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European Le Mans Series

Panis Sets LMP2 Driving Squad

Panis Racing to run Stevens, Canal and new signing Allen during 2021 season…

Photo: MPS Agency

Panis Racing has become the latest LMP2 team to confirm its driver lineup for the 2021 European Le Mans Series.

The French squad, which finished third in last year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans class battle, is returning for a sixth term in the ELMS championship with a single Oreca 07 Gibson.

Will Stevens and designated Silver-rated competitor Julien Canal have both returned to the driver lineup, while James Allen has joined from Panis Racing’s LMP2 class rival Graff.

Stevens worked a dual LMP2 program last year, with his Panis Racing ELMS drive running parallel to an FIA World Endurance Championship role at Jackie Chan DC Racing.

The British driver’s global series commitments with Jackie Chan DCR, which is not returning to the WEC in 2021, led to Panis drafting in Matthieu Vaxiviere for its Le Mans podium run last September.

Stevens and Canal’s new co-driver Allen is set to work with a third different LMP2 team in the space of five seasons.

The Australian made his LMP2 debut in 2017 with Graff and was involved in the French outfit’s running of the G-Drive Racing entry the following year.

Allen then had a spell at DragonSpeed before rejoining Graff for the 2020 season.

He and his co-drivers Thomas Laurent and Alexandre Cougnaud finished fifth in last season’s standings, one place behind Stevens, Canal and Nico Jamin.

Jamin inked a deal to drive for United Autosports in 2021, paving the way for Allen to join Panis after Graff elected to promote one of its LMP3 lineups from last year into LMP2.

“We have high hopes this season to be at the top of the ELMS table given last year’s results,” said Panis Racing team manager Sarah Abadie.

“Our engineering and technical team has gained increased knowledge of the car and tire management.

“As in 2020, we are proud to have succeeded in bringing together three top pilots to compete in this new endurance season.

“For his fourth participation with us, Will is our spearhead, not only his speed on the track is impressive but also he has a keen sense of the analysis of the race and communicates with precision the technical information to the team and teammates.

“He is once again reunited with his accomplice Julien Canal, who last year not only lived up to his reputation as a very experienced driver, but also achieved good average speeds and a clean season.

“It is also a great satisfaction to welcome James Allen, whose past results in LMP2 have demonstrated his high level of performance to the team.”

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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