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European Le Mans Series

Panis-Barthez Switches to Oreca for Silverstone

Panis-Barthez and United Autosports to run Oreca/Ligier split entries at Silverstone…

Photo: MPS Agency

Long-time Ligier customer Panis-Barthez Competition has switched one of its entries to an Oreca 07 Gibson for this month’s European Le Mans Series 4 Hours of Silverstone.

The French squad, which started the season with two Ligier JS P217 Gibsons, will instead run a single Ligier and an Oreca in the fourth round of the season.

Confirmed in the 39-car entry list released on Tuesday, the No. 23 Panis-Barthez entry of Rene Binder, Will Stevens and Julien Canal will be operated by an ORECA chassis.

The trio recorded 10th, ninth and 15th place finishes in the races at Paul Ricard, Monza and Barcelona with the Ligier, leaving them 12th in the LMP2 standings with three events left.

Panis-Barthez has run Ligier LMP2 machinery exclusively since 2016, when it joined the ELMS, and will continue to do so via its No. 24 machine.

Another team set to run two different chassis at Silverstone is United Autosports, which has made a mid-season switch to an Oreca for its No. 22 entry of Phil Hanson and Filipe Albuquerque.

The British operation had already confirmed its move away from Ligier for the 2019-20 FIA World Endurance Championship, but it wasn’t known whether its ELMS squad would follow suit.

Hanson and Albuquerque were the best-placed Ligier crew in the standings. Their teammates Ryan Cullen, Alex Brundle and Will Owen will continue in the No. 32 Ligier.

The two switches mean that 13 of the 18 cars entered into the LMP2 class are Orecas, including the G-Drive Racing Aurus 01 which is based on the French-built chassis.

Four Ligiers are set to take part, along with the Carlin-operated Dallara P217 Gibson.

Silverstone marks the first time the ELMS field has dropped below 40 cars this season.

The slight reduction can be attributed to the anticipated withdrawal of the Team Project 1 Porsche 911 RSR, as reported by Sportscar365. Ebimotors’ Porsche has also dropped off the list.

One of these absences has been offset by the return of the No. 88 Proton Competition Porsche.

ACE1 by Villorba Corse’s Ligier JS P3 Nissan, meanwhile, is absent from the LMP3 ranks after making its first appearance last time out in Spain.

Elsewhere on the entry list, experienced Italian GT racer Nicola Cadei is set to replace Claudio Schiavoni in the No. 60 Kessel Racing Ferrari 488 GTE Evo.

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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