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European Le Mans Series

Two More Le Mans 2022 Invitations Secured at Spa Event

Iron Lynx, Team WRT awarded automatic invitations to 90th edition at Le Mans after title wins…

Photo: MPS Agency

Iron Lynx and Team WRT earned automatic invitations to next year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans by securing titles at last weekend’s European Le Mans Series-headlined event at Spa.

In the Michelin Le Mans Cup, Paolo Ruberti and Gabriele Lancieri claimed victory in the GT3 class to confirm their No. 8 Iron Lynx entry as the 2021 class champion.

WRT’s Robert Kubica, Louis Deletraz and Yifei Ye then wrapped up the ELMS LMP2 crown with a race to spare by taking their third win of the year in the No. 41 Oreca 07 Gibson.

It means that four automatic invitations to the 2022 Le Mans edition on June 11-12 have been confirmed, including the maximum of two for WRT’s LMP2 operation.

The Belgian squad gained its first entry when it won the LMP2 race at Le Mans last month with its FIA World Endurance Championship crew of Robin Frijns, Ferdinand Habsburg and Charles Milesi.

Le Mans GTE-Am winner AF Corse also achieved a guaranteed place on next year’s grid.

A third of the available automatic invitations between ELMS and the Michelin Le Mans Cup have now been claimed, with four still to be determined in the former series.

Second place in LMP2, the LMP3 champion and the top two in GTE will be decided at the 4 Hours of Portimao season finale next month.

According to Appendix 9 of the Le Mans supplementary regulations, one invitation is given for every six full-season entries in LMP2 and one for every four in GTE, while the ELMS LMP3 and Le Mans Cup GT3 champions also qualify.

The per-car teams’ standings are used to determine the positions in each class.

This explains why Iron Lynx has been awarded the GTE-Am entry invitation from Michelin Le Mans Cup, despite TFT Racing’s Nicolas Leutwiler leading the drivers’ points.

The No. 8 Iron Lynx Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 that won at Spa has been shared by different drivers throughout the season, while Leutwiler has contested all rounds so far in his team’s Porsche 911 GT3 R.

Iron Lynx team principal Andrea Piccini commented: “I’d like to congratulate all of our drivers, including Logan Sargeant, Rino Mastronardi and Rory Penttinen, from the series who have made this possible as well as all of our team – this was real teamwork.

“It is the second time the Iron Lynx team has won the Michelin Le Mans Cup GT3 championship and I am incredibly proud of this victory.”

WRT team principal Vincent Vosse said that it was a “wonderful feeling” for his outfit to add an ELMS title to its recent Le Mans class victory.

A late Full Course Yellow allayed the No. 41 crew’s final-stint fuel concerns when Ye made the Oreca’s last pit stop earlier than expected in order to solve a slow puncture.

“To win the two titles in our first campaign and to do it here at Spa, in our home race, is just a wonderful feeling,” said Vosse.

“It wasn’t an easy race, because of the slow puncture and having had to pit one lap earlier: that put us in a touchy situation with regard to fuel, but even having to adopt a slower pace we could keep the advantage.

“It’s great also for Robert, Louis and Ye after the immense disappointment of [a late retirement at] Le Mans. I want to thank and congratulate them, as well as the entire team and all of our sponsors and partners, for their fantastic job.

“In this happy moment for us, at ‘her’ track I also think fondly of [former Spa circuit chief executive] Nathalie Maillet, whom I miss greatly.”

G-Drive Racing, Panis Racing, United Autosports and Duqueine Team are in contention for the second ELMS automatic invitation to the LMP2 class at Le Mans 2022.

Cool Racing leads Spa race winner DKR Engineering by five points in LMP3 while Iron Lynx and AF Corse are 20 points apart at the top of the GTE table. Fellow Ferrari outfit Spirit of Race is in contention for the category’s second-place Le Mans GTE berth.

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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