There will be a fight for every centimetre of the asphalt, when the first round of the European Le Mans Series will be run at Paul Ricard in 10 days’ time.
45 cars are present on the 5.791 kilometres circuit located in the south of France, which is four more entries than the full season entry.
The number of participants are actually so large that there aren’t enough garages at the track, so some of the teams will have to share the same space. There are only 34 garages, so 11 of them will be double booked. Hopefully there won’t be too many angry words, since it’s almost all from the same team, in case they are running two cars. The only interesting moments will happen in Box 5A, where Gulf Racing Porsche #86 will have to share with Spirit of Race Ferrari #54.
#86 and #54 are competitors in the FIA World Endurance Championship, who have opted to run this race too, like an extra test. The FIA WEC will run their own test at the circuit this weekend, so a few of the teams have opted to stay over and get some extra racing under the wheels.
The two other extra FIA WEC entries shall be found in the LMP2 category, where TDS Racing uses the chance for their regular #28 to race a bit more. They will run the #33 during the ELMS weekend.
Signatech Alpine #36 is the second team to use the opportunity. They will be limited to a two driver team with Andre Negrao and Pierre Thiriet, since Nicolas Lapierre already has a full season commitment in the ELMS with the DragonSpeed #21.
That brings the field to a total of 19 LMP2 cars, 18 LMP3 cars and 8 GTE cars.
At the same time, it was announced that Bruno Senna will replace Filipe Albuerquerque in the United Autosports #22. Albuerquerque has a date clash with the IMSA race in Long Beach, so he won’t be able to do the ELMS race alongside Phil Hanson.
SMP Racing #35 will once again enter the two young guns Egor Orudzhev and Matevos Isaakyan. That pairing won a round of the ELMS last year. This year they will be joined by Victor Sheitar, who will be the silver ranked part of the Dallara P217 – Gibson.
The race will be run on 15 April, starting at midday local time.