Photo: Paren Raval
The 2018 European Le Mans Series makes it annual stop at Silverstone for Round Eight on August 18 at a time in the season that should, hopefully, allow for warmer weather than we have previously experienced in the early Spring calendar slot.
In a double-header with the FIA World Endurance Championship, track action for Round Eight begins on Friday August 17 with two ninety-minute practice sessions at 10:35 and 14:45 respectively.
42 cars will take to the for Round Eight, 16 in the LMP2 class, 19 in the LMP3 category and 7 in LMGTE.
In changes to the entry list for the previous round in Austria, the #27 IDEC Sport ORECA 07, entered to be driven at Red Bull Ring by Patrice Lafargue and Erik Maris will be missing at Silverstone, as will the #33 TDS Racing ORECA, piloted in Austria by Matthieu Vaxivière, François Perrodo and Loïc Duval.
In the #35 SMP Racing Dallara P217, Victor Shaitar and Egor Orudzhev will be joined by an as-yet unnamed third driver, Matevos Issakyan having not been declared a starter for Silverstone.
In the #40 G-Drive Racing ORECA, Garry Findlay joined season-regulars James Allen and Jose Gutierrez. 28-year-old Findlay has not raced in the European Le Mans Series since 2016 when he drove the #48 ORECA 03R for Murphy Prototypes. Findlay does, however, have previous experience with Graff in the European Le Mans Series, having contested one round of the 2015 championship with the Morangis, Paris-based team in 2015.
“This opportunity has come about completely out of the blue,” said Findlay. “I had hoped to put together a testing programme towards the end of the year with a view to racing in 2018, but Graff called with an offer I couldn’t turn down. I’d always kept in touch with the team, having raced with them before, and was talking to them about testing so that clearly worked in my favour as they were looking for a driver for Silverstone.”
“I don’t think I’ve raced in the UK since 2009,” continued Findlay. “So much of my racing has taken place in mainland Europe in recent years – and in series that don’t venture to this side of the English Channel – that I’m more familiar with circuits overseas. It’ll be nice to return to Silverstone, even though the layout has changed a lot since I raced there in Formula Ford.”
In the LMP3 class the #4 Cool Racing Ligier JS P3 sees two changes to its driver line-up. Alexandre Coigny and Antonin Borga are not entered for Round Eight and instead Christian Vaglio and Lucas Borga will join Iradj Alexander at the Northampton circuit.
James Swift has been declared as the third driver to join Terrence Woodward and Ross Kaiser in the #6 360 Racing Ligier while Yann Clairay replaces Mikkel Jensen in the #9 AT Racing entry.
In the #12 Eurointernational Ligier Mattia Drudi replaces James Dayson whilst Hendrick Still replaces Guglielmo Belotti in the #14 Inter Europol Competition entry. Romano Ricci while drive alongside David Droux and Lucas Légéret in the #19 M Racing-YMR Norma M 30.
A new team to join the LMp3 grid in the European le mans Series is Team Virage who has entered a Ligier JS P3 to be piloted by Henning Enqvist, Jake Rattonbury and JM Littman. Enqvist joins the Valencia-based team from Inter Europol Competition while Rattenbury is a double Lamborghini Supertrofeo champion who has had recent experience in the European VdeV Endurance Series with Enqvist.
In LMGTE Gulf Racing returns with its Porsche 911 RSR to be driven by Michael Wainwright, Benjamin Barker and Alexander Davidson. Bret Curtis replaces Raymond Narac in the #80 Ebimotors Porsche.
After victories at red Bull Ring and Monza, the #26 G-Drive Racing entry leads the LMP2 Teams Standings on 62 points, nine points clear of the #24 Racing Engineering entry.
Qualifying is divided in to three ten-minute sessions with the LMGTE class opening the action at 11:10 on Saturday August 18, followed by the LMP3 class at 11:25 and LMP2 at 11:40.
The lights go out for the 4 Hours of Silverstone at 14:30 on Saturday August 18.