Carlin will break into the sportscar world, when the European Le Mans Series starts in just under two weeks’ time.
The team has collected a bit of a dream team, which will consist of not only three drivers, but actually four – more info later.
When the entry list was announced only Jack Manchester’s name was on the list. The 20 year-old Brit has made fast entrance to the sportscar and touringcar scene, where he has raced Radical, Audi Sport TT Cup, and lately Blancpain GT Series – all since 2016.
He will be joined by Ben Barnicoat in the car. Barnicoat is 22 years old, and won the Formula Renault 2,0 NEC Championship in 2014. After one more season in the Formula Renault cars, and a season in FIA Formula 3 European Championship, he has been full time GT driver in the Blancpain GT Series amongst other things. He was part of the McLaren Young Driver programme from 2010 to 2015, and has raced McLaren cars through his GT career.
The last space will be shared between Harry Tincknell and Olivier Pla. Tincknell is the permanent driver of the car, but will have to miss out on the opening round, since he has commitments with Mazda Team Joest in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. That’s why Olivier Pla will be dragged in as reserve driver for this race only.
Tincknell is 27 years old, but he already has a long ELMS history behind him – actually, he got his breakthrough in that series, when he raced for JOTA Sport. Those achievements, including a Le Mans victory in his debut season 2014, put him in a position to sign a works contract with Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK in the FIA WEC, and later on with Mazda Team Joest in IMSA. Tincknell won the ELMS Championship in the LMP2 category in 2016, with JOT, which was the final year before they started racing under the Jackie Chan DC Racing banner.
37 year-old Olivier Pla is colleague to Tincknell at Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK, but has a long history at Ligier, where he developed several of their LMP2 cars, and was works driver for them through many seasons.
The team however won’t race a Ligier, but a Dallara P217. It could appear as a bit of a curious choice, given that brand haven’t shown much pace in the past. But there is an easy explanation to that. The Dallara has more space than the other cars, and since lead driver Jack Manchester is 198 cm tall, every bit of space under the roof is demanded – and only the Dallara can provide the physical space needed.
Manchester, Pla and Barnicoat will be in the car in one weeks time, when the testing ahead of the opening race will start. The first race will be run at Paul Ricard in France on 14 April 2019.