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European Le Mans Series

Barcelona Weekend Notebook

Sportscar365’s weekend notebook from European Le Mans Series season-opener…

Photo: MPS Agency

***A total of 41 cars are set for this weekend’s European Le Mans Series season opener following the withdrawal of the No. 88 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE Evo after both Francois Perrodo and Emmanuel Collard tested positive for COVID-19 prior to their planned arrival into Spain.

***James Allen has also been ruled out due to a positive COVID-19 test, with Gabriel Aubry getting the late call to replace the Australian in the No. 65 Panis Racing Oreca 07 Gibson.

***Click Here for the final entry list.

***Two of Algarve Pro Racing’s three Oreca 07 Gibsons only arrived at the circuit on Tuesday after lengthy delays stemming from the backup of the Suez Canal due to the EverGreen ship fiasco. The Portuguese-based team’s equipment was returning from the Asian Le Mans Series in the UAE.

***As a result, neither the No. 25 G-Drive Racing Aurus 01 Gibson nor the No. 24 APR Oreca turned laps in the Prologue pre-season test.

***The No. 24 car of Ferdinand Habsburg, Richard Bradley and Diego Menchaca is carrying the colors of the “Drive Fast, Act Faster” campaign that’s aimed to achieve carbon neutrality in motorsports.

***APR aims to offset its carbon emissions by supporting the RMDTL Portel – Para’ project that prevents the destruction of native forests in Brazil, and at the same time contributing to the expansion of The Narupa Reserve in the Ecuadorian Amazon – one of the most biodiverse areas on the planet.

“Racing has taken me around the world, and lately I began to realize that I have to take more responsibility and set out other goals than just winning and driving to the limit,” said Habsburg.

***Franco Colapinto will not be pulling double duty between Barcelona and Imola for his Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine commitments due to “reasons out of our control”. The decision to focus entirely on ELMS duties this weekend is understood to have been made at the last minute.

***JOTA Sport is engineering TF Sport’s Racing Team Turkey car, in providing three of its team members. Longtime JOTA driver Harry Tincknelll is part of the team’s lineup in TF’s foray into prototype racing.

***The No. 77 Proton Competition Porsche 911 RSR-19 is in WeatherTech colors for the season, as a tie-in to its operations of the WeatherTech Racing GT Le Mans class entry in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

***A request by Team WRT to have an additional crew member assist Robert Kubica during driver changes has been denied by officials. The Polish driver, who is making his LMP2 debut, races despite injuries to his right hand from a rallying accident.

***WRT, which is among the number of sports car racing teams that have split their crews between Barcelona, Monza or the Nürburgring this weekend, sees Thierry Tassin on-site in Spain acting as the technical director. Team principal Vincent Vosse is also on-site in Barcelona.

***Inter Europol Competition has both of its Ligier JS P320 Nissans on the grid in LMP3, thanks to the late confirmation of Julius Adomavicius, Alessandro Bracalente and Mattia Pasini in the No. 14 car. COVID-related travel issues for its originally announced set of drivers had put the entry in question.

***Friday’s Bronze test was led by the No. 34 Racing Team Turkey Oreca of Salih Yoluc. Ex-Moto GP rider Pasini was fastest in LMP3 in the No. 14 Inter Europol Ligier while IMSA regular Rodrigo Sales paced GTE in the No. 66 JMW Motorsport Ferrari.

***Barcelona marks the debut of the Pro-Am subcategory in LMP2 for Bronze-rated drivers, which will also be in place in the FIA World Endurance Championship this year. 

***David Droux has been named the reserve driver for the No. 70 RealTeam Oreca at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which will see Esteban Garcia, Loic Duval and Norman Nato share driving duties in the race. Droux has already completed the equivalent of five days of testing in the LMP2 car.

***Francois Heriau, a regular driver in the ELMS with Ultimate, will compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans with SRT 41. Heriau could get behind the wheel of the Oreca for the first time in June at Paul Ricard to familiarize himself with the cockpit controls which are specially adapted for his co-drivers Takuma Aoki and Nigel Bailly.

***SRT41 is competing this weekend as an “Innovative Car” entry with Pierre Sancinena as the third driver alongside Takuma and Bailly.

***The 4 Hours of Barcelona gets underway Sunday at 11 a.m. local time (5 a.m. ET) with live coverage on the series’ YouTube page

David Bristol contributed to this report

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