The Next Generation With…Jordan Bird – Data Engineer (30.01.17)

In a new series to EnduranceAndGT.co.uk, Editor Andy Lloyd talks to the next generation of prospective motorsport professionals. He begins this week with a conversation with Norfolk-based data engineer and student Jordan Bird. In 2016, Jordan worked as data engineer with Ebor GT, who contested the British GT Championship with a Maserati GT MC GT4 piloted by Abbie Eaton and Marcus Hoggarth. At the end of its debut season, the York-based team finished 6th in the GT4 Teams Championship with Eaton and Hoggarth finishing second in the GT4 Pro Am standings.

What first interested you pursuing a career in motorsport?

It started when I went to my first race at Brands Hatch in 2007 as a spectator with my father. I enjoyed the sound and the spectacle of motor-racing and I got talking to a few of the drivers and asked them questions about their cars. In 2008/09 I met Duncan Cameron and Matt Griffin, drivers at MTech, and I got on well with them. Then, in 2012/13, when Duncan and Matt drove for AF Corse I followed them and spent time in the pits.

It was being in the garages that gave me the opportunity to see motorsport from ‘behind-the scenes’.  I got talking to some of the engineers, saw what they did and it was then I decided to see if I could pursue this as a career. I asked some of my engineer contacts how I should move forward and their advice was to choose a part of the car and develop some specialist knowledge. I already had an interest in IT and I enjoyed motor racing so I decided to merge the two and focus on data?

Continue reading The Next Generation With…Jordan Bird – Data Engineer (30.01.17)

Automobile Club De L’Ouest Extends Initial Invitations For the 2017 24 Hours of Le Mans (24.01.17)

The Automobile Club de L’Ouest, organiser of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, has issued the first 14 invitations for the 2017 running of the French classic.

Following the conclusion of the 2016/17 Asian Le Mans Series, the ACO is now in a position to extend its initial invitations.

For those new to endurance racing, participation at the 24 Hours of Le Mans is solely at the invitation of the ACO. Participation, and particularly success, in an ACO-organised or sanctioned series brings with it the possibility of an invitation to enter the great race.

Continue reading Automobile Club De L’Ouest Extends Initial Invitations For the 2017 24 Hours of Le Mans (24.01.17)

Three More Invitations Decided For 2017 24 Hours Of Le Mans After Asian Le Mans Series Sepang Thriller (23.01.17)

Three further invitations to the 2017 running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans were decided after a thrilling finale to the 2016/17 Asian Le Mans Series with the 4 Hours of Sepang.

In the LMP2 class the #25 Algarve Pro Racing Ligier JS P2, driven by Andreas Pizzitola, Andrea Roda and Aidan Read, took its first victory of the season, ahead of the #8 Race Performance Judd-powered ORECA 03R, piloted by Giorgio Maggi, Struan Moore and Fabien Schiller.

Taking the third podium place was the Algarve Pro Racing sister car, the Judd-powered #24 Ligier JS P2 with the driver line-up of Michael Munemann, Tacksung Kim and Mark Patterson.

The LMP2 class battle was thrown open after the retirement of the series-leading #35 Nissan-powered Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA 03R at the end of the first hour.

“It was a strange start, with a lot of crashes and so we basically started from last position,” said Andrea Roda, driver of the race-winning #25 Algarve Pro Racing entry. “We had to deal with the traffic from the GT and LMP3, but I tried to avoid any issues and crashes. I tried to push as much as I could for two stints. We had very good pace. The car was awesome.”

Aidan Read, making his LMP2 debut in the Asian Le Mans Series, said:” It was a great stint for me and I was very happy. It was a massive challenge coming here for my first time in an LMP2. I had a great time out in the car. The speed was good. As we saw, the start was interesting and mixed up the race completely. From there it was about running consistently.”

Tockwith Motorsports, who arrived at Sepang four points behind the LMP3 series leaders ARC Bratislava, took the class victory and with it the LMP3 Championship title. The Tockwith Motorsports driver line-up of Nigel Moore and Phil Hanson were chased to the chequered flag, however by the #85 G-Print by Triple 1 Racing Ligier JSP3 driven by Hanss Lin and Shaun Thong Wei Fung.

Nigel Moore was delighted with the victory.

“It was great,” said Moore. “We had a pretty good start and ended up leading the race overall for quite a few laps. There was an incident on the first corner in the first lap and we avoided it as best we could. The team did an absolutely fantastic job.”

“Like Nigel said, brilliant result, really happy winning the championship,” said fellow driver Phil Hanson. “That last stint was exciting as well. A big thank you to everyone at Tockwith Motorsports, all the mechanics. Also to Ligier. It’s been a quick car throughout the year.”

Victory in the GT class went to the #31 Audi Team Korea Audi R8 LMS GT3 driven by Kyung Ouk You, Marchy Lee and Alex Yoong. The #31 car was chased to the line by the #3 DH Racing Ferrari F488 GT3 piloted by Rino Mastronardi, Alex Riberas and Olivier Beretta. However it was the #5 DH Racing Ferrari F488 GT3 which secured the GT Championship with its fifth place.

Invitations have now been extended to Algarve Pro Racing, Tockwith Motorsports and DH racing to compete in the French classic this coming June.

The Asian Le Mans Series next gathers for the Sprint Cup for which the first round will be held on April 7 – 9 at Sepang International Circuit.

Graff Confirms Five Out Of Six Drivers for 2017 European Le Mans Series LMP2 Entries (22.01.17)

Graff, who finished second in the LMP3 Teams Standings in the 2016 European Le Mans Series, has confirmed five out of its six drivers for the upcoming season.

The Morangis-based team announced this week that the trio of Eric Trouillet, Paul Petit and Enzo Guibbert, who finished second in the LMP3 Teams and Drivers Standings will again team up to contest the 2017 series.

In the second car, Graff has elected to go for youth over experience and has selected Franck Matelli and James Allen as two of the three drivers for its second ORECA 07.

Corsican-born Matelli began his racing career in 2007 and has had some experience in prototype racing after contesting the Magny-Cours round of the 2016 VdeV Endurance Series with Panis-Barthez Compétition in its Ligier JS P3

Australian James Allen has spent the last three seasons competing in Formula Renault and enjoyed a busy season in 2016, contesting both the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup and Nothern European Championship. In the Eurocup, Allen finished 17th in the drivers standings with his best result a 5th place in the first race at Spa-Francorchamps. In the Northern European Cup Allen finished the season on a high with victory at the Hockenheimring, pushing him to 7th overall in the drivers standings.

Team manager Pascal Rauturier is very happy with the announcements this week.

“We are delighted to be able to announce our drivers as early as possible,” said Rauturier. “By passing one of our LMP3 crews into LMP2, we play the trump card. All three are ready to move to the next level. Youth will be at the centre of the second crew. We will now be able to begin our tests in order to be as sharp as possible for this exciting season.”

The 2017 European Le Mans Series begins with the Official test on March 29 followed by the opening round at Silverstone on April 15.

Yvan Muller Racing Purchases NORMA M30 LMP3 For 2017 European Le Mans Series (21.01.17)

Following Norma Auto Concept founder Norbert Santos’ interview in December 2016 where he commented that the first Norma M30 LMP3 chassis would be ready in January 2017, the Saint- Pé-de-Bigorre manufacturer has announced that Yvan Muller Racing has purchased an M30 LMP3 in expectation of an entry into the 2017 European Le Mans Series.

“Ever since Norma announced that it was joining the LMP3 field, I’ve been keeping an eye on its developments,” said Team Principal Muller. “We also visited Norma to find out about the work carried out on the M30. Even though it will obviously be a new car, I am sure it will be really successful. Just a few weeks ago I wasn’t even thinking about adding a new LMP3 to fleet for the new season but my team and partners really wanted to enter a new car into the ELMS so we decided to do so.”

“With two different cars, we certainly do not take the easy route for this new season, but it is also a way not to put all our eggs in the same basket,” continued Muller.

Yvan Muller Racing recently announced that Alexandre Cougnaud and Antoine Jung will join the driver line-up for the 2017 season.

Norbert Santos said: “Welcoming Yvan’s team into the Norma family is great news for us. It’s really important for Norma that experienced and ambitious teams able to put their trust in us. I know that Yvan will do what he needs to do, to demonstrate the car’s full potential right from the first race, both in terms of technical ability as well as with the driver line-up he will announce.”

The 2017 European Le Mans Series season opens with the official test at Monza on March 29 followed by the opening round at Silverstone on April 15.

All To Play For As 2016/17 Asian Le Mans Series Reaches Its Finale At Sepang (20.01.17)

The 2016/17 Asian Le Mans Series reaches a conclusion on January 21 and 22 as 28 cars head for the Sepang International Circuit near Kaula Lumpur, Malaysia.

With prizes of invitations to the 2017 running of the 24 Heures du Mans, competition has been intense this season and, after three races, titles are still in contention in all classes, except CN.

The #35 Jackie Chan DC Racing Nissan-powered Oreca 03R, driven by Ho-Pin Tung, Gustavo Menezes and Thomas Laurent, leads the LMP2 class on 69 points after victories at Zhuhai and Buriram and a second place at Fuji. The #25 Algarve Pro Racing Ligier JS P2, with the driver line-up of Andrea Pizzitola, Andrea Roda and Aidan Read is, however, only 19 points behind after a pair of third places at Zhuhai and Fuji and a second place in the previous round at Buriram. Algarve Pro Racing also occupies third place in the LMP2 standings as its #24 Nissan-powered Ligier JSP2 is only five points behind its sister, Judd-powered, car.

Continue reading All To Play For As 2016/17 Asian Le Mans Series Reaches Its Finale At Sepang (20.01.17)