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European Le Mans Series

Menezes Replaces Merhi at G-Drive for Rest of Season

Menezes replaces Merhi in No. 25 G-Drive entry for remaining ELMS rounds at Spa, Portimao…

Photo: MPS Agency

Gustavo Menezes has joined G-Drive Racing’s LMP2 lineup for the final two European Le Mans Series rounds, replacing Roberto Merhi in the No. 25 Aurus 01 Gibson.

Peugeot Le Mans Hypercar driver Menezes will team up with Rui Andrade and John Falb for the 4 Hours of Spa this weekend and the 4 Hours of Portimao next month.

The American has already made two ELMS appearances this season with DragonSpeed at the Red Bull Ring and Paul Ricard.

G-Drive Racing’s No. 25 entry, which is run by Algarve Pro Racing, competes against DragonSpeed and a handful of other entries in the LMP2 Pro-Am category.

Menezes’ last full season of ELMS came with the Portugal-based Algarve Pro squad in 2018 when he shared an Oreca 07 Gibson with Ryan Cullen and Harrison Newey.

“In short, I’m excited to be going back to racing in the European Le Mans Series and to be rekindling my relationship with Algarve Pro Racing,” said Menezes.

“I’m returning to a different outfit since they have merged with G-Drive Racing, but it’s a team I’ve always been curious about because I’m well aware of its performances and Roman [Rusinov] also knows how to put together a good program.

“It has been fantastic to see Algarve Pro performing well, just as they deserve, and I’m looking forward to hitting the track with them.

“With the Peugeot Hypercar program coming together for 2022, I’m keen to get behind the wheel as much as possible.

“Every specification of car has decreased in performance compared to what I’m used to, and, while I’ve driven the Glickenhaus this year, I’m more comfortable in LMP2; the Rebellion LMP1 I raced previously was a tuned P2, so the cockpit feels like home, and that familiarity is always helpful.”

Andrade and Falb currently lead the LMP2 Pro-Am standings with two rounds to go and hold a 16-point edge over Racing Team Turkey’s Salih Yoluc and Charlie Eastwood.

They contested the first round of the campaign at Barcelona with Pietro Fittipaldi, who was due to be their full-season teammate until the Brazilian pulled out due to his overbearing single-seater commitments.

Merhi came on board for the next three ELMS races and contributed to the No. 25 crew’s Pro-Am wins at the Red Bull Ring and Monza.

The ex-Formula 1 driver also ran the 24 Hours of Le Mans with G-Drive, which ended in retirement after an accident for Andrade.

“It’s fantastic to be welcoming Gustavo back to the Algarve Pro Racing fold, because he was a real asset to us in 2018 and his performances in LMP1 and Hypercar have been exceptional,” commented Algarve Pro Racing team principal Stewart Cox.

“Roberto has made a great contribution to this year’s European Le Mans Series campaign, which has included Pro-Am victories and podiums, and we thank him for that.

“As a result, it was important to replace him with someone who’s just as fast and professional, and Gustavo was an obvious choice, especially as he’s looking to get as much mileage as possible before kicking off Peugeot’s Hypercar program in 2022.

“We will provide a competitive package and hope to collect more silverware in the final two races of the season at Spa and Portimao.”

Cox declined to comment on the reason for the driver swap when approached by Sportscar365.

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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