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European Le Mans Series

Paul Ricard Test Notebook

Sportscar365’s notebook from the two-day ELMS test at Paul Ricard…

Photo: Olivier Beroud

***Of the five sessions that took place, only two were held under dry conditions. Monday morning was affected by rainfall before conditions improved for the afternoon and evening runs, while both Tuesday sessions were subject to inclement weather.

***European Le Mans Series rookie Henrique Chaves set the fastest lap of the test in the AVF by Adrian Valles Dallara P217 Gibson. The Formula Renault 2.0 graduate’s time of 1:41.018 occurred on Monday evening, when the track was at its driest.

***Loïc Duval was absent from the TDS Racing Oreca 07 Gibson because of clashing DTM test commitments with Audi. The Frenchman will be back for the 4 Hours of Le Castellet this weekend alongside FIA World Endurance Championship team-mates Francois Perrodo and Matthieu Vaxiviere. The trio will contest the opening three ELMS rounds to complement their WEC program.

***Neither Signatech Alpine nor Gulf Racing elected to attend the test, having already turned laps at the WEC Prologue last weekend. The two outfits will be additional entries to Sunday’s ELMS season opener.

***World Endurance champion Marc Lieb was at Paul Ricard to drive the Proton Competition Porsche 911 RSR. The former LMP1 ace completed seven laps on Tuesday morning.

***Matt McMurry was a late addition to the Algarve Pro Racing Ligier JS P217 Gibson. The 20-year-old, who contested last year’s LMP2 campaign with the Portuguese squad, shared duties with confirmed full-season drivers Ate De Jong, Mark Patterson and Tacksung Kim.

***Another ‘fourth driver’ was 21-year-old Danish racer Lasse Sorensen, who sampled the AT Racing Ligier JS P3 Nissan. Alexander Talkanitsa Sr and Jr will race the car with BMW’s recently signed WEC reserve Mikkel Jensen.

***SMP Racing tested its BR01 prototype a few weeks ago at Paul Ricard. The car, which was phased out of the LMP2 rulebook following the adoption of the four-constructor limit in 2017, could appear in next winter’s Asian Le Mans Series which permits old-spec machinery.

***The Russian squad is running a brand new Dallara P217 (chassis number 14) in the ELMS. SMP will need to reshuffle its crew for the 24 Hours of Le Mans as series regulars Egor Orudzhev and Matevos Isaakyan will move up to the team’s LMP1 roster for that race.

***APR Rebellion is using one of the two Oreca 07 chassis that Manor raced in the WEC last year. The Manor squad is graduating to the LMP1 category for 2018-19 with two Ginettas.

***Sebastien Chetail, team principal of Audi customer outfit Sainteloc Racing, visited Paul Ricard on Tuesday. “It’s always good to come here,” Chetail told Endurance-Info. “Sainteloc remains involved more than ever in SRO competitions for GT3 and GT4s. You never know what the future will be like.”

Laurent Mercier contributed to this report.

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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