Category Archives: European Le Mans Series

Panis-Barthez Compétition Quickest Again in Imola ELMS FP2

The #23 Panis-Barthez Compétition Ligier JS P2 was quickest again in the second free practice sessions for the second round of the European Le Mans Series at Imola.

Paul-Loup Chatin, who was first in the car in an interrupted session, put in a 1:33.881. ahead of the #40 Krohn Racing JS P2 driven by Olivier Pla who put in a 1:34.121. Completing the top three in LMP2 was the ##21 DragonSpeed ORECA 05-Nissan with Nicolas Lapierre at the wheel with a 1:34.485.

In LMP3 the #7 Villorba Corse Ligier JS P3 topped the time sheets with a 1:40.349 driven by Nicollo Schiro. Second quickest was the #19 Duqueine Engineering JS P3 where Dino Lunardi put in a 1:40.769. Panis-Barthez Compétition must be delighted with its pace this weekend with the #16 Ligier JS P3 third in the session with a 1:40.823 driven by Simon Gachet.

JMW Motorsport again led the field in LMGTE when Andrea Bertolini put in a 1:41.870 in the #66 Ferrari F458 Italia. Klaus Bachler in the #88 Proton Competition Porsche 911 RSR was again quick with a 1:42.044. AF Corse completed the top three in class with a 1:42.521 driven by Duncan Cameron in the #55 Ferrari F458 Italia.

Qualifying for the second round of the 2016 European Le Mans Series starts at 13:50 local time.

Panis-Barthez Compétition Tops Time Sheets In Imola ELMS FP1

Paul-Loup Chatin put Panis-Barthez Compétition at the top of the time sheets in the first practice session for the second round of the European Le Mans Series at Imola. His 1:34.435 put the #23 Ligier JS P2 ahead of the #33 Eurasia Motorsport ORECA 05-Nissan driven by Tristan Gommendy, who put in a 1:35.240.

Mathias Beche completed the top three in LMP2 with a 1:35.586 in the Thiriet by TDS Racing #46 Nissan-powered ORECA 05-Nissan.

The #38 G-Drive Racing Gibson 015S, winner last time out Silverstone in round one of the series, finished sixth fastest with a 1:36.032. Giedo Van der Garde was the driver.

Eurointernational was the quickest of the LMP3 class when Giorgio Mondini put in 1:40.099 on his seventh lap. The winners of the 4 Hours of Silverstone in the LMP3 class, the United Autosports #2 Ligier JS P2 driven by Alex Brundle, was second quickest with a 1:40.168. Completing the top three in class was Dino Lunardi in the #19 Duqueine Engineering #19 Ligier JS P3 with a 1:40.271.

In LMGTE the #66 Ferrari F458 Italia of JMW Motorsport with Andrea Bertolini at the wheel put in a 1:42.262 to finish top of the time sheets in class. Mikkal Mac in the #60 Formula Racing Ferrari F458 Italia was second quickest with a 1:42.578. The Proton Competition #88 Porsche 911 RSR rounded out the top three LMGTE runners with a 1:42.772, the car being driven by Klaus Bachler.

The European Le Mans Series grid will be out on track again at 09:35 on May 14 for FP2. Qualifying starts at 13:50 with the LMGTE entrants, followed by LMP3 and finishing with LMP2.

The second round of the European Le mans Series starts at 14:00 on Sunday May 15

ELMS At Imola Promises More Close Racing

Round two of the 2016 European Le Mans Series tales place at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari at Imola on Sunday May 15. 42 cars will take to the grid in a race that last year was won by the Thiriet by TDS Nissan-powered ORECA 05, the maiden international victory for the car.

In 2016, however, G-Drive Racing will be looking for its second win of the European Le Mans Series season after a frustrating weekend at Spa-Francorchamps eight days previously with its two-car entry in the second round of the FIA World Endurance Championship.

In the LMP2 class the #40 Krohn Racing Ligier JS P2 – Nissan will see OlivierPla alongside the existing driver line-up of Tracy Krohn and Nic Jönsson. Pla replaces Björn Wirdheim for this round. SMP Racing will have a sole entry for Imola, the #44 not being entered for this round.

As announced this week, Murphy Prototypes will have new additions to its driver line-up for the #48 ORECA 03R when Garry Findlay and Patrick McClughan join Seán Doyle, in line with the team’s policy of nurturing young driving talent.

In LMP3 Jens Petersen replaces Thomas Dagoneau in the #13 Inter Europol Ligier JS P3. In the #15 RLR Msport Nissan-powered Ligier JS P3 Ross Warburton is not driving at this round.

In LMGTE Davide Rigon replaces Alessandro Pier Guidi in the #56 AT Racing Ferrari 456 Italia. There is also a driver change in the #77 Proton Competition Porsche 911 RSR 991 where Robert Renauer replaces Marco Seefried. There is also a further change for Proton Competition in the #88 car where Klaus Bachier will join Gianluca Roda and Christian Reid in place of Richard Lietz.

Aston Martin Racing has a single entrant for Imola – the #99 Aston Martin V8 Vantage, driven by Andrew Howard, Alex MacDowall and, for the second time this season, Darren Turner.

Track action starts at 14:00 on Friday May 13 with FP1. FP2 takes place on Saturday May 14 at 09:35 with qualifying sessions starting at 13:50. The 4 Hours of Imola starts at 14:00 on Sunday May 15.

Murphy Prototypes Announces New Drivers For ELMS At Imola

Dublin, Ireland-based Murphy Prototypes has announced a new driver line-up for the second round of the 2016 European Le Mans Series, The 4 Hours of Imola.

Seán Doyle remains as part of the driving team for Imola and is joined by Garry Findlay and Patrick McClughan.

McClughan, from Newtownabbey in Northern Ireland, began his motorsport career in the Ginetta Junior Championship. He contested the 2015 Radical Sprint Championship and was on the top step of the podium for 12 of the season’s 21 races. He also won a fully funded drive at Daytona in January as a result of winning the Sunoco Challenge Award last year.

Findlay, from Norfolk, made his European Le Mans Series debut at Estoril in 2015 and secured a podium finish in the LMP3 class. Findlay also has experience in Formula Fords and VdeV sportscars.

“Our team has always been committed to showcasing young talent and giving drivers the opportunity to develop their natural ability,” said Greg Murphy, Team Principal at Murphy Prototypes. “Garry has already demonstrated what he can do in Formula Fords and then underlined it in VdeV. Patrick is an incredibly exciting prospect. He has shown his speed in the Radical Championship and has even beaten former Murphy Prototypes drivers such as Alex Kapadia and James Littlejohn.  Seán did a great job for us at Silverstone on his first time out in an LMP2 car and it’s good to have him driving for us again.”

Murphy Prototypes has a talent for developing young drivers. Brendon Hartley, now racing for Porsche in the 919 Hybrid, started his prototype career with the team as did Pipo Derani, who won the Rolex 24 At  Daytona and The 12 Hours of  Sebring earlier this year.

The lights go out for the start of the 4 Hours of Imola, the second round of the 2016 European Le Mans Series, at 14:00 on May 15.

Onroak Automotive Expands Presence In Asia

Le Mans-based Onroak Automotive, manufacturer of Ligier prototypes, has announced that it will open a branch in Asia to support teams racing its cars in Asian series.

Onroak has been expanding its global reach over the past two years and opened Onroak Automotive North America in 2015. Earlier this month it announced that it had appointed United Autosports as official, exclusive agent for its CN and LM P3 sports prototypes in Great Britain. Sepang, Malaysia has been chosen a base for Asia as it is seen as the centre of motor sport activities in the region.

“While continuing the promotion of the Asian Le Mans Series that has undergone a real revival since last year, the ACO is also organising a new series, the Asian Le Mans Sprint Cup, which compliments the first one and is in total harmony with the coming development of endurance racing in Asia,” said Onroak Automotive President Jacques Nicolet. “Thus, it’s important for us to be present on the spot, not only as a constructor which supplies cars for the two series, but also to be able to support this project and to become involved with the local teams and players.”

“Opening this branch at Sepang means that we’ll have a human and technical presence in situ,” continued Nicolet. “And by setting up a supply system of spare parts, we’ll make it easier for our clients to organise things while we continue our ongoing quest to give them the greatest possible satisfaction.”

Of the 19 LMP3 cars on the grid for the first round of the European Le Mans Series, all but one were Ligier JS P3s. United Autosports brought home its Ligier JS P3s to a 1 – 2 finish in class.

G-Drive Racing Wins First Round After Silverstone ELMS Thriller

G-Drive Racing emerged as the overall winner after an exciting opening round to the 2016 European Le Mans Series at Silverstone.

The #38 Gibson 015S, driven by Harry Tincknell, Simon Dolan and ex-Caterham F1 driver Giedo van der Garde, led almost from the start and controlled the race from the front throughout much of the four hours.

In second place was SMP Racing’s #32 BR 01 Nissan driven by Stefan Colleti, Julian Leal Covelli and Andreas Wirth. Taking the last podium position in LMP2 was So24! By Lombard Racing’s #22 Judd-engined Ligier JS P2 driven by Vincent Capillaire, Olivier Lombard and Jonathan Coleman.

The LMP3 category saw a huge entry of 20 cars, the majority of which were Nissan-engined Ligier JS P3s.
U.S.-entered but Leeds-based United Autosports took a 1-2 in the class, the #2 car driven by Alex Brundle, Mike Guasch and Christian England beating the the sister #3 car driven by Mark Patterson, Matthew Bell and Wayne Boyd.
The Graff #9 Ligier JS P3 driven by Enzo Guibbert, Paul Petit and Eric Trouillet rounded out the top three places in the class.

GTE saw exceptionally close racing with the final podium slot being decided in the lasts second of the race. The #66 JMW Motorsport Ferrari F458 Italia of Robert Smith, Rory Butcher and Andrea Bertolini beat strong competition from the #99 Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage of Andrew Howard, Darren Turner and Alex MacDowall. The #96 Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage of Roald Goethe, Stuart Hall and Richie Stanaway took the final podium position.

Although the race had been declared wet immediately prior to the start, giving teams the opportunity to choose wet or intermediate tyres, the track was drying as the lights went out. Chaos ensued at the start as the #19 Duqueine Engineering Ligier JS P3 spun and the #29 Pegasus Racing Morgan-Nissan collided with the pit wall.

The #32 SMP Racing BR 01, driven by Andreas Wirth, briefly took the lead but was shortly overtaken by the #38 G-Drive Racing Gibson 015S driven by Harry Tincknell after which he stretched out his advantage. Tincknell was pushed hard by Paul-Loup Chatin in the #23 Panis Barthez Competition Ligier JS P2 but maintained his lead. The positions were reversed after driver changes but Simon Dolan in the #38 car put in a magnificent stint to retake the lead after which it was never lost.

After concern as rain threatened in the final hour, Giedo Van Der Garde took over the #38 car for the final stint and continued to push hard, putting in his best time in his final lap of the race.

Sir Chris Hoy’s debut in LMP2 was not all plain sailing when his #25 Algarve Pro Racing Ligier JS P2 ended up in the gravel at the beginning of the Hanger Straight. The car was snatched back on track during a Full Course Yellow and Hoy eventually finished tenth overall.

Alex Brundle, in the #2 United Autosports Ligier JS P3, took the lead in the LMP3 class before handing over the car to ‘Molecule Mike’ Guasch. Guasch pushed hard and handed the car over to Christian England who brought it home for the win. The #3 United Autosports car was running second but a malfunctioning door meant that Matthew Bell had to pit for repairs. Mark Patterson and Wayne Boyd worked hard to bring the car back into contention with Boyd overtaking the #9 Graff Racing Ligier of Enzo Guiberrt for second place with 30 minutes left to race.

In GTE, Stuart Hall drove the #96 Aston Martin V8 Vantage into the class lead and battled with the #99 sister car of Alex MacDowall. At the halfway point MacDowall had the advantage. As the four hour mark approached the #66 JMW Motorsport Ferrari F458 Italia driven by Rory Butcher led the #99 Aston Martin driven by Andrew Howard.

The battle for the final podium spot was fierce and ended with contact between the #56 AT Racing Aston Martin V8 Vantage driven by Pier Guidi and the #96 Aston Martin driven by Ritchie Stanaway with the outcome that Stanaway took the position.

There was clearly some very enthusiastic driving amongst the large LMP3 field which may raise some questions before the next round of the European Le Mans Series which will be held at Imola on May 15.