Strakka Racing has confirmed that 26-year-old British driver Lewis Williamson will represent the team at the remaining rounds of the FIA World Endurance Championship.
Williamson drove for the Silverstone-based LMP2 squad at the 6 Hours of the Nürburgring in July, finishing fourth on his series debut.
That impressive performance has led to his inclusion in the flyaway rounds, starting in Mexico on September 3. The series also passes through the United States, China and Japan before finishing at Bahrain International Circuit in November.
Williamson will share the #42 Gibson 015S-Nissan with regular drivers Jonny Kane and Nick Leventis.
“It’s amazing and it’s still not sunken in that I’ll be in the car again,” said Williamson. “I tried my very best in Germany to show that I could be both quick but also bring it home in one piece.”
“I definitely learnt a lot from that outing, particularly tyre management. My plan now is to build on that and get the podium that we narrowly missed out on.”
Williamson’s inclusion in the WEC season countdown means Strakka Racing has been forced to discontinue its Renault R.S.01 programme for 2016. The team had been running a one car effort for Williamson and Leventis in the single make Renault Sport Trophy. Despite not racing at the most recent event in Austria, Williamson still scored fifth in the Pro standings.
“With Lewis getting WEC outings and with our plans becoming clearer for 2017, we regretfully decided not to continue, “ confirmed team principal Dan Walmsley. “It’s such a brilliant car and series, we will miss it.”
Williamson got his first taste of LMP2 machinery at the WEC rookie test in Bahrain during the winter. Since then, he has been closely linked with the team’s world championship exploits through testing and development.
“Lewis has worked incredibly hard for Strakka over the last few years on our young driver program, and also played a part in setting up our 2.0 litre Formula Renault team,” Walmsley told The Checkered Flag.co.uk.
“He’s been a coach on our driver performance programme and has really earned his place in racing. It was sad when he was removed from the Red Bull junior scheme a few years ago but we’re delighted to have been able to give him the opportunity to show his worth.”
“His drive at the Nürburgring was very mature for someone who had never done a race longer than 45 minutes before. His general demeanour and attitude around the circuit was fantastic, helping the engineering crew with the car setup and helping the other drivers out with tips and lines. He’s a real team player and I am delighted with how he has shown himself.”
Walmsley also confirmed in a team release that Danny Watts, who was replaced by Williamson in the driver lineup, will still remain part of the Strakka organisation.
“Before the Nürburgring, Lewis had done no testing and had driven the car for just six laps in Bahrain last year. I think that underlines his potential and we’d like to see more of him as plans evolve for 2017. Danny remains part of Strakka and we’d all like to thank him for all his efforts on track, as well as off track to accommodate the changes,” he said.
The 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship continues its inter-continental journey with a maiden visit to Mexico City for round five on September 3.