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European Le Mans Series

Imola Saturday Notebook

Laurent Mercier’s notebook from Saturday’s ELMS action at Imola…

Photo: Gary Parravani/Xynamic

Photo: Gary Parravani/Xynamic

***2014 marks a rather special year at Imola as it’s been 20 years since Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger’s deaths at the Italian circuit. Newblood by Morand Racing has paid tribute to the two drivers, with a message displayed on the rear wing of its Morgan-Judd.

***Three-time Le Mans winner and 2013 FIA WEC champion Allan McNish will give the start to Sunday’s Four Hours of Imola, which is scheduled to get the green at 2 p.m. local (8 a.m. ET). Live coverage will be available on the official series’ website,

***TDS Racing is eyeing additional races for its BMW Z4 GT3, including the Gulf 12 Hours and Hankook 24 Hours of Dubai. The French squad has even considered entering the Petit Le Mans with its Ligier JS P2 Nissan, but the timing does not fit well due to the ELMS rounds at Paul Ricard and Estoril.

***With reigning ELMS champion Pierre Ragues without a drive this weekend, the Signatech Alpine-contracted driver will be in the commentary booth for the French language coverage on Motors TV. Ragues will return to the wheel of a prototype next month at Le Mans, joining Keiko Ihara and Ricky Taylor in Larbre Competition’s Morgan-Judd.

***Despite Signatech-Alpine making the switch to Dunlops, Sebastien Loeb Racing will continue its collaboration with Michelin. Loeb Racing is the only LMP2 team on the French rubber this weekend, following Larbre’s withdrawal.

***It remains to be seen if Sebastien Loeb Racing’s Audi R8 LMS ultra will return to the ELMS later this year. The team was apparently unhappy with car’s lack of performance (BoP) in last month’s season-opener at Silverstone.

***While not present this weekend with its Morgan-Judd, there are no concerns in the Larbre Competition camp for its participation at Le Mans next month. The Jack Leconte-led squad simply preferred to focus on the 24-hour race rather than risk potential damage in Imola.

***Jacques Nicolet is present this weekend, not as a driver or a team owner, but rather to support his customers Pegasus Racing, Thiriet by TDS Racing and Newblood by Morand Racing, which all have Onroak Automotive-designed Morgan LMP2 cars.

***Two corners of the Red Bull Ring, the ELMS’ next stop on July 20, have been renamed. The Niki Lauda Kurve takes the name of Pirelli and the corner named after Gerhard Berger is now known as the Wurth Kurve.

***The rumor that ProSpeed Competition would enter a Porsche 911 RSR in the FIA WEC post-Le Mans has not been absolutely confirmed. It’s understood that the Belgian team is currently evaluating its options, which could include potentially leasing a 991-based GTE car should it be available.

***The ELMS prize-giving ceremony will take place directly after the season-finale in Estoril, according to series promoter Gerard Neveu. Neveu also told us that the FIA WEC awards banquet will be held in Sao Paulo following its championship-deciding race in late November.

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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