Category Archives: European Le Mans Series

Turner Replaces Adam For First Round Of ELMS

Due to the first round of the European Le Mans Series coinciding with qualifying for the season opener of the British GT Championship at Brands Hatch, Beechdean Motorsport has substituted Jonny Adam with Darren Turner for the first round of the ELMS.

The race takes place on April 16 between 2.30pm and 6.30pm with qualifying for the British GT Championship taking place between 5.05pm and 5.56pm on the same afternoon. Adam will be driving the #17 Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 alongside Derek Johnston in the British GT Championship.

“I am going to miss my fellow divorcee (in reference to Adam) but it is great to be racing back with Darren,” said team owner and driver Andrew Howard. “I raced with him in 2010 and look forward to learning from his vast experience in the GTE car.”

Darren Turner is also excited by the opportunity. “I am really looking forward to joining the Beechdean AMR team and driving with Andrew and Alex in the first round of the ELMS,” said Turner. “It is great to be back driving with Andrew after many years. The championship looks strong and it will be a hard fought race at Silverstone.

Adam has not commented on Beechdean’s decision. The team stated that Adam “will return to Beechdean AMR and ELMS later in the season”. The weekend of April 16 and 17 presents further interesting decisions as Adam is also entered in the #95 Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage with Nicki Thim and Marco Sorenson in the first round of the FIA World Endurance Championship, also at Silverstone. The scheduled race times of the opening rounds of the British GT Championship and the World Endurance Championship on April 17 overlap and would not allow him to drive in both.

Norma Announced As LMP3 Manufacturer By ACO

The Automobile Club de L’Ouest (ACO) has announced that French-based Norma Auto Concept will become an Official Manufacturer for the LMP3 category.

Norma, whose factory is located in Saint-Pé-de-Bigorre in the south west of France, was founded in 1986 and has specialised in prototypes. It has sold more than 400 examples of its Norma M20. Norma joins Ginetta, Onroak with its Ligier brand, Riley/Ave, ADESS and Dome as a manufacturer of chassis for the fast-growing LMP3 class.

Norma has participated three times at the 24 Hours of Le Mans with its Judd-engined LMP2 M200. In 2012 it finished 29th overall and 12th in class with a car entered by Extreme Limite ARIC.

“We are extremely delighted about the decision taken by the ACO,” said Norbert Santos, Founder of Norma Automotive Concept. “Since its launch we were convinced that Norma really has a place in this category which has already met with huge success. When the ACO took the decision to limit the number of manufacturers last year, we already actively launched our first studies. Since then, we have not stopped and today the time and patience taken has proved right.”

The launch of the LMP3 category in 2015 has proved to be very popular. 20 examples have been entered for the first round of the 2016 European Le Mans Series at Silverstone. All but one are Ligier JS P3s. This is seen as an opportunity by Santos.

“The design of the next Norma LMP3 is already very advanced,” he said. “It benefits from a number of technological solutions that, I am convinced, will enable us to get the performance that we set for ourselves. And for Norma, it’s only victories that count.”

Norma intend to present the first chassis this summer and aims to have at least Norma LMP3 racing before the end of the year.

Krohn Racing Top Time Sheets At ELMS Test

The European Le Mans Series held its annual pre-season Test at the Circuit Paul Ricard in Le Castellet on March 22 and 23.

In LMP2, 13 of the 15 full season entries were present for the test, the missing cars being the #1 Greaves Motorsport Gibson 015S – Nissan and the #21 DragonSpeed ORECA 05-Nissan.

In LM P3 21 cars were provisionally entered for the test, the majority being Ligier JS P3s which will form the bulk of the grid in the LM P3 class in 2016. In LM GTE 7 of the nine full season entries were scheduled to appear.

Day One of the Test on March 22 consisted of three sessions. The morning session began at 09:00 and lasted for four hours, prior to a one hour lunch break during which on-track car-to-car photography took place. A further four hour afternoon session concluded with a one hour break after which a two hour night session, beginning at 19h00 took place.

Two further test sessions were run on March 23 with a four hour session beginning at 09h00 and a final three hour session at 14h00.

After Day 1 the #40 Krohn Racing Ligier JS P2 topped the time-sheets with a 1:48.100 set by Oliver Pla in the morning session. The #46 Thiriet by TDS Racing ORECA 05-Nissan was second quickest with a 1:48.297 set in the afternoon by Pierre Thiriet. SMP Racing, with the #32 BR 01-Nissan, set a 1:48.745 with Stefan Coletti driving in the final session of the day.

In LM P3 fastest lap honours went to Alex Brundle in the #2 United Autosports’ Ligier JS P3 with a 1:53.364 set in the morning. Dino Lunardi in the #19 Duqueine Engineering set a 1:54.191 in the morning, choosing not to run in the afternoon, and Peter Kox in the #21 Kox Racing entry closed out the top three with a 1:54.511.

Marco Cioci led the LM GTE field on Day One with a 1:57.304 in the #51 AF Corse Ferrari F458 Italia, set in the morning, with his team-mate Matt Griffin close behind in #55 car with a 1:57.592. JMW Motorsports chose not to run in the morning session but Andrea Bertolini set a 1:57.622 in the afternoon.

On Day Two Memo Rojas moved the #41 Greaves Motorsport Ligier JS P2 up to the third in the overall classification with a 1:48.596. Elsewhere Harry Tincknell set the fastest time of the test, at 1:49.004, for the venerable #38 G-Drive Racing Gibson 015S. United Autosports time set on the Tuesday was not bettered in LM P3 on Day Two. In LM GTE however Marco Cioci improvged the #51 AF Corse’s time with a 1:57.252.

“It’s been very good,” said Memo Rojas on Tuesday night following his first experience of the Greaves Motorsports Ligier JS P2. “Obviously it is the first official test, I am very happy to be here. I’m getting acquainted with the new team, the new car, a new circuit; everything is new with many differences between America and here. The way of racing, the way the team works but it is very professional and interesting to me. I’m really looking forward to racing in the ELMS.”

The first round of the European Le Mans Series will be held at Silverstone on April 16.

ELMS Campaign For Beechdean AMR With Howard, Adam And MacDowall

Beechdean Aston Martin Racing has announced that it will contest the full 2016 European Le Mans Series with its factory Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage GTE. Jonny Adam will be teaming back up with team owner and driver Andrew Howard and former Aston Martin Racing GTE driver Alex McDowall for the team’s first full season in the ELMS.

“The goal has always been to race at the highest level we can,” said Howard. “The ELMS Championship was the next logical step after doing GT3 for so long. It is great to have Alex’s experience in the team and we are looking forward to the competition.”

The trio enjoyed their first taste of ELMS success last year when they finished second in the LMGTE class at the final round of the season at Estoril.

“I am thrilled our plan to race in the full season ELMS has come to fruition,” said Alex MacDowall. “Andrew and Jonny have proven time and time again that they are force to be reckoned with, and I hope we can continue what has already been a winning formula”

Jonny Adam, who will also be racing in the FIA World Endurance Championship with Aston Martin Racing in GTE Pro said: “Alex is a great addition to the partnership. His knowledge and experience is brilliant and I am looking forward to working with him. We ended the 2015 season with a good result, in a strong position – so I am hoping this year we can only improve.”

2016 will be a busy year for Beechdean AMR, following its announcement last week that Andrew Howard and Ross Gunn will defend its 2015 British GT title in GT3. Beechdean AMR will also field two Aston Martin Vantages in the GT4 class.

The first round of the European Le Mans Series will take place at Silverstone on the 16th of April.

Buret To Join Panis-Barthez Compétition for ELMS and Le Mans

Panis-Barthez Compétition has announced that Timothé Buret will join the team for the 2016 European Le Mans Series and the 24 Hours of Le Mans as part of the driver line-up in its Ligier JS P2, Fabien Barthez having already been confirmed.

Buret, from Montpelier, France, contested the 2015 Pro Mazda Championship with Juncos Racing, winning the Team Championship and finishing 5th in the Drivers Championship. He raced to seven podium finishes over the course of the season, including one win. Buret is currently a junior driver for the LM P1 privateer team Rebellion Racing and has had previous endurance racing experience after finishing second in the VdeV Challenge Endurance Proto series in 2014

“Endurance racing has always appealed to me and it’s the obvious choice after my sprint-racing experience,” said Buret. “I already had the experience of sharing a seat in the VdeV and I really enjoyed this style (of racing). To find myself alongside Fabien Barthez is a wonderful opportunity to combine our respective skills. I can’t wait to wear the colours of Panis-Bathez Compétition.”

The team has previously confirmed its driver line-up for its LM P3 entry into the European Le Mans Series where Eric Debard will be joined by Simon Gachet and Valentin Moineault.