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European Le Mans Series

Pla to Miss 4H Silverstone, Focus on WEC

Title contender Olivier Pla to miss 4H Silverstone with Racing Engineering…

Photo: Olivier Beroud Images

Olivier Pla will skip the Silverstone round of the European Le Mans Series to focus on that weekend’s FIA World Endurance Championship race with Ford.

The Frenchman, who is second in the LMP2 standings, will cede his place in the No. 24 Racing Engineering Oreca 07 Gibson to Matthieu Vaxiviere, who is now set to pull double duty on Aug. 18-19.

Vaxiviere will join Paul Petit and Norman Nato for the four-hour ELMS race on the Saturday, before partnering WEC co-drivers Loic Duval and Francois Perrodo at TDS Racing for the Six Hours of Silverstone the following day.

Sportscar365 understands that Ford Chip Ganassi Racing requested for Pla to concentrate his efforts on the latter race, which he will contest with Stefan Muecke.

The pair currently sit second in the GT world championship standings after winning the Spa season-opener and picking up 23 points at Le Mans with Billy Johnson.

The decision resembles a similar instance at Silverstone in 2016, when Pla missed the opening round of that year’s ELMS to focus on his commitments with Ford.

It marks one of several changes to the 42-car ELMS entry list since last month’s visit to the Red Bull Ring.

The LMP2 grid has been reduced from 18 cars to 16 following the withdrawal of the IDEC Sport Ligier JS P217 Gibson and the expected omission of the TDS Racing Oreca, which only intended to enter the first three races.

However, the omissions have been canceled out by two additions elsewhere in the field.

The LMP3 grid has been boosted by a supplementary Ligier JS P3 Nissan entered by VdeV outfit Team Virage, while Gulf Racing is listed in GTE with a Porsche 911 RSR for WEC drivers Ben Barker, Alex Davison and Michael Wainwright.

The Gulf trio also be pulling double duty between the two races that weekend.

Bret Curtis will make his second start in the No. 80 Ebimotors Porsche, and British racer Gary Findlay will join the No. 40 G-Drive Racing LMP2 Oreca for his first sports car outing in two years.

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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