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European Le Mans Series

Paul Ricard Monday Notebook

Sportscar365’s Monday notebook from the ELMS Paul Ricard test…

Photo: Laurent Mercier

Photo: Laurent Mercier

***A total of 42 cars are set to take part in Tuesday and Wednesday’s official European Le Mans Series pre-season test at Paul Ricard. It includes 13 LMP2 cars, 21 LMP3s and 7 GTE machines. Click Here for the complete entry list.

***Alex MacDowall has completed the lineup in Beechdean AMR’s Aston Martin Vantage GTE, joining factory driver Jonny Adam and team owner Andrew Howard for the full season. MacDowall moves over from AMR’s FIA World Endurance Championship program, which has been scaled back to two GTE-Pro entries this year.

***IMSA regulars Renger van der Zande and Mike Hedlund will team up in a Proton Competition Porsche 911 RSR this year alongside Marco Seefried. Sportscar365 understands van der Zande may not complete the entire season due to clashes with other races.

***Algarve Pro Racing, which received a confirmed entry for the 24 Hours of Le Mans today, will have five drivers testing its Ligier JS P2 Nissan. British Olympic cycling legend Chris Hoy will join Michael Munemann, Andrea Pizzitola, Ryan Cullen and Parth Ghorpade. A decision on the final two drivers alongside the already confirmed Munemann will be made following the test.

***The BR Engineer BR01 Nissan is in the colors of SMP Racing, instead of a planned effort with Courage. Andreas Wirth, Stefano Coletti and Julian Leal will pilot the Russian prototype.

***Franck Mailleux and James Winslow will complete the lineup in Race Performance’s Oreca 03R Judd alongside Niki Leuitwiler, who along with the Swiss team is fresh off winning the 2015/2016 Asian Le Mans Series championship. The title gave Race Performance an automatic invite to Le Mans.

***Murphy Prototypes has brought a Ginetta LMP3 to Paul Ricard, instead of its previously announced Ave-Riley LMP3 car, which is not expected to debut until the second round of the season at Imola. Americans Tony Ave and Doug Peterson are listed in the car, which is the only non-Ligier JS P3 in the class.

***Marc Goossens and Michael Lyons are expected to test Murphy’s Oreca 03R Nissan this week. The team has yet to confirm its season-long ELMS lineup, although Goossens will team with Ben Keating and Jeroen Bleekemolen in the car for Le Mans.

***Enzo Potolocchio will test Graff Racing’s Ligier JS P3 this week, with an eye towards a full-season participation. The Venezuelan will join protege Sean Rayhall and John Falb in one of the French team’s prototypes. Bob Corliss, who was previously announced as the third driver, is no longer part of the program.

***Former Alpine driver Paul Loup Chatin has joined Panis-Barthez Competition as it third driver alongside Fabien Barthez and Timothy Buret. The former ELMS LMP2 champion returns to the series after a season in the WEC.

***Four teams will run on Michelin tires in the LMP2 class: Panis-Barthez Competition, Pegasus Racing, IDEC Sport Racing and Krohn Racing. The French tire manufacturer supplies the entire LMP3 class, which sees 20 full-season entries.

***As revealed by Sportcar365, Krohn Racing’s effort is now being operated by Greaves Motorsport. Olivier Pla rejoins the team for the majority of the season in the Ligier JS P2, which has been converted from Judd to Nissan power for this year.

***Kuba Giermaziak is expected to be announced as the third driver of Greaves Motorsport’s Ligier JS P2 Nissan, alongside the previously confirmed Memo Rojas and Julien Canal.

***Andrea Bertolini’s name is on the side of JMW Motorsport’s Ferrari 458 Italia GTE car. The Ferrari factory driver joins Rory Butcher and Robert Smith in the Prancing Horse, which is now the first reserve entry for Le Mans.

***LMP3 standout Gaëtan Paletou has found refuge at ARC Bratislava for the test, joining Miro Konopka and Joey Foster. The Frenchman, along with a half-dozen other former Nissan GT Academy graduates, were not renewed by the Japanese manufacturer this year.

***This year’s Garage 56 entry at Le Mans is also at the test this week, with quad-amputee Frederic Sausset continuing his testing program in the specially adapted Morgan LMP2 Nissan. Sausset has laid out plans to compete in the opening two ELMS rounds as an unclassified entry, in preparation for the endurance classic in June.

Laurent Mercier contributed to this report

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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