Tag Archives: European Le Mans Series

Pole For DragonSpeed In ELMS 4 Hours Of Silverstone (14.04.17)

Photo Above: Jakob Ebrey / Europeanlemansseries.com

DragonSpeed, with its #21 ORECA 07 driven by Ben Hanley, has taken pole position for the opening round of the 2017 European Le Mans Series

TF Sport, Aston Martin and Nicki Thiim drew first blood in the ten-minute sessions by qualifying on pole in the LMGTE category.

It was an Aston Martin 1 -2 in qualifying for the 4 Hours of Silverstone with the Danish driver lapping the Northamptonshire circuit in the #90 Aston Martin V8 Vantage in 1:58.269. Thiim was closely followed by Ross Gunn who lapped the #99 Beechdean AMRV8 Vantage in 1:58.466.

In third position was the #55 Spirit of Race Ferrari F488 GT3 with Matt Griffin behind the wheel. Griffin had lap-time of 1:59.697 disqualified for a track limit infringement but the deletion of the lap did not affect his grid position.

Rory Butcher in the JMW Motorsport Ferrari 458 Italia had a disappointing session, qualifying in the final position in the class, with a 2:00.940.

With a hint of moisture in the air, the LMP3 grid went out for their ten-minute session. LMP3 Sean Rayhall in the #2 United Autosports Ligier JSP3 looked to have class pole sewn up, even after the chequered flag had been shown. However Mikkel Jensen had other ideas and, courtesy of a session-fastest third sector, put the #9 AT Racing Ligier JSP3 on pole by less than two-tenths of second with a 1:53.665.

Qualifying in third position was the sister #3 United Autosports Ligier JS P3 with Wayne Boyd at the wheel, setting a time of 1:54.181.

8 cars were ‘pinged’ for track limit infringements and had lap times deleted, indicating the stance that the Race Director will be taking on cars keeping to the racing surface this season.

The LMP2 qualifying session was interrupted by a brief red flag following the departure from the track at Maggots of both the #22 G-Drive Racing ORECA 07 with Ryo Hirakawa behind the wheel and the #40 Graff entry driven by Richard Bradley.

After the session resumed with 5 minutes to go it was Filipe Albuquerque in the #32 United Autosports Ligier JS P217 who took provisional pole with a 1:44.314 from Andrea Pizzitola driving the #25 Algarve Pro entry.

Ben Hanley, however, in the #21 DragonSpeed ORECA 07 was quickly up to speed and snatched pole position with a 1:44.040. as the sessions was drawing to a close.

The opening round of the 2017 European Le Mans Series takes place on April 15 with the lights going out for the 4 Hours of Silverstone at 14:30

DragonSpeed Quickest In Silverstone European Le Mans Series FP2 (14.04.17)

Photo Above: Jakob Ebrey Photography / Europeanlemansseries.com

Friday’s 90-minute Free Practice 2 session took place under grey and cold skies initially although it did brighten up as the session progressed.

Fastest time in the new-look LMP2 category was set by Ben Hanley with a 1:44.647 in the #21 DragonSpeed ORECA 07, a car he shares with Henrik Hedman and Nicolas Lapierre. Second quickest, with a 1:44.856 was the #40 Graff ORECA 07 driven by Roberto Lacorte, Giorgio Sernagiotto and Richard Bradley, with Bradley setting the time.

Third fastest in a largely uneventful session was the #32 United Autosports Ligier JSP217 driven by William Owen, Hugo de Sadeleer and Filipe Albuquerque with a 1:45.742 set by Albuequerque.

Overall, times looked to be about 4 seconds a lap quicker in comparison with times set by the 2016-spec cars last year. Weather in 2016 was extremely variable so it is difficult to draw exact conclusions.

In the LMP3 class, it was 2016-class champions United Autosports who once again showed the way with its #3 Ligier JS P3 setting a time of 1:55.101 with Wayne Boyd behind the wheel. Panis Barthez Compétition was second quickest with 1:55.425 set by Simon Gachet in the #16 Ligier JS P3 he shares with Eric Debard and Théo Bean.

Third quickest, and completing a Ligier lock-out at the top of the time-sheets was the sister #2 United Autosports entry with a 1:55.804 set by John Falb in a car he shares with Sean Rayhall.

In the LMGTE field, Darren Turner set the quickest time with a 2:00.517 in the #99 Beechdean AMR Aston Martin V8 Vantage. The car was not without its issues though as it was in the garage during the session with gear-box problems. Team owner Andrew Howard commented that, although practice in changing gear-boxes was always useful, due to the limited practice the teams get, he would have much preferred to have the car on the track putting in laps.

Qualifying for the 2017 4 Hours of Silverstone, split into 3 ten-minute sessions for each class begins at 14:05.

2017 European Le Mans Series Set For Silverstone Lift-Off! (12.04.17)

The 2017 European Le Mans Series is set for its traditional season-opening round with the 4 Hours of Silverstone on Saturday April 15 of the Easter Bank Holiday Weekend.

35 cars will take to the grid, with 12 in the premier LMP2 class, 17 in the ever-popular LMP3 class and six in the LMGTE category, a slight reduction from 2016’s bumper grid.

With G-Drive Jota Sport deciding not to defend its 2016 title, there is everything to play for in the new-look all-Gibson-powered LMP2 class.

DragonSpeed returns with its new ORECA 07 and maintains its 2016 driver line-up of Henrik Hedman, Nicolas Lapierre and Ben Hanley.

Joining the ORECA ranks is the G-Drive racing ORECA 07, this year driven by Memo Rojas, Ryo Hirikawa and Léo Roussel. Graff moves up to LMP2 class in 2017 with a pair of ORECA 07s. The #39 car will be driven by Eric Trouillet, Paul Petit and Enzo Guibbert. The sister #40 entry is piloted by James Allen, Franck Matelli and Richard Bradley.

Three Dallara P217s will be on the grid in 2017. Racing Team Nederland has entered its #29 car with 1988 Le Mans-winner Jan Lammers and Frits Van Eerd as the drivers currently named. High Class Racing is bringing its #49 Dallara P217 with Dennis Anderson and Anders Fjordbach sharing the driving duties. Italian team Cetilar Villorba Corsa has entered the #47 Dallara. Roberto Lacorte, Giorgio Sernagiotto and Andrea Belicchi will drive.

Panis-Barthez Compétition returns in LMP2 with its Ligier JSP217. For 2017 Fabien Barthez and Timothé Buret are joined by Nathanaël Berthon. Algarve Pro Racing has entered its #25 Ligier, this year driven by Andrea Roda, Matthew McMurry and Andrea Pizzitola. Patrice and Paul Lafargue also return with IDEC Sport Racing in the #28 Ligier JSP217, sharing the driving duties in 2017 with David Zollinger.

After its success last year in the LMP3 class, United Autosports has entered the LMP2 category with a Ligier JSP217. William Owen, Hugo de Sadeleer and Filipe Albuquerque will pilot the #32 entry.

Tockwith Motorsports, who contested two rounds of the European Le Mans Series in the LMP3 class in 2016, graduate to LMP2 for the new season and completes the line-up of Ligier JSP217s. Nigel Moore and Philip Hanson will drive.

The LMP3 class sees three fewer cars on the grid for 2017. Ligier again dominates the manufacturers with all but two of the class racing the Nissan-powered JS P3 chassis. There are four two-car teams on the entry list.

After dominating the category in 2016, United Autosports returns with two entries. The #2 car will be driven by John Falb and Sean Rayhall with Mark Patterson, Wayne Boyd and Christian England sharing the driving duties in the sister #3 entry.

Duqueine Engineering also returns with two entries. The driver line-up shares one driver who started the season with the team last year. David Droux will drive the #7 entry, sharing the driving duties with Antonin Borga and Nicolas Schaltz. The #8 entry will be piloted by Vincent Beltoise and Henry Hassid.

Eurointernational has two drivers returning from the season-starting line-up of 2016. Giorgio Mondini returns in the #11 entry, partnered with Davide Uboldi. Andrea Dromedari is joined by Marco Jacobini and Riccardo Dona in the #12 car.

M.Racing-YMR has the distinction of entering chassis from two different manufacturers in the class. The #18 entry is its Ligier JS P3 and will be driven by Alexandra Cougnaud, Antoine Jung and Romano Ricci with the sister #19 Norma M 30 to be piloted by Yann Ehrlacher, Ricky Capo and Erwin Creed.

The remaining Norma M 30 entrant is Oregon Team with its driving line-up of Davide Roda, Andres Mendez and Dario Capitiano.

Eight further teams are one-car entries and all are running Ligier chassis. Cool Racing by GPC have Iradj Alexander and Gino Forgione behind the wheel. The #5 By Speed Factory car will be piloted by Tim Müller, Jürgen Krebs and Tristan Viidas. The #6 360 Racing entry has an all-British driver line-up up of Terrence Woodward, Ross Kaiser and Anthony Wells. AT Racing welcomes the Alexander Talkanitsas, Snr and Jnr, to be partnered by Mikkel Jensen in the #9 car.

Inter Europol Competition returns with its #13 Ligier JS P3 with Martin Hippe joining Jakub Smiechowski behind the wheel in 2017. John Farano and Alex Kapadia join Morten Dons at RLR MSport in the #15 entry.

Panis Barthez Competition are the second of two teams in 2017 with entries in both LMP2 and LMP3 categories. Its #16 entry will be driven by Eric Debard, Simon Gachet and Théo Bean.

Finally, in the LMP3 class, Ultimate returns with its #17 entry driven by an unchanged line-up from twelve months ago, namely Mathieu Lahaye, Jean-Baptiste Lahaye and François Heriau.

The LMGTE class is slightly smaller than 2016, with six entries on the list for the opening round of Silverstone. Two Ferrari F488 GTEs are entered by Spirit of Race with the #51 to be driven by Gianluca Roda, Giorgio Roda and ex-JMW Motorsport driver Andrea Bertolini. The sister car, the #55, has Duncan Cameron and Matt Griffin, who are also contesting the 2017 British GT Championship, alongside Aaron Scott.

JMW Motorsport return with its venerable Ferrari F458 Italia, to be driven by Robert Smith, Rory Butcher and Jody Fannin.

The sole Porsche entry this year is the #77 Proton Competition 911 RSR (991) with the driver line-up of Christian Reid, Joël Camathias and Matteo Cairoli.

Two Aston Martin V8 Vantages will be on the grid. 2016 British GT and Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup champions TF Sport has Salih Yoluc, Euan Hankey and Nicki Thiim behind the wheel. Returning to defend their title, Beechdean AMR is back with Andrew Howard, Ross Gunn and factory-driver Darren Turner completing the driving line-up.

10-minute qualifying sessions for the 4 Hours of Silverstone begin at 14:05 local time on Friday April 14 with the flag dropping for the start of the first round of the 2017 series on Saturday April 15 at 14:30 local time.

European Le Mans Series Concludes Pre-Season Official Test Session At Monza (30.03.17)

Photo Above: Europeanlemansseries.com

The European Le Mans Series field gathered at Autodromo Nazionale Monza over March 28 – 29 for the Official Test Session ahead of the opening round of the 2017 season at Silverstone on April 15.

41 cars gathered at the iconic Italian circuit, comprising 13 LMP2 entrants, 21 LMP3 cars and seven from the LMGTE class.

The two-day test was divided into five separate sessions. Tuesday March 28 saw three sessions – two three-hour sessions, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, followed by a two-hour night session at 19:00 local time.

Wednesday saw the cars out on the track for two further three-hour sessions, again one a.m. and one p.m. session.

In LMP2, Graff topped the timesheets in three out of the five sessions with the #40 Graff ORECA 07 quickest in the second and third session. It was, however, the #28 IDEC SPORT RACING Ligier JSP2-17, driven by Patrice and Paul Lafargue, Olivier Pla and David Zollinger which put in the fastest time for the LMP2 class over the two-day test with a 1:36.461 set on the morning of the second day with Patrice Lafarge at wheel.

In LMP3 four teams shared the top spots over the five sessions. The #9 AT Racing Ligier JS P3, with the driver line-up of Alexander Talkanitsa Sr and Jr and Mikkel Jensen was quickest in sessions one and three but it was the #2 United Autosports Ligier JS P3 which set the quickest time in the class over the course of the two days with a 1:45.219 on the morning of the second day. John Falb and Sean Rayhall were sharing the driving duties of the #2 entry and it was Rayhall who set the time on his 30th lap our of 32.

The LMGTE field made up in quality what it may have lacked in numbers with seven entries declared for the full season.

2016 Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup victors TF Sport, with the driver line-up of Salih Yoluc, Euan Hankey, Nicki Thiim and Robert Bell, topped the time sheets in two out of five of the sessions, setting the quickest time of the LMGTE class with a 1:48.720 during the first session with Yoluc at the wheel.

2016 European Le Mans Series LMGTE champions Beechdean AMR laid down a marker, however, and were quickest in two sessions, being the only class runners in the evening session at the end of the first day. Aston Martin works-driver Darren Turner in the #99 Beechdean AMR Aston Martin V8 Vantage, sharing the driving duties with Andrew Howard and Ross Gunn, put in a 1:49.885 in the cool, night air.

The focus will now turn to the 4 Hours of Silverstone on April 15 for the first round of the 2017 season. 2016 was a classic year for the Series. 2017 promises to be even better.

Jota Sport / Jackie Chan DC Racing Combine For Two-Car Assault On 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship

Jackie Chan DC Racing and Kent-based Jota Sport have announced that they are to join forces to enter a pair of ORECA 07 LMP2s in the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship.

Jota Sport, 2016 European Le Mans Series champions, ran the G-Drive Racing entry in last season’s FIA World Endurance Championship, finishing third in the standings for the FIA Endurance Trophy For LMP2 Teams. G-Drive Racing had a strong finish to the season with consecutive victories at the last three rounds.

Jackie Chan DC Racing finished second in the LMP2 class in the 2016/17 Asian Le Mans Series and 2017 will be the second year of FIA World Endurance Championship competition for the DC Racing team.

The combined team will run under the Chinese flag with an entrant name of Jackie Chan DC Racing.

“I am very excited that our team Jackie Chan DC Racing has joined forces with Jota Sport to create what I believe will be a very strong squad for 2017 in the FIA World Endurance Championship,” said team owner and driver, David Cheng. “I have already got a very good feeling that I and our partners will enjoy racing alongside Sam Hignett, David Clark and all the team at Jota Sport.”

Team Director for Jota Sport Sam Hignett is also excited at the opportunities that the 2017 season offers.

“This is a significant day for both Jota Sport and Jackie Chan DC Racing,” said Hignett. “This new alliance will ensure we can carry the momentum that both squads had from 2016 in to the current campaign and continue the winning ways which saw such a successful end to last season.”

The first round of the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship takes place at Silverstone on April 16.

Alex Brundle Joins G-Drive Racing For WEC

G-Drive Racing, managed by Kent-based JOTA Sport, has announced that Alex Brundle will join the team to partner Roman Rusinov and René Rast for the remaining rounds of the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship season.

Currently leading the LMP3 class in the 2016 European Le Mans Series driving for United Autosports, Brundle tested for G-Drive Racing at the Le Mans Test Weekend in June to allow him to be eligible as the team’s official reserve driver for the French classic. Continue reading Alex Brundle Joins G-Drive Racing For WEC