Category Archives: ACO Series

All series sanctioned and organised by the Automobile Club de L’Ouest

GT Cup Champions TKS Return To Asian Le Mans Series For Fuji (16.11.17)

Photo: asianlemansseries.com

Current Asian Le Mans Series GT Cup champions TKS have announced that they will return to the series for Round Two at Fuji International Speedway.

For the 2017/18 season, the Japanese team will again be led by Shinyo Sano and will campaign the Ginetta LMP3 in which Sano contested the Asian Le Mans Series Sprint Cup.

It has been a busy twelve months for Shinyo Sano and TKS as the team entered the ‘Road To Le Mans’ race, held as a prelude to the French classic at le Circuit de la Sarthe in June, where he was joined by Takuya Shirasaka to complete the driver line-up.

Team owner and driver Shinyo Sano is excited at the prospect of re-joining the Asian Le Mans Series grid in time for the second round at Fuji.

“The reason I made the team is my dreaming of going to Le Mans,” said Sano. “For me, the Asian Le Mans Series is a necessary race. As the only Japanese team in this race I want to stand on the podium at my home course of Fuji Speedway. And I want to share the pleasure with my team, chasing our dream.”

Further drivers for the TKS GInetta LMP3 will be announced shortly.

Round Two of the 2017/18 four-round Asian Le Mans Series will be held at Fuji International Speedway, Japan on December 1 – 3.

2017/18 Asian Le Mans Series Set For Zhuhai Opener (27.10.17)

The 2017/18 Asian Le Mans Series opens at Zhuhai International Circuit in Zhuhai City, Guangdong Province, China on October 27/29 for the 4 Hours of Zhuhai, the first of four rounds which will see the series visit China, Japan, Thailand and Malaysia.

The series was launched in 2013 and the management and promotion of the championship being taken over by the Automobile Club De L’Ouest (ACO) in 2014.

Open to entries from the LMP2, LMP3, GT3 and GT Cup ranks, the series offers the prize of an entry to the 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans to the class winners and, as a result, has attracted interest from teams based outside of Asia as a potential doorway to the grid for the world’s premier endurance race.

Continue reading 2017/18 Asian Le Mans Series Set For Zhuhai Opener (27.10.17)

ELMS Showdown On The Algarve (16.10.17)

The 2017 European Le Mans Series arrives at Algarve International Circuit, Portimão, Portugal for its sixth and final round on Sunday October 22.

35 cars will take to the grid across the three classes with 12 entries in the premier LMP2 class, 17 in LMP3 and six in the LMGTE category.

In the LMP2 class entry list the sole change for Portimão in comparison to the previous round is that Ricardo Sanchez replaces Jonathan Hirschi in the #39 GRAFF ORECA 07.

In the LMP3 class Timor Boguslavskly is declared as the third driver in the #5 By Speed Factory Ligier JS P3.

Elsewhere in the LMP3 category, Andrea Dromedari moves from the #12 Eurointernational entry to the sister #11 car to partner Giorgio Mondini. James Dayson joins Ricky Capo and Maxwell Hanratty in the #12 entry.

In the #19 M.Racing-YMR Norman M 30 Erwin Creed replaces Neale Muston.

Looking at the LMGTE class, Will Stevens continues in the #66 JMW Motorsport Ferrari F488 GT3, driving alongside fellow British drivers Robert Smith and Jody Fannin. Beechdean AMR continues its policy of developing new driver talent with the introduction of Immanuel Vinke to drive the #99 Aston Martin V8 Vantage alongside Andrew Howard and Darren Turner.

LMP2.

The #22 G-Drive Racing ORECA 07, on 98 points, has a 18-point advantage over the second-placed #32 United Autosports Ligier JSP217 in the teams standings. The #22 entry has enjoyed great consistency in 2017 with two victories at Monza and Spa-Francorchamps and a trio of second places at Silverstone, the Red Bull Ring and Le Castellet. Memo Rojas, Ryo Hirakawa and Léo Roussel will be looking forward to a trouble-free run in order to secure the title.

The #32 United Autosports entry has also taken two wins but a disappointing sixth place at Monza and a fifth-place finish at Le Castellet means that William Owen, Hugo de Sadeleer and Filipe Albuquerque will, realistically, need a victory and some luck if they are to finish 2017 as team champions.

Sitting in third place on 61 points in the LMP2 teams championship is the #40 GRAFF ORECA 07 with the driver line-up of James Allen, enjoying his first season in prototypes, Richard Bradley and, for the latter half of the season, Gustavo Yacaman. Victory last time out at Spa-Francorchanos means that, conceivably, the #40 crew could finish the season in second place.

LMP3:

United Autosports is looking to repeat its class championship that it won in 2016 when Alex Brundle, Christian England and Mike Guasch dominated the category.

In 2017 it is again the #2 entry that enters the final round leading the championship. The American driver pairing of John Falb and Sean Rayhall have a 19-point lead over the #18 M.Racing-YMR driven by Alexandre Cougnaud and Antoine Jung.

Falb and Rayhall have emulated Brundle, England and Guasch’s consistency of 2016 with victories at Silverstone and Le Castellet and second-place finishes at the Red Bull Ring and Spa-Francorchamps. The #18 M.Racing-YMR entry has taken three podium positions this season with a second-place finish at Monza and third-place finishes at the Red Bull Ring and Le Castellet. A pair of sixth places however, at Silverstone and Spa-Francorchamps, means that the challenge on the Algarve is significant.

LMGTE:

The closest of the three categories, just 17 points separates the top-four in the teams championship with the #90 TF Sport Aston Martin V8 Vantage of Salih Yoluc, Eaun Hankey and Nicki Thiim enjoying a slender one-point advantage at the top of the table over the #66 JMW Motorsport Ferrari F488 GT3 of Robert Smith, Jody Fannin and Will Stevens.

2016 saw a disappointing finish to the European Le Mans Series for Colchester-based JMW Motorsport and, after victory at La Sarthe, the team will be looking to close the season in style. TF Sport, meanwhile, with victories at Silverstone and Spa-Francorchamps and never having been off the class podium this season, will be full of confidence. It will be fascinating battle.

The lights go out for the Four Hours of Portimão at 13:00 local time on Sunday October 22.

Michelin Le Mans Cup Reaches Season Finale At Portimão (14.10.17)

Photo: Jakob Ebrey / lemanscup.com

The 2017 Michelin Le Mans Cup reaches its final round at the Algarve International Circuit at Portimão, Portugal on Sunday October 22.

19 entries will take to the grid for the seventh round of the championship, now in its second year.

14 cars are entered in the LMp3 category. Missing from the provisional entry list from those entered for the previous round at Spa-Francorchamps is the #33 Ibran Pardo Javier Ligier JS P3 piloted by Javier Ibran and Mathijs Bakker. Also missing is #40 GRAFF Ligier which was driven to 14th place at Spa by Richard Bradley and William Lok.

Joining the grid on the Algarve will be the #39 GRAFF Ligier with the driver line-up of Eric Trouillet and Scott Andrews. Also joining the LMP3 class will be #44 SPV Motorsport Ligier, with the driving duties being shared by Alvaro Fontes and an, as yet unnamed, second driver.

Other changes in the prototype field include the replacement at Duqueine Engineering of Kenton Koch in its #9 Ligier. Jonatan Jorge will be sharing the driving duties with Joël Janco.

Andrew Bentley will be driving the #23 United Autosports Ligier alongside Richard Meins, replacing Shaun Lynn.

The GT3 grid has six entries for the final round. Kessel Racing has entered its #93 Ferrari F488 GT3 to be driven by the all-Italian driver line-up of Claudio Schiavoni and Andrea Piccini.

LMP3:

With only 25 points available at Portimão, the top three positions in the LMP3 teams standings are almost certainly decided.

DKR Engineering heads the table on 113 points with its #3 Norma M30, the only non-Ligier JS P3 chassis in the field, and its driver line-up of Jean Glorieux and Alexander Toril.

DKR Engineering, owned by Kendy Janclaes and based in Luxembourg, has enjoyed a dominating year in the prototype class. With wins at La Sarthe, the Red Bull Ring, Le Castellet and Spa-Francorchamps and a second-place finish at the season-opener at Monza, the team has only had a single poor result this season – a non-finish in the first ‘Road to Le Mans’ race.

33 points behind DKR Engineering sits Corby, UK-based Nielsen Racing on 80 points. The team has enjoyed an excellent season with a win at the opening round at Monza and second places, albeit behind its closest rival DKR Engineering, at the Red Bull Ring, Le Castellet and Spa-Francorchamps. A poor showing at the two ‘Road to Le Mans’ races at La Sarthe has spoiled an otherwise highly consistent run in the championship.

Third in the LMP3 teams standing is the #65 GRAFF, piloted by Emilien Carde abd Adrien Chila. Being 25.5 points behind second-placed Nielsen Racing means that the first three places in the prototype teams championship are almost certainly decided.

GT3:

The GT3 championship is, however, far closer. Ebimotors and its #46 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 driven by Emanuele Busnelli and Fabio Babini sits at the top of the teams standings, just seven points ahead of Lee Mowle and his #7 Mercedes AMG GT3 that he will be sharing with Phil Keen at Portimão.

#46

Photo: Jakob Ebrey / Lemanscup.com

The Italian team from Cermenate has enjoyed wins at the Red Bull Ring and Le Castellet with podium position finishes at Monza, Le Sarthe and Spa-Francorchamps. Lee Mowle has also had two victories, at Monza and Spa as well as a second-place finish at Le Castellet A disappointing 13th-place finish in the first ‘Road to Le Mans’ race at La Sarthe has cost the team dearly in the fight for the championship.

Track action for the Michelin Le Mans Cup field begins on Friday October 20 with FP1 at 15:00 local time. Qualifying takes place on Saturday October 21 at 15:40 local time with the lights going out for two-hour race on Sunday October 22 at 09:00.

Debut ELMS LMP2 Victory For SMP Racing And Dallara (27.08.17)

Photo: Europeanlemansseries.com / Jakob Ebrey

Moscow-based SMP Racing took its debut LMP2 victory in the European Le Mans Series, and the first for the new-for-2017 Dallara chassis. when Matevos Isaakyan, driving the #27 Gibson-powered Dallara P217 he shared with Egor Crudzhev, crossed the line 1:27.817 ahead of the second-placed #22 G-Drive Racing ORECA 07 driven by Memo Rojas, Nicolas Minassian and, taking the final stint, Léo Roussel.

Taking the final podium spot in the LMP2 class was the #32 United Autosports Ligier JSP217 driven to the chequered flag by Filipe Albuquerque, in the car he shares with William Owen and Hugo de Sadeleer. However a post-race penalty for speed limit infractions during the Full Course Yellow periods demoted the #32 entry back to fifth. This promoted the #39 Graff entry piloted by Eric Trouillet, Paul Petit and Enzo Guibbert to the final podium spot.

Continue reading Debut ELMS LMP2 Victory For SMP Racing And Dallara (27.08.17)

DragonSpeed/G-Drive Racing Lock Out ELMS Front Row At Le Castellet (26.08.17)

Photo: Europeanlemansseries.com/Jakob Ebrey

Elton Julian’s DragonSpeed locked out the front row in qualifying for the fourth round of the 2017 European Le Mans Series at Le Castellet.

Nicolas Lapierre set a 1:52.761 to take pole-position in the #21 DragonSpeed ORECA 07 he shares with Henrik Hedman and Ben Hanley.

Lining up alongside the #21 entry will be sister #22 ORECA 07, racing under the G-Drive Racing banner, after Léo Roussel set a 1:52.905, 0.145 seconds behind Lapierre.

Third on the grid for Sunday August 26’s Four Hours of Le Castellet will be the #39 Graff ORECA 07 in which Enzo Guibert, driving alongside Eric Trouillet and Paul Petit, set a 1:53.051.

Lapierre was delighted at the outcome of what he regarded as a tough qualifying session.

“I’m really enjoying being on top here,” said the French driver. “It was a hard qualification. It was very close and the track was much faster than this morning for whatever reason so we had to adjust for that and push a bit more but in the end I’m really pleased for the team. We did a really good job so very happy to put it on pole. “

Lapierre recognised how close the #22 G-Drive Racing sister car was.

“It was really close. They were really competitive in qualifying. They got pole position last time so every session we have to fight very hard but I’m very glad for the team to have a 1 – 2.”

LMP3 honours went to the #6 360 Racing Ligier PS P3 entry in which Ross Kaiser set an early provisional pole time of 2:02.314, only to better it to 2:02.185 on his last lap in the car he shares with Terrence Woodward and Anthony Wells.

Alex Kapadia snatched second place on the LMP3 grid when he set a 2:02.471 in the final seconds of the session in the #15 RLR MSport Ligier in which he shares the driving duties with John Farano and Morten Dons.

Third on the grid in the LMP3 class will be the #18 M.Racing-YMR Ligier in which Alexandra Cougnaud set a 2:02.608.

#55 SOR a.a. 17.08.26

Photo: Europeanlemansseries.com/Jakob Ebrey.

LMGTE pole went to #55 Duncan Cameron/Matt Griffin/Aaron Scott Spirit Of Race Ferrari F488 GTE in which Griffin set a 2:04.202, .370 seconds quicker than the #77 Proton Competition Porsche 911 RSR 991 driven by Matteo Cairoli.

Third on the grid in the LMP3 class will be the sister #51 Spirit Of Race Ferrari F488 GTE in which Andrea Bertolini set a 2:04.588.

After taking the second pole-position of the season for the #55 car, Matt Griffin was very satisfied with the outcome.

“It was really good,” said Griffin. “We’ve had a hell of a season this year. We were very unfortunate at Monza where we had an issue caused us a non-finish and we had pole-position there but we won in Austria and the moment the car hit the track here it’s been fantastic.”

“Our main focus has been trying to make the car good for the race and tyre conservation because the temperature is so high. I was still confident going in to qualifying and my engineer, Luca, did a good job and the “Green Machine” was rapid.”

The lights go out for the start of the Four Hours of Le Castellet at 12:00 local time on Sunday August 27.