Car #43 (Pro, Strakka Racing) – P10
Christina Nielsen, Adam Christodoulou, Dominik Baumann
The #43 crew of Nielsen, Christodoulou and Baumann all enjoyed their debut race with Strakka Racing at Laguna Seca. After qualifying in 15th place, the crew initially moved up to 14th at the start of today’s California 8 Hours with double IMSA Champion Nielsen at the wheel. By two and a half hours in Baumann was running in 11th and, by the half-way point, the trio were up to eighth, into a points-finishing position. Nielsen ran as high as seventh with two hours to go and, with an hour remaining on the clock, the team had settled into tenth and took the chequered flag in that position to secure the final point.
Car #44 (Pro, Mercedes-AMG Team Strakka Racing) – DNF
Gary Paffett, Tristan Vautier, Lewis Williamson
Paffett, Vautier and Williamson began from 12th position, after missing out on Super Pole Qualification position by just a tenth of a second. Paffett started the race for the trio, moving up to tenth at the start and then gaining another two places half an hour in to run in eighth. After a great first pitstop and, with Tristan Vautier at the wheel in the second stint, the #44 ran as high as fourth and the 2018 Champion put a huge amount of pressure on the third placed #34 approaching the two-hour mark as he battled for a podium position. Unfortunately, at the three-hour mark, when Lewis Williamson was at the wheel and running in fifth place, he started to suffer from power steering issues. The team were forced to retire the car three and a half hours into the race.
Christina Nielsen, #43: “I think it’s fair to say that it was a very strong field with some of the best GT drivers in the world racing here today, so we knew it was going to be a challenge. It was a learning curve for me but I feel we made a lot of progress and identified targets for next time. I’m happy that we were able to finish inside the points.”
Gary Paffett, #44: “It’s been an enjoyable experience but was a really disappointing early end to our race here at Laguna Seca. We had a power steering issue before the halfway point after running at the top early on. It’s such a shame after all the hard work and great driving the team had put in at the start of the race. Thanks to Tristan, Lewis, Strakka and Mercedes-AMG; now we’ll regroup and look ahead to Spa.”
Jay Davenport, Strakka Racing Director: “It hasn’t been the day we wanted but we are happy that we were able to finish in the points with the #43 on the first race with Christina, Adam and Dominik. The #44 had a great start and we were looking strong until we started experiencing steering issues during Lewis’ stint and were forced to retire it. We were encouraged by the pace that the car had up until that point and the drivers had done a fantastic job to be running where they were before the retirement after starting from 12th. We had great reliability with the #43 to bring it to the chequered flag and some fantastic work with pitstop strategy and speed in the pits, and we’ve all learnt a lot today. We want to be consistently aiming for podiums so we will regroup ahead of the Spa 24 Hrs, which is the toughest race on the calendar.”