Former FIA WEC entrant Strakka Racing caused shock in the motorsport community by announcing an unexpected switch to Blancpain GT with a bunch of McLaren 650S GT3 machines. Taking the occasion of the collective tests at Paul Ricard, the British team confirmed the lineups for the 2017 season.
With four machines to be used in 2017, matching the size of programs from HTP Motorsport or Team WRT, it was expected that a big list would be announced, and as commonly is, they come from different fronts, bring with McLaren GT or not.
Team supremo Nick Leventis will still be in the driving duties Strakka young gun Lewis Williamson pairs with him for the Sprint Cup, with Craig Flemming joining the car for the Endurance Cup, racing in the Pro-Am Cup.
Johnny Kane, the other Strakka star, will be alongside Dutch driver Loris Hezemans, who comes from recent GT3 experience in ADAC GT Masters along with his TCR commitments. For the Endurance Cup, Kane will share the car with David Fumanelli and BTCC legend and recently GT convert Sam Tordoff.
Coming from the single seater scene to the McLaren Academy roster, Ben Barnicoat will join Alvaro Parente in the third Sprint Cup entry and Rob Bell and Côme Ledogar in the third Endurance Cup entry, as Barnicoat takes the place once occupied in Garage 59 by Australian legend Shane van Gisbergen.
Bell will also take a seat into the fourth Sprint Cup entry alongside another Academy driver, being Andrew Watson, who was in one of the Garage 59 entries last year. For the Endurance Cup, Watson welcomes in the F2 champion Dean Stoneman and former Mercedes AMG driver Jazeman Jaafar.
McLaren is set to defend both teams and drivers titles in the Endurance Cup, conquered with Garage 59.
PHOTO: McLaren GT