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European Le Mans Series

Estoril Saturday Notebook

Laurent Mercier’s Saturday ELMS notebook from Estoril…

Photo: ELMS

Photo: ELMS

***The 2015 ELMS calendar, released today, sees a date clash between the Four Hours of Imola and Nurburgring 24, with both races being held on the weekend of May 17. “Our series is called the European Le Mans Series and the schedule is organized around the 24 Hours of Le Mans,” said ELMS CEO Gerard Neveu.

***Neveu has been pleased with the response of the calendar. Work is ongoing for support races, while he revealed there was initially consideration for a change in the weekend format. “After consultation with the teams at Paul Ricard, it was decided to stay with the two-day meetings of races four hours in length,” he said.

***With a number of ELMS teams looking to move up to the FIA WEC next year, could it pose a problem for entries in the European championship? “As I said at Fuji, we are only in October,” Neveu said. “We’ll see how it as at the [entry deadline]. Each year, a selection committee reviews applications. There are two different platforms, including FIA WEC and ELMS. Let’s not forget where the ELMS was only two years ago.”

***The Estoril paddock has been a complete sellout, with all 5,000 tickets for behind-the-scenes access having already been sold. The local promoter has implemented several new initiatives to promote the event. The weather looks good for the race, which should also encourage Portuguese fans to arrive for tomorrow’s race.

***With a 10-point lead over Jota Sport, Signatech-Alpine is in the catbird’s seat as the French squad chases its second consecutive LMP2 championship. “Last year we were in the opposite situation. Nothing is ever taken for granted. We will run our own race,” said team principal Philippe Sinault.

***Could Nico Hulkenberg be the next F1 driver to compete in the FIA WEC? Several media outlets have have linked the Force India driver to a possible drive with Porsche in next year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans. The German manufacturer is known to be evaluating entering a third Porsche 919 for the 24-hour endurance classic.

***Look for the Zytek Z11SN to undergo an evolution for 2015. The British manufacturer, now known as Gibson Technology, plans to release the all-new Z16S in 2016. However a facelift to its current open-top car is planned, following updates to the Zytek in 2009 and 2012.

***There could be a new engine manufacturer in LMP2 next year. The undisclosed manufacturer is actively represented in various GT categories, while having a history in the prototype ranks. More should be known in the coming weeks.

***While having recently taken delivery of a second Morgan LMP2 car, Pegasus Racing is aiming to expand into a two-car team next year in the ELMS. The Julien Schell-owned squad will be testing several drivers shortly to complete the 2015 lineup.

Laurent Mercier (@LaurentMercier2) is the Editor-in-Chief of, the leading French-language source for the latest sports car racing news from around the world.


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