2017 European Le Mans Series season preview
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
|Round||Date||Event name||Race track|
|1||April 15||4 hours of Silverstone||Silverstone Circuit, UK|
|2||May 14||4 hours of Monza||Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Italy|
|3||July 23||4 hours of Red Bull Ring||Red Bull Ring, Spielberg, Austria|
|4||August 27||4 hours of Le Castellet||Circuit Paul Ricard, France|
|5||September 24||4 hours of Spa||Circuit de Spa-Frankorchamps, Belgium|
|6||October 22||4 hours of Algarve||Algarve International Circuit, Portimao, Portugal|
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
|LMP2||21||DragonSpeed||Oreca 07||Ben Hanley, Henrik Hedman, Nicolas Lapierre|
|22||G-Drive Racing||Oreca 07||Ryo Hirakawa, Leo Roussel, Memo Rojas|
|23||Panis Barthez Competition||Ligier JS P217||Fabien Barthez, Nathanael Berthon, Timothe Buret|
|25||Algarve Pro Racing||Ligier JS P217||Matt McMurry, Andrea Pizzitola, Andrea Roda|
|28||IDEC Sport Racing||Ligier JS P217||Patrice Lafargue, Paul Lafargue, David Zollinger|
|29||Racing Team Nederland||Dallara P217||Jan Lammers, Frits van Eerd|
|32||United Autosports||Ligier JS P217||Filipe Albuquerque, William Owen, Hugo de Sadeleer|
|34||Tockwith Motorsprots||Ligier JS P217||Philip Hanson, Nigel Moore|
|39||Graff||Oreca 07||James Allen, Richard Bradley, Franck Matelli|
|40||Graff||Oreca 07||Enzo Guibbert, Paul Petit, Eric Trouillet|
|47||Cetilar Villorba Corse||Dallara P217||Andrea Belicchi, Roberto Lacorte, Giorgio Sernagiotto|
|49||High Class Racing||Dallara P217||Dennis Andersen, Anders Fjordbach|
|LMP3||2||United Autosports||Ligier JS P3||John Falb, Sean Rayhall|
|3||United Autosports||Ligier JS P3||Mark Patterson, Wayne Boyd, Christian England|
|4||Cool Racing by GPC||Ligier JS P3||Iradj Alexander, Alexandre Coigny|
|5||By Speed Factory||Ligier JS P3||Jurgen Krebs, Tim Muller, Tristan Viidas|
|6||360 Racing||Ligier JS P3||Ross Kaiser, Anthony Wells, Terrence Woodward|
|7||Duqueine Engineering||Ligier JS P3||Antonin Borga, David Droux|
|8||Duqueine Engineering||Ligier JS P3||Henry Hassid, Vincent Beltoise, Maxime Pialat|
|9||AT Racing||Ligier JS P3||Mikkel Jensen, Alexander Talkanitsa Jr, Alexander Talkanitsa Sr|
|10||Oregon Team||Norma M30||Dario Capitanio, Andres Mendez, Davide Roda|
|11||Eurointernational||Ligier JS P3||Giorgio Mondini, Davide Uboldi|
|12||Eurointernational||Ligier JS P3||Riccardo Dona, Andrea Dromedari, Marco Jacoboni|
|13||Inter Europol Competition||Ligier JS P3||Martin Hippe, Jakub Smiechowski|
|15||RLR Msport||Ligier JS P3||Morten Dons, John Farano, Alex Kapadia|
|16||Panis Barthez Competition||Ligier JS P3||Theo Bean, Eric Debard, Simon Gachet|
|17||Ultimate||Ligier JS P3||Francois Heriau, Jean-Baptiste Lahaye, Matthieu Lahaye|
|18||M.Racing - YMR||Ligier JS P3||Alexandre Cougnaud, Antoine Jung, Romano Ricci|
|19||M.Racing - YMR||Norma M30||Ricky Capo, Yann Ehrlacher|
|LMGTE||51||Spirit of Race||Ferrari 488 GTE||Andrea Bertolini, Gianluca Roda, Giorgio Roda|
|55||Spirit of Race||Ferrari 488 GTE||Duncan Cameron, Matt Griffin, Aaron Scott|
|66||JMW Motorsport||Ferrari 458 Italia GT2||Rory Butcher, Jody Fannin, Robert Smith|
|77||Proton Competition||Porsche 911 RSR||Matteo Cairoli, Joel Camathias, Christian Ried|
|88||Proton Competition||Porsche 911 RSR||Wolf Henzler|
|90||TF Sport||Aston Martin Vantage GTE||Euan Hankey, Salih Yoluc, Nicki Thiim|
|99||Beechdean AMR||Aston Martin Vantage GTE||Ross Gunn, Andrew Howard, Darren Turner|