2017 European Le Mans Series season preview

  • 2017 European Le Mans Series season preview
  • European Le Mans Series flag

The thirty-five cars in three categories are ready to start the 2017 European Le Mans Series season, the 13th edition of the sports car racing endurance competition organized by Automobile Club de l’Ouest’s (ACO). Twelve LMP2 prototypes, seventeen LMP3 prototypes and six LMGTE cars were announced as full-time entries for the 2017 ELMS season.

ELMS returns to Monza and Algarve

In 2017, ELMS comes with some new rules but with the old excitement of racing at six premier race tracks all over Europe. Compared to 2016 calendar, four circuits remain in the calendar while Italian and Portuguese rounds change their locations. The season will kick off on April 15 at Silverstone, sharing a racing weekend with the FIA World Endurance Championship.

The second round will be moved from Imola to Monza. The iconic Italian race track is returning to ELMS calendar for the first time since 2008. Red Bull Ring, Circuit Paul Ricard and Spa-Francorchamps are the same venues as the year before. The season’s finale is scheduled for October 22 and will be held again in Portugal. This time, the host will be the Algarve International Circuit instead of Estoril. The last ELMS race in Portimao was held in 2010.

2017 European Le Mans Series calendar

RoundDateEvent nameRace track
1April 154 hours of SilverstoneSilverstone Circuit, UK
2May 144 hours of MonzaAutodromo Nazionale Monza, Italy
3July 234 hours of Red Bull RingRed Bull Ring, Spielberg, Austria
4August 274 hours of Le CastelletCircuit Paul Ricard, France
5September 244 hours of SpaCircuit de Spa-Frankorchamps, Belgium
6October 224 hours of AlgarveAlgarve International Circuit, Portimao, Portugal
36 cars are on the entry list for the 2017 ELMS season

36 cars are on the entry list for the 2017 ELMS season

Four chassis manufacturers and one engine for LMP2 class

The LMP2 class, which is the top category in the ELMS, underwent some regulations changes ahead of 2017 season. The teams are able to choose from four different chassis constructors (Dallara, Onroak/Ligier, Oreca or Riley/Multimatic) while the engine supplier is only one, the British Gibson Technologies. All cars will be equipped with 4.2-litre V8 naturally aspirated engines.

In the LMP3 class, the Ligier JS P3 remained the main choice for almost all teams. French team M.Racing – YMR and Italian Oregon Team announced two Norma M30 prototypes on the grid. In the LMGTE class, only three manufacturers will be represented – Ferrari, Porsche and Aston Martin.

Not all champions are back on the grid

Of last year’s champions, only some are returning to defend their titles. G-Drive Racing took the LMP2 championship title in 2016 in association with Jota Sport. This year, G-Drive will run the #22 Oreca 07 with Mexican Memo Rojas as leading driver. Other listed drivers of #22 car are Ryo Hirakawa and Leo Roussel.

Last year’s LMP3 champions from United Autosports will defend a title with two cars, but also will fight for LMP2 laurels with #32 Ligier. In the GTE class, Aston Martin’s Andrew Howard and Darren Turner are returning to the championship, accompanied by Ross Gunn in the #99 Beechdean Vantage.

2017 European Le Mans Series provisional entry list

LMP221DragonSpeedOreca 07Ben Hanley, Henrik Hedman, Nicolas Lapierre
22G-Drive RacingOreca 07Ryo Hirakawa, Leo Roussel, Memo Rojas
23Panis Barthez CompetitionLigier JS P217Fabien Barthez, Nathanael Berthon, Timothe Buret
25Algarve Pro RacingLigier JS P217Matt McMurry, Andrea Pizzitola, Andrea Roda
28IDEC Sport RacingLigier JS P217Patrice Lafargue, Paul Lafargue, David Zollinger
29Racing Team NederlandDallara P217Jan Lammers, Frits van Eerd
32United AutosportsLigier JS P217Filipe Albuquerque, William Owen, Hugo de Sadeleer
34Tockwith MotorsprotsLigier JS P217Philip Hanson, Nigel Moore
39GraffOreca 07James Allen, Richard Bradley, Franck Matelli
40GraffOreca 07Enzo Guibbert, Paul Petit, Eric Trouillet
47Cetilar Villorba CorseDallara P217Andrea Belicchi, Roberto Lacorte, Giorgio Sernagiotto
49High Class RacingDallara P217Dennis Andersen, Anders Fjordbach
LMP32United AutosportsLigier JS P3John Falb, Sean Rayhall
3United AutosportsLigier JS P3Mark Patterson, Wayne Boyd, Christian England
4Cool Racing by GPCLigier JS P3Iradj Alexander, Alexandre Coigny
5By Speed FactoryLigier JS P3Jurgen Krebs, Tim Muller, Tristan Viidas
6360 RacingLigier JS P3Ross Kaiser, Anthony Wells, Terrence Woodward
7Duqueine EngineeringLigier JS P3Antonin Borga, David Droux
8Duqueine EngineeringLigier JS P3Henry Hassid, Vincent Beltoise, Maxime Pialat
9AT RacingLigier JS P3Mikkel Jensen, Alexander Talkanitsa Jr, Alexander Talkanitsa Sr
10Oregon TeamNorma M30Dario Capitanio, Andres Mendez, Davide Roda
11EurointernationalLigier JS P3Giorgio Mondini, Davide Uboldi
12EurointernationalLigier JS P3Riccardo Dona, Andrea Dromedari, Marco Jacoboni
13Inter Europol CompetitionLigier JS P3Martin Hippe, Jakub Smiechowski
15RLR MsportLigier JS P3Morten Dons, John Farano, Alex Kapadia
16Panis Barthez CompetitionLigier JS P3Theo Bean, Eric Debard, Simon Gachet
17UltimateLigier JS P3Francois Heriau, Jean-Baptiste Lahaye, Matthieu Lahaye
18M.Racing - YMRLigier JS P3Alexandre Cougnaud, Antoine Jung, Romano Ricci
19M.Racing - YMRNorma M30Ricky Capo, Yann Ehrlacher
LMGTE51Spirit of RaceFerrari 488 GTEAndrea Bertolini, Gianluca Roda, Giorgio Roda
55Spirit of RaceFerrari 488 GTEDuncan Cameron, Matt Griffin, Aaron Scott
66JMW MotorsportFerrari 458 Italia GT2Rory Butcher, Jody Fannin, Robert Smith
77Proton CompetitionPorsche 911 RSRMatteo Cairoli, Joel Camathias, Christian Ried
88Proton CompetitionPorsche 911 RSRWolf Henzler
90TF SportAston Martin Vantage GTEEuan Hankey, Salih Yoluc, Nicki Thiim
99Beechdean AMRAston Martin Vantage GTERoss Gunn, Andrew Howard, Darren Turner

Photos: europeanlemansseries.com,

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