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European Le Mans Series

Pilet Set for Maiden LMP2 Season in Two-Car IDEC Entry

Pilet set for LMP2 campaign with IDEC; Rolex 24 class winners also involved in team’s program…

Photo: Porsche

IDEC Sport has revealed a two-car LMP2 entry for the European Le Mans Series involving ex-Porsche factory driver Patrick Pilet and members of the Era Motorsport squad.

The 2019 ELMS championship-winning team will field a pair of Oreca 07 Gibsons in the upcoming six-round season which is due to get underway in mid-April.

IDEC Sport’s driver lineup is headlined by the signing of experienced GT racer Pilet, who is set for his first full campaign in the LMP2 formula.

The 39-year-old Frenchman made an unexpected LMP2 debut in last year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, after being drafted into IDEC Sport’s lineup following an accident that ruled Dwight Merriman out of the race.

Pilet will contest the six-round ELMS schedule in the IDEC team’s No. 28 Oreca, which he will share with 2019 series champions Paul-Loup Chatin and Paul Lafargue.

Last year former Porsche GTE regular Pilet finished second in the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup standings driving for GPX Racing, in what was his final year as an official works driver for the German manufacturer.

IDEC Sport’s sister No. 27 IDEC Sport machine will be driven by Merriman, Kyle Tilley and Ryan Dalziel.

Tilley and Merriman both drive for Era Motorsport in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and the Asian Le Mans Series, with Tilley doubling up as team owner.

Merriman, Tilley, Dalziel and Chatin recently won the LMP2 class at the Rolex 24 at Daytona wheeling an Era Motorsport Oreca.

Last year IDEC Sport trimmed back to a single Oreca 07 entry in the ELMS, having also operated a Ligier LMP2 in the past, but it has reverted to a two-car setup for 2021.

Additionally, former Peugeot LMP1 driver Nicolas Minassian has been promoted from the role of sporting director to team principal.

“From his experience with a manufacturer, he will be able to bring us a little more technique and that should help us in terms of performance,” said Minassian in reference to Pilet’s signing.

“Paul-Loup is still with us and he doesn’t have much to prove in terms of his performance, apart from doing it again race after race. And Paul is the IDEC Sport team. He has proven his full potential in Silver.

“We have a very efficient trio which should allow us to reach the level hoped for this year.

“Last year was a bit complicated, after a title in 2019. So we have to raise the bar and get our place on the podium and play for victories when we can.

“Nicolas Brisseau becomes our chief engineer on [car] No. 28. It was perfect timing as Dave [Benbow] has retired and we wish him all the best off-track.

“Julien Briot will be technical [director], he is a key person in the team. We keep Damien Feller, who becomes a data performance engineer. He learned quickly and is very motivated by his new challenge.”

Minassian described the No. 27 driver lineup as a mark of “continuity” from last year’s Le Mans edition that saw Tilley and Merriman join the team.

“We appreciated having them with us and they showed that they had the same values ​​and the same ambitions,” he said.

“It facilitates the partnership we have this year. The three drivers know each other and come out of a superb victory at the 24 Hours of Daytona.”

IDEC Sport plans to file two entry applications for this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The team is also set to be engaged in the Michelin Le Mans Cup with a Ligier JS P320 Nissan for Dmitri Enjalbert and IDEC Sport owner Patrice Lafargue.

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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