlaw open-topped prototypes.
“Internally we have chosen a direction we’re going,” he said. “I can’t talk about it too much at the moment but all will be announced in the forthcoming months.”