Connect with us

European Le Mans Series

Monza Monday Notebook

Sportscar365’s Monday notebook from the ELMS Prologue at Monza…

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

***The European Le Mans Series pre-season test at Monza officially gets underway on Tuesday, with a total of 41 cars set to take to the Italian circuit for two days of testing.

***The entry list includes all full-season ELMS entries minus SMP Racing’s Dallara P217 Gibson, plus several guest entries including the ARC Bratislava Ligier JS P217 Gibson. The ELMS LMP3 runners will be joined by an extra pair of Ligier JS P3 Nissans run by United Autosports, a further car from Duqueine Engineering, and one entry each from Cool Racing by CPC and Ibran Pardo Javier, as several teams use the Monza test ahead of the Michelin Le Mans Cup season, which gets underway at the Italian circuit in May.

***Italian outfit Cetilar Villorba Corse unveiled its Dallara at the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa on Saturday, revealing a striking blue and white livery. Team principal Raimondo Amadia and drivers Roberto Lacorte, Giorgio Sernagiotto and Andrea Belicchi were all present at the unveiling, alongside Giampaolo Dallara and Marco Filippeschi, the Mayor of Pisa.

“For sure this is a fantastic group with good drivers and a professional team,” said Dallara at the Villorba Corse presentation. “We are confident about Le Mans and I believe that we will come back [to] Italy with a smile on our faces.” The team is also set to campaign a Lamborghini Huracan GT3 in the Le Mans Cup with Cedric Mezard and Steve Hiesse as drivers.

***Racing Team Nederland has both of its Dallaras present at Monza, with the two cars sporting the same livery and race number. The team took delivery of the second chassis, which is expected to be used for spares, in February. A race appearance for the second car is not known to be on the cards for the Dutch team.

***Just as Racing Team Nederland has been busy testing over the winter, DragonSpeed has also been racking up the testing miles in recent weeks. The expanded two-car squad has completed a run at MotorLand Aragon with its pair of Oreca 07 Gibsons, one of which will be run with G-Drive Racing backing.

***Ultimate has confirmed it will return to the series with an unchanged lineup of Matthieu Lahaye, Jean-Baptise Lahaye and Francois Heriau. The French team has also revealed an updated livery for its No. 17 Ligier LMP3 entry, again sticking with the red and white combination from last season’s car.

***The Norma M30 Nissan of Oregon Team is present with a colorful pink, yellow and green livery, although the other Norma of M.Racing YMR is still in carbon. The Yvan Muller-owned team has recently underwent a shakedown at Magny-Cours.

***Although it won’t return for the full FIA World Endurance Championship, Larbre Competition will still feature in the 24 Hours of Le Mans with its Corvette C7.R, and the French team is set to enter the Monza ELMS round in May in preparation for the 24-hour classic a month later. Romain Brandela and Christian Philippon will share the cockpit of the Corvette with an as-yet-unconfirmed third driver. It is, however, likely that the lineup will be completed by a General Motors factory driver.

***Joel Camathias has so far only been confirmed in ELMS this season with Proton Competition, but there is still chance that the Swiss driver could find himself on the grid for Le Mans in June. He joins Christian Ried and Matteo Cairoli in the No. 77 Proton Porsche 911 RSR for the European championship.

***2016 title challenger JMW Motorsport is back in the GTE category with the field’s only Ferrari F458 Italia GTE. While Robert Smith and Rory Butcher have stayed with the British squad, they will be joined by Jody Fannin who replaces Andrea Bertolini in the lineup.

***Bertolini, meanwhile, is listed with Spirit of Race in the No. 51 Ferrari 488 GTE. He joins fellow Italians Gianluca Roda and Giorgio Roda in that car which was used by Davide Rigon and Sam Bird in WEC last season, while Duncan Cameron, Matt Griffin and Aaron Scott will share the other Spirit of Race entry.

***Tuesday will play host to two three-hour test sessions from 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. local time, as well as a two-hour night session starting at 7 p.m.

Laurent Mercier contributed to this report

Jake Kilshaw is a UK-based journalist. He is a graduate of Politics and International Relations.


More in European Le Mans Series