2017 European Le Mans Series Set For Silverstone Lift-Off! (12.04.17)

The 2017 European Le Mans Series is set for its traditional season-opening round with the 4 Hours of Silverstone on Saturday April 15 of the Easter Bank Holiday Weekend.

35 cars will take to the grid, with 12 in the premier LMP2 class, 17 in the ever-popular LMP3 class and six in the LMGTE category, a slight reduction from 2016’s bumper grid.

With G-Drive Jota Sport deciding not to defend its 2016 title, there is everything to play for in the new-look all-Gibson-powered LMP2 class.

DragonSpeed returns with its new ORECA 07 and maintains its 2016 driver line-up of Henrik Hedman, Nicolas Lapierre and Ben Hanley.

Joining the ORECA ranks is the G-Drive racing ORECA 07, this year driven by Memo Rojas, Ryo Hirikawa and Léo Roussel. Graff moves up to LMP2 class in 2017 with a pair of ORECA 07s. The #39 car will be driven by Eric Trouillet, Paul Petit and Enzo Guibbert. The sister #40 entry is piloted by James Allen, Franck Matelli and Richard Bradley.

Three Dallara P217s will be on the grid in 2017. Racing Team Nederland has entered its #29 car with 1988 Le Mans-winner Jan Lammers and Frits Van Eerd as the drivers currently named. High Class Racing is bringing its #49 Dallara P217 with Dennis Anderson and Anders Fjordbach sharing the driving duties. Italian team Cetilar Villorba Corsa has entered the #47 Dallara. Roberto Lacorte, Giorgio Sernagiotto and Andrea Belicchi will drive.

Panis-Barthez Compétition returns in LMP2 with its Ligier JSP217. For 2017 Fabien Barthez and Timothé Buret are joined by Nathanaël Berthon. Algarve Pro Racing has entered its #25 Ligier, this year driven by Andrea Roda, Matthew McMurry and Andrea Pizzitola. Patrice and Paul Lafargue also return with IDEC Sport Racing in the #28 Ligier JSP217, sharing the driving duties in 2017 with David Zollinger.

After its success last year in the LMP3 class, United Autosports has entered the LMP2 category with a Ligier JSP217. William Owen, Hugo de Sadeleer and Filipe Albuquerque will pilot the #32 entry.

Tockwith Motorsports, who contested two rounds of the European Le Mans Series in the LMP3 class in 2016, graduate to LMP2 for the new season and completes the line-up of Ligier JSP217s. Nigel Moore and Philip Hanson will drive.

The LMP3 class sees three fewer cars on the grid for 2017. Ligier again dominates the manufacturers with all but two of the class racing the Nissan-powered JS P3 chassis. There are four two-car teams on the entry list.

After dominating the category in 2016, United Autosports returns with two entries. The #2 car will be driven by John Falb and Sean Rayhall with Mark Patterson, Wayne Boyd and Christian England sharing the driving duties in the sister #3 entry.

Duqueine Engineering also returns with two entries. The driver line-up shares one driver who started the season with the team last year. David Droux will drive the #7 entry, sharing the driving duties with Antonin Borga and Nicolas Schaltz. The #8 entry will be piloted by Vincent Beltoise and Henry Hassid.

Eurointernational has two drivers returning from the season-starting line-up of 2016. Giorgio Mondini returns in the #11 entry, partnered with Davide Uboldi. Andrea Dromedari is joined by Marco Jacobini and Riccardo Dona in the #12 car.

M.Racing-YMR has the distinction of entering chassis from two different manufacturers in the class. The #18 entry is its Ligier JS P3 and will be driven by Alexandra Cougnaud, Antoine Jung and Romano Ricci with the sister #19 Norma M 30 to be piloted by Yann Ehrlacher, Ricky Capo and Erwin Creed.

The remaining Norma M 30 entrant is Oregon Team with its driving line-up of Davide Roda, Andres Mendez and Dario Capitiano.

Eight further teams are one-car entries and all are running Ligier chassis. Cool Racing by GPC have Iradj Alexander and Gino Forgione behind the wheel. The #5 By Speed Factory car will be piloted by Tim Müller, Jürgen Krebs and Tristan Viidas. The #6 360 Racing entry has an all-British driver line-up up of Terrence Woodward, Ross Kaiser and Anthony Wells. AT Racing welcomes the Alexander Talkanitsas, Snr and Jnr, to be partnered by Mikkel Jensen in the #9 car.

Inter Europol Competition returns with its #13 Ligier JS P3 with Martin Hippe joining Jakub Smiechowski behind the wheel in 2017. John Farano and Alex Kapadia join Morten Dons at RLR MSport in the #15 entry.

Panis Barthez Competition are the second of two teams in 2017 with entries in both LMP2 and LMP3 categories. Its #16 entry will be driven by Eric Debard, Simon Gachet and Théo Bean.

Finally, in the LMP3 class, Ultimate returns with its #17 entry driven by an unchanged line-up from twelve months ago, namely Mathieu Lahaye, Jean-Baptiste Lahaye and François Heriau.

The LMGTE class is slightly smaller than 2016, with six entries on the list for the opening round of Silverstone. Two Ferrari F488 GTEs are entered by Spirit of Race with the #51 to be driven by Gianluca Roda, Giorgio Roda and ex-JMW Motorsport driver Andrea Bertolini. The sister car, the #55, has Duncan Cameron and Matt Griffin, who are also contesting the 2017 British GT Championship, alongside Aaron Scott.

JMW Motorsport return with its venerable Ferrari F458 Italia, to be driven by Robert Smith, Rory Butcher and Jody Fannin.

The sole Porsche entry this year is the #77 Proton Competition 911 RSR (991) with the driver line-up of Christian Reid, Joël Camathias and Matteo Cairoli.

Two Aston Martin V8 Vantages will be on the grid. 2016 British GT and Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup champions TF Sport has Salih Yoluc, Euan Hankey and Nicki Thiim behind the wheel. Returning to defend their title, Beechdean AMR is back with Andrew Howard, Ross Gunn and factory-driver Darren Turner completing the driving line-up.

10-minute qualifying sessions for the 4 Hours of Silverstone begin at 14:05 local time on Friday April 14 with the flag dropping for the start of the first round of the 2017 series on Saturday April 15 at 14:30 local time.

The EGT Friday Sportscar Round-Up (07.04.17)

Photo Above: Paren Raval

With the season about to kick into high-gear, the past week has seen some excellent on-track action and, with racing on both sides of the Atlantic this weekend, sportscar enthusiasts will have difficult choices to make as to what to follow.

The HANKOOK 24H SILVERSTONE took place last weekend for the opening round of the 2017 TOURING CAR ENDURANCE SERIES and, although the field was slightly smaller than some might have wished for, the racing as close and intriguing as ever.

Photo: Paren Raval
Photo: Paren Raval

TCR cars dominated the top of timing-screens this year and it was the #100 Team Bleekemolen SEAT Leon TCR V2 SEQ, driven by Sebastiaan Bleekemolen, Melvin de Groot, Rob Smith and Rene Steenmetz, who took the class and outright win. Second in class was the #122 Pit Lane Competizione Audi RS LMS TCR DSG piloted by Alberto Vescovi, Roberto Ferri, Zach Arnold, Enrico Bettera and John Fillipi.

The #303 Red Camel-Jordans.nl SEAT Leon TCR V3 DSG was running strongly but suffered a rear steering-arm breakage followed by turbo issues and oil pressure problems. The car was eventually retired.

The EnduranceandGT.co.uk report on the HANKOOK 24H SILVERSTONE can be found here.

The FIA World Endurance Championship visited the Autodromo Nazionale Monza for over the weekend of April 1 – 2 for the season-opening Prologue.

Car Collective Shoot: Prologue Monza - Autodromo Nationale Monza - Monza - Italia

Photo: John Rourke/AdrenalMedia.com

27 of the full-season 28 entries were present on the grid for five test sessions, spread over the two days, with three being held on Saturday, including a night session, and two on Sunday.

Toyota Gazoo Racing topped the weekend’s timesheets in the LMP1 class when the #8 TS050 – Hybrid with Nicolas Lapierre at the wheel, driving alongside Anthony Davidson and Kazuki Nakajima, put in a 1:30.547 on the final session of the weekend.

The all-Gibson-powered LMP2 class was led by Mattieu Vaxivière in the #28 TDS Racing ORECA 07 who lapped in 1:36.078 on the Sunday morning session.

Porsche GT Team must be very satisfied with its performance over the weekend after Michael Christensen in the #92 Porsche 911 RSR was quickest in the LMGTE Pro category in the #92 Porsche 911 RSR.

The time-sheets for LMGTE Am were led by Miguel Molina in the Spirit of Race #54 Ferrari F488 GTE who lapped in 1:49.483 on Sunday morning.

The EnduranceandGT report on the FIA World Endurance Championship Prologue can be found here.

This weekend sees a packed programme of track-action from both sides of the Atlantic.

In Europe the third round of the 24H ENDURANCE SERIES takes place in Austria with the 12H RED BULL RING 2017. 35 cars are entry list, seven in A6 Pro, 8 in A6 Am, 5 in 991, 6 in SP2, 5 in SP3-GT4, 3 in TCR and 1 in A3.

12HRBR a.a. 17.04.07

Timetable as follows (all times local):

Friday 07.04.17:

Q1 (A6, 991, SP2): 10:15 – 11:00
Q2 (SP3-GT4, TCR, A3, A2, D1) 11:10 – 11:55

Race (Part 1): 14:15 – 17:45

Saturday 08.04.17:

Race (Part 2): 09:15 – 17:45

Live timing for the 12H RED BULL RING 2017 can be found here.

The second VLN race of 2017, the 42. DMV 4-Stunden Rennen, takes place on the Nürburgring Nordschleife on Saturday April 8. More than 190 teams are entered with more than 30 GT3 cars.

The VLN series, always popular in Europe, has been enhanced for 2017 with the addition of English-language commentary which was very well received for the first round.

The 42. DMV 4-Stunden-Rennen starts at 12:00 local time on Saturday April 8 and more information from the VLN web-site can be can be found here.

The third round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship takes place this weekend with the Bubba Burger Sports Car Grand Prix at Long Beach.

Timetable as follows:

Friday 07.04.17:

Qualifying (GTD): 16:20 16:35 EDT
Qualifying (GTLM): 16:40 – 16:55 EDT
Qualifying (P): 21:00 – 21:15 EDT

Saturday 08.04.17:

Race: 16:05 – 17:45 EDT

More information including links to live timing and IMSA Radio can be found here.

We also have the third round of the Pirelli World Challenge, the Grand Prix at Long Beach brought to you by Optima Batteries.

Timetable:

Saturday 08.04.17:

Qualifying (GTA): 09:10 – 09:25 EDT
Qualifying (GT): 09:30 – 09:45 EDT

Sunday 09.04.17:

Race: 10:00 – 10:50 EDT

There is no live streaming for this race as coverage is being provided by the CBS Sports Network. However a link to the excellent live timing can be found here.

Wherever and whatever you are watching, listening, marshalling or racing, have a great weekend!

FIA World Endurance Championship Prologue – Toyota Gazoo Racing Quickest (05.04.17)

Photo: John Rourke John Rourke/AdrenalMedia.com

The season-opening Prologue to the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship took place over the weekend of April 1 – 2 at Autodromo Nazionale Monza.

27 of the full-season 28 entries were present on the grid for five test sessions, spread over the two days. Three were held on Saturday April 1, including a night session, with two on Sunday.

Mixed weather conditions allowed teams to test both dry and wet set-ups as the Saturday evening and Sunday sessions were all rated officially wet sessions.

In the premier LMP1 class it was the #8 Toyota Gazoo Racing TS050 – Hybrid which topped the weekend’s time-sheets after Nicolas Lapierre, driving alongside Anthony Davidson and Kazuki Nakajima, put in 1:30.547 in the afternoon of the second day. The new-for-2017 Toyota TS050 – Hybrid is clearly very competitive as Davidson put in the second quickest time of the weekend, also on Sunday afternoon, when he lapped the Italian circuit in 1:30.809 on the his 11th lap out of 23.

#8 TOYOTA GAZOO RACING / JPN / Toyota TS050 - Hybrid - Hybrid / Anthony Davidson (GBR) / Kazuki Nakajima (JPN) / Nicolas Lapierre (FRA) - Prologue Monza - Autodromo Nationale Monza - Monza - Italia
#8 TOYOTA GAZOO RACING / JPN / Toyota TS050 – Hybrid – Hybrid / Anthony Davidson (GBR) / Kazuki Nakajima (JPN) / Nicolas Lapierre (FRA) – Prologue Monza – Autodromo Nationale Monza – Monza – Italia

In LMP2 Matthieu Vaxivière, in the #28 TDS Racing Gibson-powered ORECA 07, finished the weekend quickest in class with a 1:36.078 which he put in on the Sunday morning. Bruno Senna, in the #31 Vaillante Rebellion ORECA 07 was less than two-hundredths of a second slower with a 1:36.094 which the Brazilian driver had clocked on the first session of the weekend.

Less than half a second covered the top five in the LMP2 class which suggests that racing in the new chassis with Gibson powerplants will be highly competitive in 2017.

Porsche GT Team must be very satisfied with its performance over the weekend. Michael Christensen was quickest in the LMGTE Pro category in the #92 Porsche 911 RSR with a 1:47.379 set on the first Saturday session, closely followed by his driving partner, Kevin Estre who set a 1:47.507 on the Sunday morning.

The #91 Porsche GT Team 911 RSR was the second quickest LMGTE Pro car with a 1:47.515 set by Fred Makowiecki on the first session of the second day.

Ford Chip Ganassi team UK were third quickest but maybe have not yet shown all the speed in the Ford GT. Harry Tincknell set a 1:47.530 on Sunday afternoon to finish third quickest in class.

Sprit of Race were quickest in LMGTE Am with the #54 Ferrari F488 GTE lapping in 1:49.843 in the hands of Miguel Molina on Sunday morning. Porsche must again be happy with its performance in the LMGTE ranks with the #86 Gulf Racing UK Porsche 911 RSR (991) lapping in 1:50.010 with Benjamin Barker at the wheel on the first session of the second day.

The scene is now set for the first round of 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship, the 6 Hours of Silverstone on April 16.

Team Bleekemolen Win Hankook 24H SILVERSTONE 2017 (02.04.17)

Photo Above: Paren Raval.

At the end of a fascinating race, it was the #100 Team Bleekemolen Seat Leon TCR V2 SEQ, driven by Sebastiaan Bleekemolen, Melvin de Groot, Rob Smith and Rene Steenmetz, who drove the final stint, that crossed the line to win the TCR class and outright victory in the Hankook 24H SILVERSTONE, the opening round of the 2017 TOURING CAR ENDURANCE SERIES.

Winner a.a. 17.04.02

Photo: 24Htceseries.com

Second in class, and second outright after a consistent race, was the #122 Pit Lane Competizione Audi RS LMS TCR DSG driven by Alberto Vescovi, Roberto Ferri, Zach Arnold, Enrico Bettera and John Filippi. Third place went to the #217 Modena Motorsports Seat Leon TCR V3 DSG, piloted by Marcel Tija, Christian Chia, Michael Soeryadjaya, Benny Simonsen and Phillippe Descombes.

The #100 Team Bleekemolan entry had led for most of the night when a shock absorber issue caused the car spend nearly a quarter of an hour in the garage, allowing the #216 Modena Motorsports entry to take the lead. The #216 entry then hit its own suspension problems and, after repair, lost places that it was unable to make up and eventually pulled in to the garage from which it didn’t emerge.

The 2017 running of the Hankook 24H SILVERSTONE was a race of attrition with the front-running #303 Red Camel-Jordans.nl Seat Leon TCR V3 DSG suffering a rear steering-arm breakage after contact with another car. The resulting repair was then followed by turbo issues and, finally, oil pressure problems. As a result, the car was retired.

The CUP1 class was won by the #154 QSR BMW M235i Racing Cup entry driven by Jimmy de Brueker, Mario Timmers, Rodrigue Gillion and Jeffrey van Hooydonck. Second in class, and eight laps behind, was the #151 Sorg Rennsport BMW M235i Racing Cup entry piloted by the all-English driver line-up of Paul Abercrombie, William Lucas, Kye Wheatley, Rob Ellice and Sam Tordoff. Third in class was the #156 RMA Track Days – JJ Motorsport BMW M235i Racing Cup entry with another all-English driver line-up of Leyton Clarke, Tony Rodriguez, James Little and Jason Baker.

The SP3-GT4 class was won by the #136 Moss Motorsport UK BMW E46 M3 piloted by Mike Moss, Chris Murphy, Scott Adam and Barry McMahon with the #178 CWS Ginetta GT4 in second. CWS team owner Colin White was not impressed with the #136 entry’s ability to switch classes during the race and, as a result, cause the CWS team to change strategies, putting strain on its car with a resulting mechanical failure.

178a.a.17.04.02

Photo: Paren Raval

The #52 Team Sally Racing Renault Clio Cup 111 driven by Martin Sally Pedersen, Peter Obel, Mads Christensen and Steffan Jusjong won the A2 class.

Perhaps the most interesting result from the race was the A3 class. The class winner, the #176 Synchro Motorsport Honda Civic Type R, driven by Alyn James, Daniel Wheeler and Martin Byford , had suffered an engine failure early in the race which led to a complete engine change. Normally that would have been enough to put a car out of contention but, due to issues suffered by other competitors, the #176 car made its way back up the standings to eventually lead the class with two hours to go. Second in class was the #138 Vanquish Motorsport Seat Leon Supercopa driven by Paul Plant, Simon Cresswell, Chris Yarwood and J Littman. The #138 had damper issues on Sunday morning which put it out of cintention for the class victory.

The second round of the 2017 TOURING FAR ENDURANCE SERIES powered by Hankook will be the Hankook 12H MAGNY-COURS on April 21-22.

24H SERIES 24H SILVERSTONE – Morning Warm-Up – Gallery (01.04.17)

Images from Morning Warm-Up from the 24H Silverstone.

All Photos: Paren Raval (http://parendigital.photoshelter.com/index)

 

#71 Cor Euser racing MW M3
#71 Cor Euser racing BMW M3
The #110 Lestrup Racing Team VW Golf TCR SEQ
#110 Lestrup Racing Team VW Golf TCR SEQ
#174 Endurance Autosport Lotus Exige
#174 Endurance Autosport Lotus Exige
#110 Lestrup Racing VW Golf GTI TCR SEQ
#110 Lestrup Racing VW Golf GTI TCR SEQ
#217 Modena Motorsports Seat Leon TCR DSG
#217 Modena Motorsports Seat Leon TCR DSG
#138 Vanquish Motorsport Seat Leon Supercopa
#138 Vanquish Motorsport Seat Leon Supercopa
#234 Team ABA with Rollcentre Racing BMW M3
#234 Team ABA with Rollcentre Racing BMW M3
#144 RS Connect Seat Leon Cup Racer V1 DSG
#144 RS Connect Seat Leon Cup Racer V1 DSG
#178 CWS Ginetta G55 GT4
#178 CWS Ginetta G55 GT4
#248 TDF/GEVA Ginetta G50 GT4
#248 TDF/GEVA Ginetta G50 GT4
#216 Modena Motorsports Seat Leon TCR V3 DSG
#216 Modena Motorsports Seat Leon TCR V3 DSG