Boutsen Ginion Racing hit the race tracks since 1998
Boutsen Ginion Racing is a Belgian racing team which currently competes in touring car and sports car races. In the TCR Benelux, the team runs Honda Civic TCRs. In the Blancpain GT Sports Club series, the team has three cars – BMW M6 and two Lamborghini Reiter Gallardos.
The most recent success for the team is 2016 TCR Benelux title for team’s driver Stephane Lemeret. Earlier, the team competed in the European Le Mans Series, Blancpain GT Series, Eurocup Megane Trophy and other single-seater, touring car and GT competitions. At 24 hours of Le Mans, Boutsen Ginion Racing participated two times (2012, 2013) in the LMP2 class.
Olivier Laine and Thierry Boutsen founded a team in 1998
The team was founded in 1998 by Olivier Laine, who is a brother-in-law of former Formula One driver Thierry Boutsen. Boutsen has an advisory role in a team. Before founding his own team, Laine worked for some known teams (Oreca, Larrousse). Boutsen Ginion Racing is based in Wavre in central Belgium.
In the early years, the team mostly competed in the national and regional championship, such were Formula Renault 1.6 Belgium, Formula Renault 2.0, Renault Clio Cup France, Peugeot THP Spider Cup, Seat Supercopa France, Belgium Touring Car Series, French GT Championship or Eurocup Megane Trophy.
Seven seasons in the Eurocup Megane Trophy
The inaugural season of the Megane Trophy Eurocup in 2005 was the first notable international championship for the team, which was running two cars for Renaud Kuppens and Jeffrey van Hooydonk. The latter won two races, finishing fourth in the points.
The team was competing under the name Boutsen Energy Racing, staying in a competition until 2011. Maxime Martin was third in the final classification in 2007, progressing to second place in 2008. In 2009, Dimitri Enjalbert won seven races but it was enough just for the third place in the championship. The team left Megane Trophy at the end of 2011 to focus on other competitions.
Running with Oreca FLM09 from 2009 to 2012
In 2009, the team entered the newly formed Formula Le Mans Cup, in which all teams were using Oreca FLM09 prototypes. In total, thirteen drivers participated in the Cup for the team. Gary Chalandon was the best-placed at the end of the season, finishing in seventh place. Among the teams, Boutsen Energy Racing was in the third place.
In 2010, FLM Cup was integrated into Le Mans Series. The team finished in the third place again. The Oreca FLM09 has been used again in the 2012 European Le Mans Series season, which had only three events. The team participated in two races, winning at Donington and taking the LMPC title.
Racing with LMP2 prototypes since 2011
In 2011, Boutsen Energy Racing was running LMP2 prototype for the first time, using an Oreca 03-Nissan in the Le Mans Series. The team was fourth in the points, Dominik Kraihamer was the best-placed driver in the fifth place.
In 2012, Boutsen Ginion Racing participated in only one European Le Mans Series race with Oreca 03, retiring after 27 laps at Circuit Paul Ricard. In 2013, the team expanded its LMP2 activities to full ELMS season, finishing in the seventh place among teams.
Two participations at 24 hours of Le Mans
In 2012, Boutsen Ginion Racing participated for the first time at 24 hours of Le Mans, fielding the #45 Oreca 03 for Shinji Nakano, Jens Petersen and Bastien Briere. They finished 24th overall and 10th in the LMP2 class.
Next year, the #40 Oreca 03-Nissan was their car, driven by Thomas Dagoneu, Matt Downs and Rodin Younessi. They were 32nd overall and 11th in the LMP2 class.
Blancpain GT Series regulars since 2012
In 2012, while still running with LMP2 Oreca, Boutsen Ginion Racing entered the Blancpain Endurance Series for the first time, running with two McLaren MP4-12C GT3 cars. In total, twelve drivers contested for the team in Pro and Pro-Am class, with Nico Verdonck being most in a car, in all six races.
The team continued to run two McLarens in 2013, scoring first win in Pro-Am class at Circuit Paul Ricard, with Koen Wauters, David Dermont and Frederic Vervisch in the #15 car. Vervisch and Dermont were 8th in the Pro-Am standings. At the end of the season, two McLarens participated in the Baku World Challenge in Azerbaijan, which was a part of the FIA GT Series.
Switching to BMW since 2015
In 2014, the team had two McLarens in the Blancpain Endurance Series, switching to one BMW Z4 GT3 in the last round at Nurburgring. The team also took place in the final round of the Blancpain Sprint Series in Baku. In 2015, the team completely switched to BMW, with Karim Ojjeh and Olivier Grotz as full-time drivers of #15 car in the Am class. They won one race, at Silverstone, to finish fifth in the Am Cup.
In 2016, BMW M6 GT3 was a new car in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup, with Karim Ojjeh, Olivier Grotz and Julien Darras as full-time drivers. The team also participated in one race of the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup, with Maxime Martin and Matias Henkola driving BMW M6 GT3 in Misano.
Blancpain GT Sports Club since 2016
In 2016, Boutsen Ginion Racing entered two new competitions. The first one was the Blancpain GT Sports Club, reserved for drivers with Bronze status and drivers over the age of 60. Karim Ojjeh was driving BMW M6 GT3 in two races at Brands Hatch, scoring podiums in both races.
In 2017, the team is running three cars in the Blancpain GT Sports Club, a BMW M6 GT for Karim Ojjeh and Lamborghini Gallardo R-EXs for Claude-Yves Gosselin and Pierre Feligioni.
TCR Benelux champions in 2016
The other new competition in 2016 was the TCR Benelux touring car championship. Stephane Lemeret scored three wins and ten podiums to became the first ever TCR Benelux champion. He was driving Honda Civic TCR. Other full-time or guest drivers for the team were Tiago Monteiro, Norbert Michelisz, Matt Neal, Renaud Kuppens, Benjamin Lessennes, Kris Richard and Jean-Louis Dauger.
In 2017, Lemeret continues to drive for the team, along with Benjamin Lessennes. Tom Coronel and Enzo Guibbert were the other two drivers in the season-opening round at Spa. The team also took place in the Belgian round of the TCR International Series, with Lessennes and Coronel driving Honda Civic TCRs. Lessennes finished on a podium in Race 1.