Category Archives: European Le Mans Series

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.

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.

European Le Mans Series Action Returns At Circuit Paul Ricard, Le Castellet. (23.08.17)

Photo: Europeanlemansseries.com / Gabi Tomescu/AdrenalMedia.com

The 2017 European Le Mans Series returns for Round Four on August 25 – 27 at the Circuit Paul Ricard at Le Castellet, near Marseille.

35 cars will take to the grid for the Four Hours of Le Castellet on Sunday 27, 12 in the LMP2 category, 17 in the ever-popular LMP3 category and six in LMGTE.

In LMP2 the grid will consist of four ORECA 07s, four Ligier JSP217s and four Dallara P217s. Missing from the Round Four grid will be the #34 Tockwith Motorsports Ligier JSP217, previously driven by Nigel Moore and Philip Hanson, after a disagreement about the use of the car in a promotional video filmed at the Tockwith Motorsports facility at York.

Continue reading European Le Mans Series Action Returns At Circuit Paul Ricard, Le Castellet. (23.08.17)

Double Victory For United Autosports In ELMS Round 3 At Red Bull Ring (23.07.17)

Photo: Jakob Ebrey

The #32 United Autosports Ligier JSP217 took the LMP2 class and overall victory at The Four Hours of the Red Bull Ring from Spielberg, Austria. The #32 car, piloted by William Owen, Hugo de Sadeleer and Filipe Albuquerque crossed the line just 4.554 seconds ahead of the #22 G-Drive Racing ORECA 07 driven by Memo Rojas, Nicolas Minassian and Léo Roussell.

Taking the final step of the class podium was the #39 Graff ORECA 07 driven by Eric Trouillet, Paul Petit and Enzo Guibbert.

2 and 32 a.a. 17.07.23

Photo: Jakob Ebrey

Continue reading Double Victory For United Autosports In ELMS Round 3 At Red Bull Ring (23.07.17)

“I Hope He Won’t Be Out Of LMP2 For Too Long” – Graff’s Matelli Replaced By Gustavo Yacamán For ELMS Round 3 (20.07.17)

Photo: DIRK BOGAERTS / ADRENALMEDIA.COM

After quietly jelling as a driving trio for the first two rounds of the 2017 European Le Mans Series, and following an impressive performance at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the #40 Graff driver line-up of James Allen, Franck Matelli and Richard Bradley is no more.

25 year-old Matelli, who was enjoying his first full season in prototypes, has been replaced by Colombian Gustavo Yacamán.

FM a.a. 17.07.20

Franck Matelli (Photo: FIAWEC.com)

Although only 26 years old, Yacamán is already into his fifth full season in prototypes, having begun his sportscar career with a third place finish in the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona driving alongside Michael McDowall and Filipe Nasr in the Michael Shank Racing Ford-powered Riley.

Richard Bradley, James Allen and Franck Matelli have enjoyed a solid start to the 2017 season. Racing together for the first time at Silverstone in round one of the European Le Mans Series, the #40 Graff ORECA 07 was qualified in P11 and finished fourth overall. For the second round at Monza, Richard Bradley qualified the car in the seventh place with the young Australian James Allen bringing the car home in eighth place.

The trio, a combination of youth and experience, really came together at the 24 Hours of Le Mans this year. The #40 car qualified 13th in class and, in a race where the premier class fell by the wayside and the race could easily have been won by an entry in the LMP2 category, finished sixth overall and fifth in class.

No reason has been given for the replacement of Matelli by Yacamán.

The news of Matelli’s replacement came as a disappointment to Allen, after the Australian formed a solid driving bond with the young Frenchman.

“I am obviously disappointed for Franck and for the team to have a driver change at this point in the series,” said Allen, speaking to EnduranceandGT.co.uk. “Franck is a competent and reliable driver who will be missed. I hope he won’t be out of LMP2 for too long.”

The lights go out for the third round of the 2017 European Le Mans Series, The Four Hours of the Red Bull Ring, at 13:00 local time on Sunday July 23.