Date of Birth: 7 September
Place of Birth: Redditch, UK
Lives: Richmond, UK
Hobbies: Golf, training, reading, skiing
Peter Hardman boasts an extensive motor racing history as a multiple race winner and one of Britain’s most experienced international drivers. He has achieved a huge amount of variety over an impressive career, spanning the divide across historic and modern day racing, and driving a wide array of cars including single-seater, touring and sportscars. While maintaining a highly successful racing career, Peter successfully branched out into the domains of race team owner and driver manager.
Though a keen spectator of rallycross in his school days, Peter did not look set to embark on a racing career until a visit to a Jim Russell driving course at the age of 17. Taking to Mallory Park in a Formula Ford, Peter soon showed his potential by winning his second ever race with Jim Russell.
In 1980, Peter began a season of Formula Ford 1600, but was forced out after just three races with a broken foot. He returned to racing in 1983, once again in Formula Ford, but was an immediate success, winning the championship outright. Over the following five years, Peter fought the age-old problem of securing budget, but raced whenever he could in Formula Ford 2000 and British Formula Three, in which he raced four meetings during the 1986 and 1987 seasons.
Peter was thrown a lifeline in 1988 when he secured the prestigious “Racing for Britain” scholarship and took a drive in Formula Vauxhall Lotus alongside such names as Mika Hakkinen, Allan McNish and David Brabham. He won two races, finished fourth in the championship, and was honoured with the “Cellnet Award” in 1989. In 1990 and 1991, Peter raced for the Mansell Madgwick Formula 3000 team and following that decided to make the switch to sportscars and touring cars.
Becoming an unprecedented third-successive championship winner of the Pro-Sport 3000 (he secured series victories in 1992, 1993 and 1994), Peter was awarded the BRDC Silver Star in ’94 to credit his unparalleled result in British sportscar history. In 1993 Peter began to branch out into historic racing, and over the coming years he combined that with his modern car racing. In 1995 he added to his trophy cabinet by winning the Formula Classic and then competed in the Super Touring North American in 1996 with Honda. In the same year he became champion of the Ferrari Shell Historic, racing in the 330LMB.
It was in 1995 that Peter met a private collector who owns some of the world’s best historic racing cars, and was entrusted to race items of the precious collection, including the 1959 Le Mans-winning Aston Martin.
In 1997, Peter competed in the Daytona 24hrs, finishing sixth in the WSC Class. He also raced several historic meetings that year. The following season he took to the wheel of the McLaren F1 GTR, and also won two races at the Goodwood Revival Festival in the rare Ferrari 246S Dino sports car. In 1999, he competed in the British and Spanish GT championships with Lister, and combined that with historic racing and the Spa 24hr saloon car race. Over the following years Peter continued to compete in historic, GT racing and endurance meetings, driving a multitude of cars.
It was during this period that Peter began to extend his business interests and launched Elite Driver Management (EDM) to manage the career of emerging star driver Westley Barber in in Formula Ford, Formula 3 and Formula 3000. In 2005, in conjunction with Duller Motorsport, EDM achieved a class win in Group N in the Silverstone 24 Hours.
In late 2004, at the request of his longtime patron and friend, Peter took on the role of mentor/coach to Nick Leventis. Peter formed Strakka Racing from EDM in 2005, building the team from the ground up, with the goal of reaching the pinnacle of modern Sportscar racing—Le Mans 24 Hours—in five years. With Peter as team owner, team manager, driver, and mentor/coach to Nick, the team ran first in Group N with a BMW M3, then an ex-factory BMW M3 GTR in GT2, followed by GT1 in the Aston Martin DBR9 in 2008 Le Mans Series. Finally, Peter negotiated an assisted factory deal with Ginetta-Zytek for the move into LMP1, along with a Michelin tyre contract and an entry to Le Mans 24 Hours, for the 2009 season. In June 2009, Peter achieved his objective for Strakka with the team’s 21st place finish at Le Mans 24 Hours.
During his five-year tenure as team owner-driver, Peter worked with such drivers as Christian Vann, Alan Simonsson, and Darren Turner. He also continued to drive in both modern and historic races himself, competing in the Silverstone 24 Hour race in 2006, scoring a race win in the Le Mans Series at Donington in 2006, and winning the Gruppo Peroni Silver Cup in both 2006 and 2007. Peter’s historic drives during this period included the 1957 Le Mans-winning Aston-Martin DBR1; and Ferraris 300 LMB, P3, and 246 Dino. In 2008, after 11 years of competition at Goodwood—including various wins—Peter won the Goodwood RAC Tourist Trophy and was awarded Driver of the Meeting.
In July 2009, Peter sold Strakka Racing and stepped down as a driver for the team. He is now pursuing other business interests whilst continuing to compete in historic races for various clients.