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European Le Mans Series

Canal Returns to Panis-Barthez LMP2 Lineup

Two-time WEC LMP2 champion Julien Canal returns to Panis-Barthez for 2019 ELMS program…

Photo: MPS Agency

Panis Barthez Competition has finalized one of its LMP2 driver lineups for the European Le Mans Series with the re-signing of double FIA World Endurance Championship winner Julien Canal.

The 36-year-old Frenchman will return to the French squad’s No. 23 Ligier JS P217 Gibson, sharing driving duties with Will Stevens and Rene Binder.

Canal, Stevens and Timothe Buret finished sixth with Panis-Barthez in last year’s LMP2 standings and took podiums in the final two races at Spa-Francorchamps and Portimao.

“Keeping Julien Canal among us is very good news for the whole team,” said team principal Olivier Panis.

“His maturity and his experience are well proven, and last year it united us around new strong goals.

“His close relation with Will Stevens is now strengthened by the determination of Rene Binder. All together, they are going to do wonderful things on track.”

Canal, who is FIA silver-rated, won the WEC LMP2 title in 2015 with G-Drive Racing and again in 2017 with Vaillante Rebellion.

“After a two-month winter break, I was in touch with some endurance teams in order to find the most suitable sporting program in parallel with my professional activities,” said the three-time 24 Hours of Le Mans class winner.

“But looking at what we achieved last year with the team of Olivier Panis and Simon Abadie, taking into account the progress we made [toward] the end, it was obvious that carrying on with Panis-Barthez Competition was the best option.”

Endurance-info previously reported that Panis-Barthez was exploring options for a second ELMS entry in 2019, while the team today confirmed that it plans to announce a second a three-driver lineup at a later date.

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

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