G-Drive Racing #38 won a very dramatic ELMS final at Estoril, where everything went perfect for them.
The English/Russian team took the victory in a very impressive way, after leading the race by more than 30 seconds, before a safety Car period saw all that lead disappear. But when the race was released again with about 2 hours to go, they still managed to win the race with a 51 second gap to the DragonSpeed #21, who had lead the race from Pole Position.
DragonSpeed’s Henrik Hedman had a trip through the gravel on his out lap after he came into the car. But it wasn’t that part that cost DragonSpeed the victory – they simply were just too slow throughout the 4 hours. SMP Racing #32 finished 3rd after an almost race long battle with Krohn Racing #40 throughout the race.
The victory meant that the title went to G-Drive Racing #38 with Simon Dolan, Harry Tincknell and Giedo Van Der Garde, after Thieriet by TDS Racing for the 4th year in a row missed out in the Championship at the final round because of technical problems, that had them stuck in the pits for a long time. They still secured 2nd place. G-Drive Racing #38 secured an automatic entry to 24 Hours of Le Mans 2017.
There was huge drama in GTE too. JMW Ferrari #66 more or less just had to finish the race to secure the title, and they were leading the race for the first part of the race. But then the gearbox started making problems and they had to go to the garage for repairs. After a long time there, they send out Robert Smith, but immediately it was clear that it wasn’t fixed, and he had to crawl back to the pits. Halfway around the lap he was hit by Mike Guasch, who lost his LMP3 car by himself and plowed into the side of the Ferrari. That was the episode that send out the Safety Car, but after a few minutes of resetting the systems, both cars could continue back to the pits. However JMW had to retire there, since the gearbox issue couldn’t be fixed.
Hereby the title was possible for Beechdean Aston Martin Racing #99, if they only they won the race. And so they did, in very impressive manners, with more than a lap to AT Racing #56 and Af Corse #55 in P2 and P3. That secured the title for Darren Turner, Alex MacDowell and Andrew Howard ahead of JMW Ferrari #66. These 2 teams also received a ticket for Le Mans 2017.
Tbere was mega drama in LMP3 too. Several LMP3 car spun or went off the track – either by themselves or by contact with others. It ended with victory for M.Racing – YMR #18 with Thomas Laurent, Yann Ehrlacher og Alexandre Cougnaud. United Autosports #3 finished 2nd and Graff #9 in 3rd.
The Champions were found ahead of the race, in the shape of Alex Brundle, Christian England and Mike Guasch in United Autosports #2, even though they had the contact in the race, and thereby finished off the podium. But their Championship was secured ahead of the teammates #3, and therefore secured a single Le Mans ticket too.
Now the whole ELMS field with go back to the warm garages before the 2017 season starts with official tests at Monza on March 28th-29th.