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European Le Mans Series

Red Bull Ring Weekend Notebook

Jake Kilshaw’s ELMS weekend notebook for Red Bull Ring…

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

***At 36 cars, the entry list for this weekend’s Four Hours of Red Bull Ring remains as large as last time out in Monza, but with one extra car in LMP2 being offset by GTE returning to a six-car field. SMP Racing is the new addition in the top class, with its Dallara P217 Gibson making its series debut in Austria.

***Egor Orudzhev and Matevos Isaakyan are co-piloting the No. 27 Dallara, in what is the first time driving an LMP2 car for both young Russians. They currently compete in the World Series Formula V8 3.5 and Isaakyan leads the points standings having won last weekend at the Nürburgring.

***With the arrival of SMP’s Dallara, the 13-strong LMP2 field comprises five Ligier JS P217 Gibsons, four Oreca 07 Gibsons and four Dallaras. The ELMS class is by far the most diverse LMP2 field this season, with only Orecas entered for the full FIA World Endurance Championship season.

***The LMP3 field also sees more diversity this weekend with Duqueine Engineering switching one of its Ligier JS P3 Nissans for a Norma M30 Nissan. The No. 7 Norma, driven by Antonin Borga, David Droux and Nicolas Schatz, will start tomorrow’s race from class pole. 

***It is the third team to run a Norma in the series, alongside M.Racing – YMR, which also runs one M30 and one Ligier, and the single car entered by Oregon Team. The remainder of the class consists of 14 Ligiers.

***JMW Motorsport comes to Austria after winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans last month in the first race outing for its Ferrari 488 GTE. The British team was one of the last outfits running the previous-generation Ferrari F458 Italia which won on its final appearance at Monza in May. Rob Smith is the only driver present with the team this weekend who raced the car at Le Mans.

***ARC Bratislava competed at Le Mans with a Ligier JS P217 Gibson and plans to return to LMP2 before the end of the year, but not in Europe. The Slovakian team is instead evaluating an Asian Le Mans Series program, where it would race a previous-generation Ligier JS P2. The Asian series is not yet open to the 2017-spec LMP2 machinery.

***25-year-old Swede Douglas Lundberg replaces Nicolas Meulin at Duqueine this weekend and comes to LMP3 straight from karting. Meulin is expected to return to the car for the Paul Ricard race at the end of August.

***Duqueine is one of several teams interested in the Gulf 12 Hours at Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi this December, which is now supported by the ACO for LMP3 entries. The team would likely run one Ligier and one Norma, as it is expected to for the remainder of the ELMS season.

***Yann Ehrlacher scored his first FIA World Touring Car Championship race win last weekend at Autódromo Termas de Río Hondo in Argentina, racing a Lada Vesta WTCC. The Frenchman returns to M.Racing – YMR this weekend, hoping for a second in as many weeks.

***The Four Hours of Red Bull Ring will start at 1 p.m. local time on Sunday, and will be streamed live on the series’ YouTube and Dailymotion channels. Click here for the entry list. 

Laurent Mercier contributed to this report

Jake Kilshaw is a UK-based journalist. He is a graduate of Politics and International Relations.

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