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European Le Mans Series

Estoril Weekend Notebook

Sportscar365’s ELMS weekend notebook from Estoril…

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

***LMP3 teams will only have to make two pit stops for the mandatory reference pit stop time, instead of the typical three this weekend. There’s also been a change in the minimum drive time for GTE class Gold/Platinum-rated drivers in three-driver lineups, which has been reduced from 60 to 45 minutes.

***The No. 23 Panis-Barthez Competition Ligier JS P2 Nissan will be forced to serve a stop-and-hold plus two-minute penalty in tomorrow’s European Le Mans Series season-ending Four Hours of Estoril, due to an engine change. It is the French team’s fourth change of the season.

***The team is still evaluating running a second Ligier JS P217 next year, alongside its already confirmed return to LMP3 with a Ligier JS P3.

***Krohn Racing is running on Dunlop tires for the first time this weekend. It’s understood the decision to switch from Michelins came earlier this week. Team owner Tracy Krohn is absent due to business commitments, leaving the No. 40 Ligier JS P2 Nissan to Olivier Pla and the Silver-rated Nic Jonsson only.

***A number of ELMS teams took the Autódromo Fernanda Pires da Silva for testing on Tuesday. This weekend marks the final race appearance for the series at Estoril, as the event has been moved back to Portimao for next year, to be held on Oct. 20-22.

***Nissan GT Academy winner Miguel Faisca makes his LMP3 debut, with the returning Eurointernational team, which missed the last round at Spa. The Portuguese driver has joined  Andrea Dromedari and 18-year-old Dutch rising star Rik Breukers in the No. 12 car this weekend. Rik, the son of Creventic’s Ivo Breukers, makes his second LMP3 start with the team.

***There’s been a change in the driver lineup at Pegasus Racing, which sees team owner Julien Schell back in action, replacing Remy Striebig at the wheel of the team’s Morgan LMP2 Nissan. The French squad is still working on a return to the ELMS next year, likely with two Ligier JS P3s.

***United Autosports, which locked up the LMP3 title last time out in Spa, is carrying a commemorative decal on its No. 2 Ligier JS P3 this weekend. The Anglo-American squad seeks its fourth class victory in six races this year.

***Algarve Pro Racing team principal Stewart Cox has made a visit to the paddock this weekend, to work on 2017 ELMS plans, ahead of his team’s two-car effort the 2016/2017 Asian Le Mans Series, which kicks off next weekend in Zhuhai. The Portuguese team elected to skip the ELMS finale in order to have both of its cars entered for the full season.

***Philippe Haezebrouck is set for his endurance racing return, with the Frenchman finalizing the driver lineups of the two-car Brooks Racing effort with the new Norma M30 LMP3 car next year. ELMS and VdeV Endurance Series programs are in the plans, as well as the potential of selected 24H Proto Series races.

***Inter Europol Competition plans to expand into a two-car LMP3 operation next year. The Polish team will return to Estoril for the VdeV finale next month, where it will debut its second Ligier JS P3.

***Estoril marks the final event for the Renault Sport Trophy, which ends after just two seasons with the Renault RS01. A total of 30 of the purpose-built cars were made for the single-make championship and are expected to continue to race in various championships, including the 24H Serie, VdeV Endurance Series, Blancpain GT Sports Club and International GT Open, via a “GT3 kit.”

Laurent Mercier contributed to this report

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