THE VOICE OF NA­TIONAL RAC­ING JAMES “Cars look the same, but BTCC has changed ”

Motor Sport News - - Racing News - Malvern gets Bri­tish GT deal, page 8

For­mer Mclaren Au­tosport BRDC Award win­ner Lewis Wil­liamson will re­turn to rac­ing this year af­ter seal­ing a deal with Strakka Rac­ing to con­test the Re­nault Sport Tro­phy.

Wil­liamson, 26 from Dundee, will share one of the R.S.01 GT ma­chines with Strakka Rac­ing reg­u­lar Nick Leven­tis in the pan-euro­pean sportscar con­test. The tro­phy pro­gramme marks an ex­pan­sion for Strakka, which al­ready com­petes in the FIA World En­durance Cham­pi­onship’s LMP2 divi­sion and the For­mula V8 3.5 class. The Re­nault Sport Tro­phy shares a cal­en­dar with V8 3.5.

Wil­liamson has past ex­pe­ri­ence in the GP3 Se­ries, but hasn’t raced full-time since 2013. He said: “It’s been a long two years but this is the per­fect chance to get my ca­reer back on track and show what I can do.

“I’ve stayed in­volved in rac­ing through driver coach­ing and be­ing an en­gi­neer, hop­ing some­thing would come along. I’ve built a great re­la­tion­ship with Strakka and when Nick tested the car he loved it and asked me to share it with him. It works be­cause the team is al­ready at most of the tracks with the V8 3.5 cars.”

Each Re­nault Sport Tro­phy week­end con­sists of a twodriver en­durance race and then two shorter sprint events, al­low­ing Leven­tis and Wil­liamson to share the car.

Wil­liamson added: “I’ve never driven a GT car be­fore as the Mclaren test for the MABA Award came in the year af­ter I won it [2010]. It will take some adapt­ing to but the R.S.01 has good aero and grip, so my GP3 ex­pe­ri­ence should help a lot.

“This year is huge for me as I need to show my po­ten­tial. Strakka has a lot of other pro­grammes in in­ter­na­tional rac­ing and a good year could open up ex­tra op­por­tu­ni­ties.”

said Har­ri­son. “The Gen 3s are dif­fer­ent to the Coop­ers. You have twice the power, a se­quen­tial gear­box and much sharper brakes. You have to be more pre­cise with the car to get the most out of it.

“Al­though Coastal Rac­ing hasn’t run Gen 3s be­fore I know we can fig­ure the cars out quickly. Hav­ing Shane as a team-mate is good be­cause we’ll work to­gether on the set-up and two Cooper cham­pi­ons step­ping up to the top class shows the cham­pi­onship struc­ture is work­ing.

“I want to be in the top three this year, reg­u­larly fight­ing for wins and podi­ums. It’ll be tough as some driv­ers will be go­ing into their se­cond year with the Gen 3s, but I want to keep the mo­men­tum of win­ning a cham­pi­onship go­ing.”

Wil­liamson has seat Strakka will run one R.S.01 GT ma­chine

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