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Algarve Pro Introduces New Lineup for LMP2 Title Defense

Defending champion Algarve Pro confirms driver lineup for 2021 Asian LMS season…

Photo: Algarve Pro Racing

Algarve Pro Racing will seek to defend its Asian Le Mans Series LMP2 title with a new driver lineup for the 2021 season which is taking place at Yas Marina Circuit in February.

Algarve Pro, which secured the 2019-20 Asian LMS crown with Roman Rusinov, Leonard Hoogenboom and James French, has confirmed that it will run an Oreca 07 Gibson for American racer John Falb and sports car debutants Rui Andrade and Franco Colapinto.

All three drivers are set for their first appearances in Asian LMS, while Falb is the only member of the lineup with prior race experience at the wheel of an LMP2.

The 2017 European Le Mans Series LMP3 champion has represented Algarve Pro’s LMP2 squad in the two most recent ELMS campaigns and at this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.

“I’m excited about sharing the No. 25 car with Franco and Rui, who are both extremely capable,” said Falb. “Algarve Pro has always done very well in Asia and it’s exciting to be going into the new season with the intention of defending the team’s championship title.”

Both Andrade and Colapinto are new to sports cars having driven exclusively in junior open-wheel competition up to this point.

Andrade, 21, contested his second season of Euroformula Open this year and has also raced in the Spanish and UAE-based national Formula 4 championships.

Argentinian teenager Colapinto, meanwhile, graduated from karting in 2019 and took 11 victories on his way to winning the Spanish F4 title at the first attempt.

The 17-year-old graduated to Formula Renault Eurocup this year and finished third in the standings driving for Dutch outfit MP Motorsport.

Colapinto was also active in various esports competitions during the spring months and joined LMP2 outfit IDEC Sport for the virtual 24 Hours of Le Mans held in June.

“Before I tested [with Algarve Pro Racing] in Portimao, my only experience in an LMP2 car was in the virtual 24 Hours of Le Mans,” he said.

“Coming from F4 and just one season of Formula Renault, it’s a big change. The power, braking and downforce is just so amazing.

“I think I always step up to new challenges well, because I won F4 in my first year and finished as the highest debutant in Formula Renault. I can’t wait to get back behind the wheel, and to do it with Rui is so exciting.”

Andrade added: “I can’t wait to get back to Abu Dhabi, as it’s where my career really kicked off when I got seven podiums in UAE F4.

“To be returning just a few years later in LMP2 is incredible. Before the test in Portimao, I had a few different opportunities lined up, but I knew this was the one I wanted to pursue as soon as I arrived.

“Algarve Pro Racing is so professional and friendly, and they helped me to learn the new car quickly so I could focus on improving my lap times.

“I think we’re going to have an incredible Asian Le Mans season together and I’m looking forward to returning to the UAE to fly the Angolan flag once again.”

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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