Strakka Racing announced Tuesday that it will make the switch to the Blancpain GT Series next year, with a minimum four-car effort fielding McLaren 650S GT3 cars.
The British team, which has spent the last eight years in prototype racing, most recently in the FIA World Endurance Championship, will return to the GT ranks under its new partnership with McLaren GT, as first revealed by Sportscar365 last month.
One of the four cars will feature 2017 McLaren GT Academy drivers, as part of its new long-term deal with the manufacturer.
“Creating this partnership with such an esteemed brand as McLaren is, for me, the most exciting chapter and proud moment in Strakka’s ten-year history,” said team founder Nick Leventis.
“We are now working with one of the most successful and prestigious GT3 manufacturers with a commitment to build a long term future together.”
McLaren GT Managing Director Andrew Kirkaldy added: “[Strakka] has demonstrated its ambition from the outset with its hunger to win in one of the world’s toughest-contested championships such as the Blancpain GT Series, which is exactly what we hope for when approached by new customers.”
Driver lineups for Strakka’s cars will be confirmed following a series of track tests later this year.
“We aim to test a range of drivers including giving young talent an opportunity to show what they can do,” team principal Dan Walmsley said. “We’d like to offer a number of junior single seater drivers the opportunity to try a GT3 car and understand the potential it provides for a career.
“You’ve seen how effective Lewis Williamson has been making the switch to sports cars and he is revealing in the new challenge.
“We also want experienced drivers in the team, not only for performance but also as a benchmark for the Academy Drivers to work towards. Jonny Kane is driving better than ever and still one of the fastest guys in LMP2.”
While being exclusively in GT3 racing for next year, the team hasn’t ruled out a return to the WEC in the future.
Strakka had been one of the handful of teams evaluating a LMP1 Privateer program around the ACO’s revised regulations that were announced at Le Mans in June.
“The regs came too late to get a P1L car ready for 2017 and to stay in the championship next year would have meant acquiring a P2 car,” Walmsley said. “It is a fantastic championship so expect to see us back racing there again.”