Category Archives: European Le Mans Series

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

Photo: / Gabi Tomescu/

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.

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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)


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25 year-old Matelli, who was enjoying his first full season in prototypes, has been replaced by Colombian Gustavo Yacamán.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

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 “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.

European Le Mans Series Returns To Red Bull Ring For Round Three (18.07.17)

Photo: Gabi Tomescu/

After the dust has settled following the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the European Le Mans Series returns to Austria for Round Three.

36 cars will take to the grid for The 4 Hours of the Red Bull Ring.

13 LMP2 entries are on the provisional entry list for July 23’s race, one more than at the previous round – the 4 Hours of Monza. Joining the grid for the Red Bull Ring will be the #27 SMP Racing Dallara P217, driven by Matevos Isaakyan and Egor Orudczhev.

There are some changes in the driver line-ups in the LMP2 class for the third round. Nicolas Lapierre replaces Ryo Hirakawa in the #22 G-Drive Racing ORECA 07. In the #23 Panis-Barthez Compétition Ligier JSP217 Nathanaël Berthon replaces Matthieu Vaxiviere.

In a surprise move announced last week, Gustavo Yacaman has replaced Franck Matelli in the #40 Graff ORECA 07, to drive alongside James Allen and Richard Bradley.


Photo: Gabi Tomescu/

The LMP3 category also has a number of driver changes. In the #4 Cool Racing By GPC Ligier JS P3 Gino Forgione is not included in the list of declared drivers. A replacement has yet to be announced.

In the #8 Duqueine Engineering entry, Douglas Lundberg has replaced Henry Hassid and Mikkel Jensen has replaced Maurizio Mediani in the #9 AT Racing entry. Finally the #12 Eurointernational entry sees two-thirds of its driver line-up changed for this round when James Dayson and Ricky Capo replace Maxime Pialat and Maxwell Hanratty.

The LMGTE class sees a field of six entries, one less than the previous round. Missing for the Red Bull Ring will be the #50 Larbre Competition Chevrolet Corvette C7-ZO6.

After two rounds, the drivers of the #22 G-Drive Racing ORECA 07 lead the 2017 European Le Mans Series Trophy for LMP2 drivers. Léo Rousell, Memo Rojas and, absent for Red Bull Ring, Ryo Hirakawa lead the standings on 43 points after taking victory last time out. Second in the drivers standings, and just 10 points behind, is the #32 United Autosports trio of Filipe Albuquerque, Hugo de Sadeleer and Will Owen.

Third in the LMP2 drivers standings is the #49 High Class Racing duo of Dennis Andersen and Anders Fjordbach.

In the LMP3 drivers standings François Heriau, Jean-Baptists Lahaye and Matthieu Lahaye, drivers of the #17 Ultimate Ligier JS P3 head the table on 33 points. Only five points behind is the #18 M.Racing – YMR driving trio of Alexandre Cougnaud, Antoine Jung and Romano Ricci.

The LMGTE drivers standings are led by the #90 TF Sport driver line-up of Salih Yoluc, Euan Hankey and Nicki Thiim.

Track action for the 4 Hours of the Red Bull Ring starts with FP1 on Friday 21 July at 15:20 local time. The three ten-minute qualifying sessions take place on Saturday July 22, starting at 13:45 local time.

The lights go out for the start of the 4 Hours of the Red Bull Ring at 13:00 local time on Sunday July 23.

G-Drive Racing Wins 4 Hours of Monza To Take Lead In 2017 European Le Mans Series (14.05.17)


The #22 G-Drive Racing ORECA 07 took the chequered flag to win the second round of the 2017 European Le Mans Series in Monza and take the lead in the six-round championship.

Memo Rojas, Ryo Hirakawa and Léo Roussel shared the driving duties in the #22 car with Hirakawa bringing the car home to take the win.

Second in the LMP2 class was the sister #21 DragonSpeed ORECA 07 driven by Henrik Hedman, Nicolas Lapierre and Ben Hanley.

Taking the final podium spot in class was the #49 High Class Racing Dallara P217, piloted by Dennis Andersen and Anders Fjordbach.


The #39 Graff ORECA 07 with Enzo Guibbert at the wheel held the lead from pole but came under pressure from Nicolas Lapierre in the #21 Dragon speed entry. Contact between the #16 Panis-Barthez Compétition Ligier JS P3 and the #9 AT Racing Ligier caused the race to be neutralised under a Full Course Yellow and also impeded Lapierre in the #21 as he took avoiding action at T8.

Meanwhile Richard Bradley in the #40 Graff ORECA 07 had made solid progress through the field, having started seventh on the grid, and was challenging the #22 car for the lead before a jump-start penalty forced an unwanted stop. On Bradley’s out-lap from the penalty, an electrical issue caused his car to stop. Bradley successfully re-started the car but it pushed what was potentially race-winning challenge down the order.

A further FCY was required when, with less the an hour and quarter run, contact between the #2 United Autosports Ligier JS P3 with Sean Rahall at the wheel and the #9 AT Racing Ligier piloted by Alexander Talkanitsa requires the race to be neutralised. As the #39 Graff entry pitted before the race went green, it caused Enzo Guibbert to drop down the field.

The #22 G-Drive Racing ORECA, with Léo Roussel took the lead at the halfway mark with the #47 Cetilar Villorba Corse Dallara P217 in second place.

Just when it looked like the #22 G-Drive Racing entry, now with Ryo Hirakawa at the wheel, had an unassailable lead, the Japanese driver was handed a drive-through penalty for a speed infringement under the FCY. The resulting penalty left Hirakawa in the lead but now with only a 22-second lead.

The battle for second place was just about to get interesting. Anders Fjordbach in the #49 High Class Racing Dallara P217 was coming under pressure from Ben Hanley in the #21 DragonSpeed ORECA 07. A splash-and-dash by the #49 car meant that Hanley could catch the #49 and take second place with less than five minutes to the finish.

It looked as if Hanley had the pace to catch Hirakawa in the #22 but time ran out.


M.Racing – YMR took the two top podium spots and the first win for the new-for-2017 Norma M 30 after a race that saw incidents cause interruptions.

Taking the class win was the #19 M.Racing = YMR Norma M 30 piloted by Ricky Capo and Erwin Creed. Second in class was the sister #18 Ligier JS P3 with the driver line-up of Alexandra Cougnaud, Antoine Jung and Romano Ricci.

Taking the final podium spot was the #3 United Autosports Ligier JS P3 piloted by Mark Patterson, Wayne Boyd and Christian England.

The #17 Ultimate Ligier JS P3 now has a five point lead in the LMP3 standings over the #18 M.Racing – YMR entry.


The LMGTE class saw an emotional victory for the #66 JMW Motorsport Ferrari F458 driven by Robert Smith, Jody Fannin and Jonathan Cocker. The 4 Hours of Monza was the last race for the F458 which has been with the team for seven years. The victory at Monza means the #66 car won both its first and final outings. The team joked via social media that it was being ‘retired to a farm in the South-East where she can live out her days free-range’.

JMW a.a. 17.05.14

Photo: Dunlop Motorsport

Second in class was the #90 TF Sport Aston Martin V8 Vantage driven by Salih Yoluc, Euan Hankey and Nicky Thiim.

Taking the last podium spot was the #99 Beechdean AMR Aston Martin V8 Vantage.

TF Sport leads the LMGTE Teams classification by nine points over the JMW Motorsport entry.

The next round of the 2017 European Le Mans Series will be the 4 Hours of the Red Bull Ring on July 23.

“It’s Always Been My Dream To Drive In The 24 Hours Of Le Mans” – Graff’s James Allen Talks To (12.05.17)

Photo: James Allen

Australian-born but currently living in Nice, France for the racing season, James Allen will be realising a boyhood dream in June when he makes his debut appearance in the 24 Hours of Le Mans alongside Franck Matelli and Richard Bradley in the #40 Graff ORECA 07.

“It’s always been my dream to drive in the 24 Hours of Le Mans,” explained Allen. “To be able to actually do it is very exciting. The goal has always been Le Mans and prototypes. I just drove Formula cars to get experience in racing.”

The journey to Le Circuit de la Sarthe has been by way of single-seaters. James began his racing career in karts in his home country where he won the Australian National title and began racing in Europe in 2013 in the Formula BMW Talent Cup, in which he finished sixth. He drove for two full seasons in the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup with ARTA Engineering and in 2016 he finished seventh in the Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup with JD Motorsport.

James joined Morangis, France-based Graff at the start of the 2017 to contest the European Le Mans Series alongside fellow Le Mans debutant Franck Matelli and 2015 FIA World Endurance Championship Vice-Champion Richard Bradley.

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Photo: James Allen

Moving from single-seaters to driving as part of a team in multi-class racing has made James re-think the way he approaches races.

“I have to be a bit more patient, I guess,” said James. “You don’t want to risk unnecessary contact with a GTE or LMP3 car. In Formula cars you’re always competing with your team-mate whereas in sportscars and endurance racing, I’m doing everything I can to help my team-mates. I really like to do as much as I can to help everyone in the team.”

The first round of the 2017 European Le Mans Series saw the #40 Graff entry come home fourth, three places ahead of the sister #39 entry.

“I definitely feel more comfortable now,” said James. “I was very nervous going into the first race at Silverstone. Now I’ve had a run and seen what it’s like, I’m a lot more comfortable.”

What did James find most challenging about the opening round?

“The traffic is still the most difficult thing,” he explained. “Passing three or four cars a lap never happened in single-seaters. Setting up a pass on a much slower car and getting through while losing as little time as possible is a lot more difficult than it sounds. That’s definitely something I can work on for the next few races.”

James feels he has settled well into Graff for 2017.

“It’s been good. They’ve treated me like a rookie because that’s what I am. They’ve let me take my time and get used to the car. They seem happy with how I’m going and so am I. I’m happy with everything that’s going on at the moment.”

Although it’s still early in the season, James is clear on the future direction of his career.

“The dream is LMP1,” he said, confidently. “To be honest, if anybody is willing to pay me, I’ll drive for them. I’m not going to be fussy when it comes to that, that’s for sure!”

The second round of the 2017 European Le Mans Series will be held at Autodromo Nazionale Monza on May 14.