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European Le Mans Series

Maldonado, Van der Helm Complete Panis Lineup

Manuel Maldonado, Tijmen van der Helm to team with Job van Uitert at Panis Racing…

Photo: MPS Agency

Panis Racing has signed Manuel Maldonado and Tijmen van der Helm to complete its lineup for the European Le Mans Series.

The duo will team with Job van Uitert aboard the No. 65 Oreca 07 Gibson, with the Dutchman already confirmed when the series released a bumper, 42-car full-season entry last week.

Van Uitert is the only driver retained by the team following its 2022 campaign, in which it remained winless but finished runner-up in the LMP2 standings behind champions Prema.

Julien Canal was recently confirmed as part of the two-car Alpine LMP2 effort in the FIA World Endurance Championship, while Nico Jamin is yet to be announced elsewhere.

Maldonado joins the French team as the designated Silver driver for the upcoming season. The nephew of ex-Formula 1 racer Pastor Maldonado returns to LMP2 after a year of racing McLaren GT3 machinery in Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS.

He raced with Garage 59 in both the Sprint and Endurance Cup as well as the Asian Le Mans Series.

Van der Helm, meanwhile, is set for his sophomore season in sports car racing after transitioning from single seaters last year.

In his first year in LMP2, he raced with TDS Racing in ELMS and joined ARC Bratislava for four appearances in WEC.

“The team’s ambition this year in ELMS is simple: to win,” said team principal Olivier Panis.

“Over the last few seasons, we have steadily made progress, reaching the point where we finished runner-up in 2022.

“Together with Sarah and Simon Abadie, we have a strong group of engineers who knows how to operate the Oreca 07 under Florent Gouin’s authority.

“Our mechanics are very efficient as well and impressive during the pitstops phases. We are very happy that Job Van Uitert is back with us.

“He is a solid driver, very fast, very much involved with the staff. He will lead the team and will offer a strong reference to the newcomers.

“He is now joined by another Dutch as teammate. 19-year-old Tijmen Van Der Helm already made great impression within the new generation of endurance drivers. His integration in the team will be eased by the presence of Job.

“Manuel Maldonado is a Silver driver who has shown great potential on track. We are confident that he will carry on progressing at Panis Racing, whose aspiration has always been to support and develop young people.

“We can’t wait to start the season and to fight for victory!”

Davey Euwema is Sportscar365's European Editor. Based in The Netherlands, Euwema covers the FIA World Endurance Championship, European Le Mans Series and Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS, among other series.

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