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Intercontinental GT Challenge

Strakka Planning Blancpain GT, IGTC Return With Mercedes-AMG

Strakka set for Blancpain GT, IGTC next year; Leventis concerned on possible regs change…

Photo: Strakka Racing

Strakka Racing is set for a repeat of its 2018 program next season, with entries in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup and Intercontinental GT Challenge.

Team founder/driver Nick Leventis, who was recently crowned Blancpain GT Endurance Pro-Am champion, confirmed to Sportscar365 that the British team expects to copy its program from its first season as a Mercedes-AMG customer team.

It would likely involve a multi-car entry in both the expanded IGTC schedule and the European Blancpain GT enduros, including both all-pro cars and others with ams including Leventis himself.

“I see no reason why [our current program] should change,” he said. “We’re excited to go to Kyalami, and we know it well because we used to do a lot of World Series testing there over the winter.

“It’s something that I personally was behind. I love the circuit, I love the culture, so to go back to South Africa would be great.

“We’re coming here with one goal and that’s to win the championship.

“It’s our first year, and it’s very competitive so that’s why we love it. There’s a few things that we can do internally in the team to unlock a bit more pace in the car.

“The other guys running the Mercedes have been running them a few more years than us, so we’re learning. Our goal is to be the top team at Mercedes, for sure.

“We’ve got a long development program planned over the winter, and hopefully we’ll be able to demonstrate that at Bathurst.”

Leventis says he’s not worried about potential logistical difficulties between the two series, with the team having air-freighted the same Mercedes-AMG GT3s around the world for both Blancpain GT and IGTC races this year.

The team’s racing director Jay Davenport told Sportscar365 earlier in the year that it might have to purchase more cars if schedule changes made it too difficult to use the same cars for both championships in 2019.

“We had a long discussion with Mercedes [at the California 8 Hours] and there’s things we can do,” Leventis explained.

“The more serious logistical problem has just been solved because it was going to be Suzuka to Nürburgring which was going to be an Endurance round but that’s now changed and they’ve gone back to Barcelona, so that helps us out massively.

“I believe us and Bentley are in the same position so we’ll make it work.

“There’s ways round it. We could have one car rotating constantly and we could lease a car in various countries, that’s one option.

“It’s been alright this year, and we’ve got through it.”

Leventis “Concerned” About Potential IGTC Rule Change

Leventis said he’s worried about a possible change to the IGTC regulations next season, regarding the composition of Pro-Am driver lineups.

“I’m concerned about the proposed regulations for next year of having to run mandatory two Bronze drivers in Pro-Am,” he explained. “For me personally, I’d like to drive with two Silvers.

“We like to be here and measure ourselves against better drivers, and that’s what we’re pushing for, and you can also have an overall result on the overall grid.”

The change, which Sportscar365 has learned the SRO discussed with Leventis, Kenny Habul and Tim Pappas at the California 8 Hours, would bring IGTC Pro-Am driver grading regulations in line with the Blancpain GT Series.

The current rules allow for a maximum of either two Silver-rated drivers and one Bronze, or two Bronzes and a Platinum, with Leventis preferring the former.

Jake Kilshaw is a UK-based journalist. He is a graduate of Politics and International Relations.

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