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Thread: 2015 WEC/ELMS&TUSC news.

  1. #121
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    OAK Racing Press Release – 5th of February 2014.

    FIA WEC and Le Mans 24 Hours programme announcement

    OAK Racing with one Ligier JS P2 in the 2015 FIA WEC and two in the Le Mans 24 H!

    OAK Racing remains faithful to the FIA World Endurance Championship by entered a Ligier JS P2. The Sarthe-based team will beef up its presence at the Le Mans 24 Hours with a second Onroak Automotive prototype, another Ligier JS P2, thanks to the invitation awarded for its title in the 2014 Asian Le Mans Series.

    Jacques Nicolet and Jean-Marc Merlin, who shared a Morgan LM P2 in the 2013 FIA WEC and Le Mans 24 Hours, will be back behind the wheel of a Ligier JS P2 this year. It will have the number 35, a Nissan engine and Dunlop tyres.

    Erik Maris, who joined them to race in the 2013 Austin 6 Hours, will again team up with Nicolet and Merlin.
    The extremely motivated gentlemen drivers have chosen the Ligier JS P2 for its performance, and for the comfortable environment it provides for its drivers.

    For the Le Mans 24 Hours OAK Racing is taking up the invitation obtained thanks to its 2014 Asian Le Mans Series title, which it will defend again this year as it goes for a hat trick. Thus, the team will enter a second Ligier JS P2 with the number 34 whose driver line-up will be announced at a later date.

    Jacques Nicolet, driver and President of OAK Racing: “It’s a great pleasure to race in the FIA WEC again after a year’s absence, and to team up again with my friends Jean-Marc Merlin and Erik Maris. We’re obviously fully aware that the overall level in LM P2 will be very high, but that doesn’t discourage us – quite the opposite in fact! We’re keeping up the tradition that makes endurance racing gentlemen drivers’ favourite branch of motor sport, and we know we’ll really enjoy ourselves behind the wheel of the Ligier JS P2. We can’t wait to start testing at the Paul Ricard circuit!”
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    Press Release – 5th of February 2015
    2015 Programme announcement

    G-Drive Racing enters two Ligier JS P2 for the 2015 FIA WEC

    In 2015 G-Drive Racing will again compete in the FIA World Endurance Championship, which comprises seven 6-hour events and the Le Mans 24 Hours. The team has remained faithful to French constructor Onroak Automotive and enters two Ligier JS P2s, a chassis which it ran for the first time in the Austin round in 2014, still powered by Nissan engines and shod with Dunlop tyres.


    With its two Ligier JS P2s G-Drive Racing’s aim is the 2015 world title in LM P2, which has attracted a particularly rich field this year.

    In 2014, the team finished with the second LM P2 position after dominating the category throughout the season clinching the point for pole position on seven occasions, notching up as many fastest laps in the race, and scoring four victories.
    The no. 26 Ligier JS P2-Nissan will be driven by Roman Rusinov, the quick, experienced Russian in the G-Drive Racing for the fourth consecutive year. Backing him up will be Julien Canal from Le Mans in his second year with the team, and Englishman Sam Bird, who was a test and then reserve driver in Formula 1 between 2008 and 2013.

    The no. 28 Ligier JS P2-Nissan will be entrusted to a 100 per-cent South American driver line-up: Colombian Gustavo Yacaman who shone at the wheel of the Onroak Automotive sports prototypes in 2014 in the Tudor United SportsCar Championship in the USA, Mexican Ricardo Gonzalez who won the LM P2 title with OAK Racing in 2013, and Luis Felipe Derani from Brazil, a young driver who has already accumulated a lot of experience in Formula 3 and made a very promising debut at the wheel of an LM P2 last year with a top-3 finish in the ELMS in the latter part of the season.

    Philippe Dumas, Team Principal: “In our second year with G-Drive Racing we’re really determined to win the title that escaped us by such a tiny margin in 2014. Naturally, we’ve remained faithful to the Ligier JS P2 that’s proved just how competitive it is, and we have two excellent driver line-ups. We’ll be up against very stiff opposition in LM P2 with the arrival of new teams and new cars. But that makes the challenge all the more exciting and victory is our sole aim!”
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    News Release February 5, 2015

    FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), LMP1

    Porsche 919 Hybrid in Le Mans and the WEC – the debutant’s evolution

    Atlanta. Following its initial victory at the 2014 season’s final race in Brazil, more podium finishes are the goal for the future for the Porsche 919 Hybrid in the 2015 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). Porsche announced this objective today at the annual press conference held by the Le Mans organizers, the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO), in Paris. To reach that goal the 919 Hybrid has been significantly developed in many areas.

    This year Porsche has entered a third prototype for the 24-Hours of Le Mans on June 13th/14th, as well as in the previous championship round, the Six-Hours of Spa-Francorchamps on May 2nd. In Paris, Porsche announced who will be driving that third car alongside Formula One driver Nico Hülkenberg (27, Germany), whose participation was announced at the end of 2014. The company has selected Earl Bamber (24, New Zealand) and Nick Tandy (30, Great Britain) to join him. Both Bamber and Tandy have been testing the 919 Hybrid and remain active as Porsche works drivers in the GT category.

    Wolfgang Hatz, the Porsche AG board member for research and development which includes motorsport, commented about the expectations before the press conference: “The LMP1 program’s most important target is the research and development of future technologies for our road cars. For Porsche as a sports car manufacturer the credo always is to pair maximum sportiness with the highest possible efficiency. The WEC’s revolutionary consumption regulations form an ideal research platform for this. In 2014 we introduced a very brave powertrain concept for the 919 Hybrid and it instantly proved itself. This enabled us to make the car’s second generation a comprehensive evolution instead of an entirely new development. In 2015 we want to compete with an able-to-win package.”

    In 2014, when entering the Porsche 919 Hybrid for the first time and competing in the eight world championship rounds, the Porsche Team achieved six podium finishes – including its maiden win at the season’s finale in Brazil.

    During the Paris press conference the ACO confirmed the car numbers requested for the Porsche 919 Hybrid. The trio of Timo Bernhard (33, Germany), Brendon Hartley (25, New Zealand) and Mark Webber (38, Australia) gets number 17. Number 18 goes to the – also unchanged from 2014 – driver combination of Romain Dumas (37, France), Neel Jani (31, Switzerland) and Marc Lieb (34, Germany). The third car with Hülkenberg, Bamber and Tandy will compete in Spa and Le Mans with number 19.

    Fritz Enzinger, LMP1 Vice President, explained: “It goes without saying that each of these drivers is fast and clever. But in the WEC, and especially in Le Mans, there are more qualities to be taken into account. The ability to stay focused constantly and to deliver consistent performances are must-haves for endurance racing. Another factor is team spirit and the skills to integrate into the team. This sport doesn’t make sense for loners. Each driver always has to take into account his teammates, as their individual speeds are what in the end are reflected by the Porsche Team’s results. Also a strong understanding is required of the skills and consequences when lapping slower cars. This isn’t for egocentrics either. Drivers have to view everything as the bigger picture. In every regard, I have full faith in our driver line-up.”

    Team Principal Andreas Seidl added: “We are very happy to be allowed to enter a third car in what is only our second season. This shows once more how strongly the company backs the LMP1 program. At the same time we face the operational side and need to be respectful of what it takes when entering three of those complex prototypes and handling nine drivers in Spa and Le Mans. In this regard it was also important to leave the proven driver combinations from last year untouched. These six now know all about each other and all the tracks on the WEC calendar. In 2014 all the team members were newcomers. Now we can build on lessons learned and our targets are more ambitious. Le Mans will be new territory for Nico Hülkenberg, as well as for Earl Bamber, and we will do our upmost to support them.”

    The evolution of the Porsche 919 Hybrid will be officially presented on March 26th on the Circuit Paul Ricard circuit in Southern France. The next two days will see the first joint test for the entire 2015 WEC field, the so called prologue. Porsche is excited to experience the first encounter with the competition’s works cars.
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    News Release February 5, 2015

    Sports Car World Endurance Championship WEC

    New driver combinations for the Porsche 911 RSR

    Atlanta. Porsche Team Manthey has reshuffled its factory driver lineup in its two Porsche 911 RSR entries in the Sports Car World Endurance Championship (WEC) and at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. From the season-opening round at Silverstone on April 12, Michael Christensen (Denmark) and Richard Lietz (Austria) will join forces in the 911 RSR with the starting number 91. Sharing driving duties in the No. 92 911 RSR are the Frenchmen Frédéric Makowiecki and Patrick Pilet, who already teamed up last year to contest the second half of the season. Germany’s Wolf Henzler (No. 92) and Jörg Bergmeister (No. 91) will support the pairings as the third driver to contest the 24 hour classic at Le Mans.

    Impressive performances in the GT works campaign and during testing of the Porsche 919 Hybrid have earned two drivers a spot in the LMP1 squad. This season, Nick Tandy (Great Britain) and Earl Bamber (New Zealand) will tackle Spa-Francorchamps as well as the Le Mans 24 Hours at the wheel of the innovative sports prototype. Teaming up with Formula 1 pilot Nico Hülkenberg (Germany), the will contend both races in a third 919 Hybrid.

    Earl Bamber, who received support as part of Porsche’s youth development program, managed to climb the career ladder into the top tier of long distance racing in record time. After winning the Porsche Motorsport International Cup Scholarship shootout, he went on in 2014 to clinch the title in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup as well as in the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia for the second time since 2013. Further-more, the “Kiwi” won a round of the Carrera Cup Deutschland and secured second place at Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, one of the long distance classics in the USA. These successes earned him a contract as a works driver just prior to the 2015 season and he then quickly climbed the next step on the ladder into the LMP1 program. In addition to his commitments at the wheel of the 919 Hybrid at Spa-Francorchamps and Le Mans, Bamber tackles the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship in the USA and Canada with the 911 RSR. “Receiving support from Porsche was the chance of a lifetime as a race driver,” he said. “I’ve reached new levels in every aspect and I’ll do my utmost to justify this trust again this season.”

    Nick Tandy also celebrated his first great success in Porsche brand trophy racing. In 2010 he contested the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup and the Carrera Cup Deutschland where he finished second in both championships. In 2011, he secured overall victory in the Carrera Cup Deutschland and the following year picked up the Porsche Cup as the most successful private Porsche driver in the world. 2013 saw him promoted into the factory pilot squad and he went on to win Petit Le Mans as well as 2014 season-opener at the Daytona 24 Hours and the WEC race in Silverstone. He too will continue contesting GT races with the 911 RSR parallel to his LMP1 engagement.

    “I’m thrilled for Earl and Nick. They’ve earned this chance with their impressive performances,” says Porsche Head of Motorsport Dr. Frank-Steffen Walliser. “Their rise into the premier class of long distance racing not only confirms the effectiveness of the Porsche youth development concept. It also underlines the importance of Porsche’s brand trophy series as a career stepping stone for young race drivers who bring the necessary talent, a great willingness to learn and the critical will to succeed. Porsche opens all doors to those who are really fast.”

    Four pilots contesting this year’s WEC season as part of the LMP1 driver lineup began their careers in Porsche’s one-make race series. In addition to Earl Bamber and Nick Tandy, Timo Bernhard and Marc Lieb climbed the ranks via the Porsche youth development program to join the circle of the world’s best sports car pilots. These four have one thing in common: Over the course of their careers, they have all won either the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup or the Carrera Cup Deutschland: Timo Bernhard clinched the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland title in 2001 as a Porsche junior, Marc Lieb the following year, also as a Porsche junior. Nick Tandy achieved this feat in 2011, with Earl Bamber taking home the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup trophy in 2014.


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    Press Information - Automobile Club de l'Ouest
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    Paris, 05 February 2015

    2015 Le Mans 24 Hours
    A cracking field!

    Today in Paris the Automobile Club de l’Ouest announced the list of 56 cars invited to take part in the 2015 Le Mans 24 Hours on 13-14 June, and unveiled the poster and the advertisement for the event. The field entered for the 83rd event promises a hotly-contested race, and choosing a winner in each of the four categories is like looking for a needle in a haystack!

    The start of the 83rd Le Mans 24 Hours will be given at 15h00 on Saturday 13th June. Fifty-six cars will take part in the blue riband event on the FIA World Endurance calendar, the third round of the championship, divided up into four categories: 14 LM P1s (Le Mans Prototype 1) 20 LM P2s (Le Mans prototype 2), 9 LM GTE Pros and 13 LM GTE Ams.

    In LM P1 the big news is the return of Nissan with three of its spectacular GTR-LM NISMOs. The car was presented last Sunday in the United States. Thus, the Renault-Nissan tandem will take on Audi, Porsche and Toyota in the battle for outright victory. It will be a German-Japanese duel with two German manufacturers up against two from the land of the rising sun, each one using a different technology, proof of the validity of the regulations introduced by the ACO in 2014. Completing the LM P1 field are three privately-entered cars from Rebellion Racing (2) and TeamByKolles. A total of six manufacturers will go head to head in LM P1.

    Eight different makes of chassis will go at it hammer and tongs in LM P2 making up a field of 20 cars, once again the biggest in the race. Jota Sport, which will be back with an up-dated version of the winning car in 2014 (now called the Gibson 015S-Nissan), will have a tough job on its hands to repeat last year’s feat as it will be up against newcomers like the HPD ARX-O4bs and the Oreca 05s. Ligier, which made its Le Mans comeback in 2014, will be the best-represented make in the category with five cars.

    Once again thrilling scraps will take place in LM GTE Pro and GTE Am. In GTE Pro Corvette, victorious in last month’s Daytona Rolex 24 Hours, is hoping to beat Ferrari at Le Mans, as the Italian make won the GTE Pro category in last year’s 24 Hours. Aston Martin and Porsche harbour the same ambitions.

    In GTE Am Aston Martin will be out to achieve a repeat of its 2014 victory, but to do so the English make will have to fend off top teams like AF Corse, JMW Motorsport and SMP Racing. Back for the fourth time is American actor, Patrick Dempsey, at the wheel of a Porsche entered by the Dempsey Proton Racing team for the third year on the bounce.

    Thus, the field for the 2015 Le Mans 24 Hours breaks down into 34 prototypes and 22 GTs made by 17 different makes from the biggest car groups in the world, ranging from the competition versions of the most beautiful GT cars on the market to the best builders of racing chassis.

    The 31 teams entered represent 13 different nationalities and the highest numbers of cars come from Germany (11), Great Britain and the United States (9), Japan (6) and Russia, Italy and France (5) respectively further proof of the incredible appeal of the race.

    The list of reserves comprises seven teams combining LM Ps and LM GTEs, which will be allowed to race in the order on the list should there be any withdrawals.

    During this press conference the Automobile Club de l’Ouest also unveiled a couple of vital communications tools, the 2015 Le Mans 24-Hours poster and the advertisement which will be used in the buildup to the 83rd event on 13-14 June.

    Pierre Fillon, President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest: “Once again the field for the Le Mans 24 Hours consists of fifty-six top-quality cars. We’re delighted to welcome a new manufacturer with the arrival of Nissan, which is proof of the immense appeal of our event for the major motor car manufacturers. Viewing things from a wider perspective, the fact that we have teams from thirteen different nationalities again shows the international appeal of our race. We’re very proud that the major countries in the motor industry and car culture in general provide the highest number of representatives, and it confirms yet again the link between our race, the car industry and the everyday motorist’s car of tomorrow.”

    Vincent Beaumesnil, Automobile Club de l’Ouest’s Sport Manager: “Every year the selection committee for the Le Mans 24 Hours is finding it increasingly difficult to establish the list of entries. Things are really looking up in the prototype categories with more top-level teams arriving. In GTE Pro the quality of the manufacturers entered guarantees yet another incredibly closely-fought race, and in GTE Am the overall high level of preparation and involvement is very impressive. From a technical and sporting point of view we’re expecting to see a level never before achieved: it’s going to be a great race.”
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    this years Le-Mans poster
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    Onroak Automotive Press Release – 6th February 2015


    Le Mans 24 Hours, FIA WEC, ELMS: Onroak Automotive – a strong presence in 2015

    Onroak Automotive had the lion’s share when the official lists of entries for the Le Mans 24 Hours, the FIA World Endurance Championship and the European Le Mans Series were announced yesterday. No fewer than nine cars, six Ligier JS P2s and three Morgan LM P2s built by the Le Mans and Magny-Cours-based constructor, will be racing on tracks all over the world in 2015 in these championships.

    Eight Onroak Automotive sports prototypes are among the 20 LM P2s representing eight different makes, which will take part in the test day on 31st May for the Le Mans 24 Hours before the start of the race itself, the high point of the season. In 2014, the Ligier JS P2 made a stunning debut setting pole position and finishing in the top 3 in LM P2 and all three cars entered saw the chequered flag. The Morgan LM P2 remains a benchmark in this legendary event after its double in LM P2 in 2013, and its new aerodynamic kit should allow it to remain competitive in the face of new rivals. In addition to the teams entered in the FIA WEC, and thus automatically accepted for the Le Mans 24 Hours, Krohn Racing and Pegasus Racing have also obtained an invitation as well as OAK Racing, which has entered a second sports prototype thanks to its title in the 2014 Asian Le Mans Series. The Algarve Pro Racing team’s Ligier JS P2 is on the reserve list.

    The FIA World Endurance Championship has seen the biggest increase in the presence of Onroak Automotive, which has supplied half the field in LM P2 with a second entry for G-Drive Racing, the arrival of Team SARD Morand with two cars and OAK Racing’s continued involvement.

    Last year the European Le Mans Series attracted teams running the Onroak Automotive cars, a trend that’s been confirmed in 2015, especially with the arrival of two new teams: Krohn Racing from the United States and Portuguese squad, the Algarve Pro Racing Team, both of which will join Pegasus Racing in the European Series.

    Jacques Nicolet, President of Onroak Automotive: “It gives us great satisfaction to have attracted new teams like Krohn Racing and the Algarve Pro Racing Team for these championships. We’re also very proud that other teams are continuing with us and entering a second car like Team Sard Morand and G-Drive Racing! We’re very happy with the success of the Ligier JS P2, and we’re delighted that other teams have remained faithful to the Morgan LM P2, which has already proved its worth.”

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    Riviera Beach, Fla., – Feb. 5, 2015 – In late 2014, Tequila Patrón ESM submitted two full-season entrant applications for the FIA World Endurance Championship (FIA WEC). Today the team received confirmation that it will compete in the eight-race FIA WEC season which includes the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

    The team will field two Honda Performance Development (HPD) ARX-04b coupe prototypes with continued sponsorship from Tequila Patrón. The 2015 FIA WEC schedule spans the globe and includes Tequila Patrón ESM’s debut in the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans and the six-hour races at circuits in England, Belgium, Germany, Japan, China, Bahrain and the United States round in Austin, Texas.

    Scott Sharp, Ryan Dalziel and David Heinemeier Hansson will share driving duties of the No. 30 Tequila Patrón Honda Performance Development (HPD) ARX-04b coupe. Ed Brown, Johannes van Overbeek and Jon Fogarty team-up in the sister No. 31 car.

    Tequila Patrón ESM is the only US-based prototype team competing in the FIA WEC this season. Although Tequila Patrón ESM is making its 24 Hours of Le Mans team debut, two of its drivers have won the endurance classic, while two others are making their Le Mans debut.

    Sharp first raced at Le Mans in 1996. Dalziel has three previous starts including a 2012 victory in the previous generation Honda prototype, the ARX-03b. Following his Le Mans victory in 2012, Dalziel went on to capture the 2012 FIA WEC LMP2 Championship title. Tequila Patrón ESM newcomer Heinemeier Hansson has competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans three times. In 2012 during his first Le Mans race, Heinemeier Hansson finished seventh in the LMP2 class, and then was runner-up in 2013. In his third attempt at Le Mans last year, Heinemeier Hansson won the GTE AM class race and then the FIA WEC driver’s championship.

    Brown and Fogarty are making their Le Mans debut, while 2015 marks the fifth start for van Overbeek. In 2005, while competing in the GT2 class, van Overbeek earned his best finish of third place at Le Mans with the Flying Lizard Porsche team.

    Tequila Patrón ESM entered its first FIA WEC race in September 2014 during the 6 Hours of Circuit of The Americas where Sharp, Brown and Dalziel earned a third-place finish. Then the team entered both black and Patrón green Honda Performance Development ARX-03b prototypes in the 6 Hours of Shanghai. Sharp, Dalziel and Ricardo Gonzalez earned runner-up honors in China while Brown, van Overbeek and David Brabham finished fifth.

    Tequila Patrón ESM kicks off the 2015 FIA WEC season next month at the Prologue pre-season test on March 27-28, at Circuit Paul Ricard in Le Castellet, France.

    SCOTT SHARP
    “Tequila Patrón ESM is incredibly excited and proud to represent the United States in both the FIA WEC championship and the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans. It's going to be an incredible challenge, but our team and drivers are shooting to win.

    “We're eager to bring the Tequila Patrón-sponsored HPD coupes to the WEC. We have a worldwide stage to showcase our team and the Tequila Patrón brand name. If you look at our WEC results last year, we had two podiums in two races. The Austin and Shanghai races were just the start. We’ve had a taste of the FIA WEC podium and we want more.”

    ED BROWN
    “We’re so excited to take our world-class Tequila Patrón ESM team to the FIA WEC. The FIA WEC has assembled an outstanding schedule and we’re eager to get to all the circuits especially Le Mans. I can't wait to drive there for my very first time; I hope to bring home a win on my first attempt.

    “The entire Tequila Patrón ESM team has worked tirelessly to get us to this pinnacle of worldwide motorsports. We’re eager to bring the team and the Tequila Patrón brand to the FIA WEC. We’re taking a global step for the team and Tequila Patrón. We’re very excited to race and introduce the Tequila Patrón name to race fans around the world.”

    JOHANNES VAN OVERBEEK
    “The 24 Hours of Le Mans and the full WEC schedule - what a dream to participate at these great tracks and events in a Tequila Patrón ESM LMP2 Honda prototype. It’ll be a challenge on many levels but one everyone will work hard to prepare for, especially the drivers.

    “I’ve been to Le Mans before and finished on the podium. I hope to reach the podium with the Tequila Patrón ESM this June. We can't wait to get started.”


    RYAN DALZIEL
    “I’m super excited to be back in the FIA WEC with Tequila Patrón ESM and ready to challenge for that 2015 championship. We have made huge gains as a team since Austin and Shanghai in 2014.

    “This season we’re competing in two new Honda HPD ARX-04b coupes and I know we’ll be very competitive in 2015 picking up where we finished last year.

    “The FIA WEC is a great series. We have a fantastic team, race cars and driver lineup for the season and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. I'm a happy chappy!”


    JON FOGARTY
    “Having the opportunity to go sportscar racing in the FIA WEC, a global endurance series is incredible. I’ve had the privilege to race sportscars in North America for several years, competing in the greatest North American endurance events like Sebring, Daytona and Petit Le Mans, but to go and compete in the FIA WEC and 24 Hours of Le Mans is taking it to the next level - it’s awesome!

    “Competing in the WEC with the American-based Tequila Patrón ESM, and the all-American lineup in the No. 31 car with Ed and Johannes is really special. The season will be a barrage of new circuits for me, but I have been studying. I am chomping at the bit to get the season started and to compete against a full field of diverse LMP2 machines.

    “I am honored to have the opportunity to race with Tequila Patrón ESM and represent Tequila Patrón on a global stage. I can’t wait to get started.”

    DAVID HEINEMEIER HANSSON
    “The 2015 season looks to be the best year yet for international sportscar racing. The ACO and the FIA have done an absolutely superb job assembling the most exciting fields for both WEC and Le Mans.

    “We’ll be duking it out with 20 of the best LMP2 squads in the world for the 24 hours around La Sarthe, and 10 of them around the world throughout the season. But we have a talented driver lineup and we’re racing in two brand-new Tequila Patrón-sponsored HPD coupes. It will be a challenging season, but we’re ready for it.

    “Can you tell I’m giddy? That’s because I am GIDDY! Bring on the racing!”

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    Is that the Batmoble ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nova View Post
    Is that the Batmoble ?
    paint it black and could be

    I dont like the looks of it. Great idea, good see manufacturer gone with front engined LMP1. Be interesting see this run at the test at Le Castellet and then at Silverstone.
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    ELMS - DUNLOP AND ACO SIGN THREE YEAR PARTNERSHIP DEAL IN GT CLASSES

    Dunlop, the most successful tyre manufacturer in the 92 year history of the 24 Heures du Mans with 34 overall wins, has signed a three year deal to be the exclusive tyre supplier for the LMGTE and GTC categories in the European Le Mans Series. The company will also continue to supply tyres to the LMP2 category for those teams that choose to use Dunlop.

    ELMS - Dunlop and ACO sign three year partnership deal in GT classes

    In recent years, Dunlop have had notable success in ‘open competition’ GT racing as partners to the winners of the 2010 and 2013 Nürburgring 24hours, 2010 and 2011 American Le Mans Series GT2 class and 2012 European Le Mans Series Champions. In 2014, Dunlop continued to enjoy success by partnering the European Le Mans Series Champions, Signatech-Alpine.

    This wealth of experience accumulated by winning at the highest levels of Endurance Racing will go into a new range of Dunlop Sport Maxx GT racing tyres that are being developed for the 2015 European Le Mans Series. The objective is to develop a tyre range that offers the parity, consistency and durability needed for a diverse range of LMGTE and GTC class cars.

    Pierre Fillon, President of the ACO, said: “Dunlop and Le Mans are two leading brands that are linked through their achievements in the world of endurance. Dunlop has won the 24 Heures du Mans overall 34 times in the history of the world’s greatest race and their experience of building tyres for endurance racing will be of immense benefit to the teams competing in the ELMS. We are looking forward to the start of the 2015 season at Silverstone in April with interest.”

    Jean-Felix Bazelin, Director, Dunlop Motorsport Operations, said: “As the most successful tyre manufacturer in terms of overall wins in the Le Mans 24h race, it is an honour to extend our partnership with the ACO to become a partner to the European Le Mans Series. We have many loyal customers in this championship and it has been a pleasure to see the championship rejuvenate and grow in recent seasons. We look forward to working proactively with the ACO to further raise the profile of this important and prestigious championship.”

    Gérard Neveu, CEO of the European Le Mans Series, said: “We welcome Dunlop as a full partner in the European Le Mans Series for the 2015, 2016 and 2017 seasons and we look forward to developing our strong relationship even further as we move forward to the start of the 2015 season at the official test at Le Castellet in March. All competitors in the LMGTE and GTC categories will use Dunlop tyres, which will give them the confidence and consistency of using a new range of tyres from a world class manufacturer developed for endurance racing.”
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    thankyou to the ACO, press releases.

    Press Information - Automobile Club de l'Ouest
    Si vous visualisez mal cette lettre, consultez-la en ligne.

    Le Mans, 09 February 2015

    The Le Mans 24 Hours
    and the motor car industry



    Prior to the press conference in Paris on Thursday 5th February presenting the 2015 Le Mans 24 Hours, the ACO invited the non-specialised media and the motor car industry to a conference/debate about the industrial impact of the blue riband endurance event for the major manufacturers.

    Faced with the twenty or so representatives of the press who accepted the invitation Pierre Fillon, the ACO President, Vincent Beaumesnil, ACO Sport Manager in charge of regulations, Pascal Couasnon, Michelin Competitions Manager, Darren Cox, Nissan Motorsport Global Manager, Wolfgang Ullrich, the Audi Sport Manager and Pascal Vasselon, the Toyota Motor Sport Group’s Technical Director, answered questions from the journalists. Also present was Frédéric Lénart, the ACO General Manager.

    Pierre Fillon, the ACO President, opened the proceedings reminding those present of the many innovations for the motor car tested and proved in the long history of the Le Mans 24 Hours such as the detachable wheel, disc brakes, windscreen wipers and quartz halogen headlights. He reminded them of the important technological links forged with the introduction of the new Le Mans 24-Hours regulations in 2014 aimed at encouraging the manufacturers to reduce their cars’ fuel consumption by up to 30 percent, while racing on increasingly narrow tyres, in phase with current road-going requirements. This aspect is fully in keeping with the challenges that the car industry will have to face, in particular when they’re linked to problems of sustainable development.

    For more than an hour Pascal Vasselon, Wolfgang Ullrich and Darren Cox listed the many advantages – over and above the purely sporting aspect – which the motor car manufacturers draw from their presence at Le Mans in terms of the car market, technology, marketing and image.

    Obviously, the image that Audi has forged for itself through its involvement in endurance racing at the Le Mans 24 Hours since 1999, was at the heart of Wolfgang Ullrich’s speech who emphasized the slogan dear to the Ingolstadt make: namely, progress through technology (translated from the German “Vorsprung Durch Technic).” He mentioned the innovative work done on direct injection in 2001, now a technology common to all the petrol engines in the Volkswagen range, the low fuel consumption of the diesel engines made by this giant in the car industry since the arrival of the TDI engine, victorious in 2006 for the first time, and the arrival of hybrid technologies. One piece of data made a big impression on those present: in 2014 the winning Audi used 25 per cent less fuel compared to 2013 while achieving the same performance, mind-boggling progress in just a year. Another revealing figure was that between 2006 and 2014 the Audis used 62 per cent less fuel and continued to rack up victories! He also said that the German manufacturer uses the event to communicate on a world-wide basis with its different importers and asks them to use the strong persuasive powers of the race on all the world markets.

    Pascal Vasselon pointed out that the engineers working on the TS040 hybrid’s power plant are the same as those working on road-going cars, and they go back to Japan on a regular basis to the Toyota Motor Corporation’s Research and Development departments armed with the information gained from racing. At present the competitions branch of the huge Japanese company is working on 64 research and development projects, one of which is the Le Mans 24-Hours race, which has an effect on all the others. For example, the work done on the inertial balance of the dampers in endurance racing directly benefits the cars sold on the market. It is the same story for the aerodynamic methodology and the simulation tools used to help the LM P1 prototypes achieve top-level performance.

    Darren Cox, the Nissan Motorsport Global Manager, insisted on the fact that the arrival of Nissan in the top category to take on such renowned manufacturers in the Le Mans 24 Hours, a worldwide showcase for motor sport and cutting-edge technologies, is the apex of their marketing strategy. Nissan, which is making its Le Mans 24-Hours comeback this year, particularly appreciates the scope and the open-ended spirit of the regulations, which enable manufacturers to enter very different types of racing cars. And the new Nissan LM GTR unveiled in a very spectacular manner at the last Super Bowl falls into this category! In terms of marketing Nissan also has a very different approach and takes full advantage of the platform provided by Le Mans 24 Hours.

    Pascal Couasnon underlined the fact that the tyre technology used in the Le Mans 24 Hours was transferred to the tyres on sale to private motorists in under three years - a concrete example - and that the secrets of the physical fitness training programme of the drivers and tyre technicians in collaboration with the Clermont-Ferrand rugby team were being gradually introduced to the Group’s employees so that they could take advantage of them too. The Michelin Competitions Manager criticised the current anti-car ambiance, and pointed out quite rightly that motor sport is the best possible accelerator for progress there is - for everybody’s benefit!

    Summing up Vincent Beaumesnil, the ACO Sport Manager also in charge of the regulations, gave some examples of the future orientation of progress like optimising driver comfort whose benefits could then be passed on to the everyday motorist, and the development of connected cars: “Innovation and technological development in the context of capped costs are the keys to future mobility.” In addition to the fabulous battles on the track in the different categories it was one of the reasons that united the 263 000 spectators who attended the 2014 Le Mans 24 Hours.
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  13. #133
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob View Post
    reminds me so much of the old Panoz. Looks, ok, doesnt do it for me, but sure Tobes loves it Bring on Silverstone. Takes alot to go another way and do a front engined LMP1.
    Mmmmmmmmm.....

    Not sure why they felt the need to add GT-R to it's name, it has nothing GT-R about it, only serves to dilute the name, would have thought a NISMO entry would be sufficient, will certainly be cheering them on though...

    Agree it doesn't appear to be the prettiest car, but will reserve judgement 'till I see it 'in the flesh', maybe it's just a bit of an ugly duckling...

    Hopefully they will do some nice Le Mans NISMO GT-R merchandise...
    "Racing is life. Anything before or after is just waiting."
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    24 HOURS OF LE MANS 2015 – AN EVER-CHANGING GRID.

    Among the competitors of the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans, some are returning while others are changing class or car, and others are getting ready for their very first participation.

    They're returning…
    LM P1 – Unquestionably, Nissan is highly anticipated: leading up to watching its performances, the GT-R LM NISMO will surely be one of the most photographed cars of all!

    LM P2 – Long-time Toyota partner, to whom it gave its first podium in La Sarthe in 1994, Japanese team SARD is newly associated with the Swiss Benoît Morand. British team Strakka Racing is also making its return to the class it won back in 2010.
    LM GTE Am – This class will see the return of a big GT expert: Jack Leconte and his team Larbre Compétition are looking to win again in La Sarthe, where they already won in the class in 2012.

    They're coming…
    LM P2 – the ESM team's first participation will be in tandem with Honda HPD's return to Le Mans, with a brand new prototype ARX-04b. In this class, The Ibanez Racing team will also compete in its first 24 Hours.

    LM GTE Am – A big player in the 2014 Asian Le Mans Series season with the BMW Z4 and the Mercedes SLS GT3, the AAI team has chosen Porsche to fulfill its two invitations to the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans. Coming from the American Tudor United SportsCar Championship series, the Scuderia Corsa team will support the nine-car Ferrari armada (including reserve cars).

    They're changing cars…
    The LM P2 class is the most represented in the 2015 24 Hours grid…It is also the one with the most chassis changes.
    The innovations – Russian team SMP Racing has traded its Oreca 03s for a brand new and 100% Russian chassis called the BR01. Strakka Racing has also developed its own car, in collaboration with Japanese constructor, Dome.

    From one car to another – After having clinched the pole position in the class last year with the Ligier JS P2, this year Thiriet by TDS Racing is entering the new Oreca 05 chassis, as is the Chinese team, KCMG, present in 2014 with the Oreca 03.
    From Zytek to Gibson – Title-holder at the 24 Hours of Le Mans with British team Jota Sport, the Zytek chassis is returning to Le Mans in 2015 under the name Gibson. Jota Sport will remain loyal as will Greaves Motorsport.

    They're changing classes…
    After having competed in its last two 24 Hours in the FIA Endurance LM P1 Private Teams Trophy in 2012 and 2013, Strakka Racing will come back to LM P2. A regular in the LM GTE Am pack, American team Krohn Racing will enter LM P2 with the Ligier JS P2.

    The 83rd edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans will take place Saturday and Sunday, June 13-14, 2015.
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    NISSAN ANNOUNCES FURTHER LMP1 DRIVERS - MARDENBOROUGH, ORDONEZ AND KRUMM


    Nissan Motorsports has announced a further three drivers for its LMP1 campaign in the 2015 WEC. Britain's Jann Mardenborough will be behind the wheel of the Nissan GT-R LM NISMO, along with Spaniard Lucas Ordonez and long-time Nissan stalwart Michael Krumm of Germany. The ground-breaking new Nissan LMP1 car will be racing alongside World Champions Toyota, Porsche and Audi in the LMP1 hybrid category, and alongside Rebellion Racing and Team ByKolles who are fielding non-hybrid LMP1 cars.

    Three years ago, 23 year-old Mardenborough was a gap year student, wondering what to do with his life. He spent his time watching his hero Lewis Hamilton racing in F1 and playing on his PlayStation. Then he entered Nissan GT Academy and his life changed forever when he landed his dream job.

    Fast-forward to 2015 and Jann has become a race winner in F1 feeder series, GP3, competing against the best single-seater talent in the world. His performance at last year’s Le Mans 24 Hours made the establishment sit up and take notice of the young man from Cardiff, UK, who has made the transition from gamer to racer, blowing apart the traditional route into racing. In 2015 Jann will compete in the full FIA World Endurance Championship with Nissan.

    “I want to show that there is a different route to the top of motorsport, than just years and years of expensive go karting, by winning at Le Mans,” said Mardenborough. “It’s an honour for me to be chosen to compete in LM P1 for Nissan. I have raced at Le Mans twice in LM P2 so I have seen the current LM P1 cars at very close quarters out on the track. To think I will be racing one this year is very exciting. The Nissan GT-R LM NISMO looks set to be an historic race car and I get to drive it!”


    Lucas Ordonez is the first-ever winner of GT Academy, the pioneer of Nissan’s virtual-to-reality story. He was the first GT Academy winner to race at Le Mans, capturing the headlines when he finished the great race on the podium. It is fitting therefore that Lucas should race the Nissan GT-R LM NISMO at Le Mans.

    The Spaniard will join fellow Nissan Super GT racer, Tsugio Matsuda, in the third GT-R that will join the fight at Le Mans in June. Before he gets to Le Mans though Nissan has given him a new challenge. After completing his debut season in the Japanese Super GT GT300 Championship, Nissan is demonstrating the faith it has in Ordonez by placing him into the top category of Super GT where he will race the Nissan GT-R NISMO GT500.

    “When I received the call telling me I would race the Nissan GT-R LM NISMO and the Nissan GT-R NISMO GT500 it was like winning GT Academy all over again,” said Ordonez. “Last year was incredible, racing in Japan and learning all about the unique racing culture over there. Now I get to race in the top class in Japan and at Le Mans I will jump into the ultimate GT-R! I know it sounds like a cliché but GT Academy really does turn dreams into reality, giving people a real chance to get their dream job, just like I did. For sure you have to work hard but when you do the rewards are there. I have never been so excited about the start of a new season.”


    Joining Mardenborough and Ordonez in Nissan’s LM P1 line-up is NISMO regular Michael Krumm, who was the first man to drive the Nissan GT-R LM NISMO. Well-known for his car development capabilities Krumm brings a great deal of experience to the team. The final squad of nine drivers will provide the perfect mix of youth and experience as Nissan enters the LM P1 battlefield.

    “Jann and Lucas have proved their merit as professional racing drivers time and time again, not least with their Le Mans podium finishes,” said Darren Cox, Global Head of Brand, Marketing & Sales, NISMO. “What looks like an overnight success is years of incredibly hard work by Jann, Lucas and the Nissan NISMO team that develop all of the winners of Nissan GT Academy. These guys are proof that if you want something badly enough and are prepared to give it everything you’ve got, you will succeed. We have the same ethos with our LM P1 programme. Drivers like Krumm add that extra layer of experience that is vital in a programme like this.

    “We are here to compete at the highest level and we are not here to make up the numbers,” he continued. “It’s no accident that people like Mark Webber are racing at Le Mans. This is where you will find the most competitive racing in the world. It is a tough battlefield but we can’t wait to join the fight.”
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    "Racing is life. Anything before or after is just waiting."
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  17. #137
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob View Post
    NISSAN ANNOUNCES FURTHER LMP1 DRIVERS - MARDENBOROUGH, ORDONEZ AND KRUMM
    Saw that earlier, good for them, come on the GT Academy boys...
    "Racing is life. Anything before or after is just waiting."
    - Steve McQueen



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    Yes, but what gives with the front wheel drive? Isnt it FWD?
    Thought I read that.
    N Its really not a GTR. doesnt look anything like it.
    We may have another Deltawing here.

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    Riley Motorsports GTLM Viper First Reserve For Le Mans 24 Hours

    The #53 ViperExchange.com, TI Automotive and Riley Motorsports have been named the first reserve on the entry list for the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans.

    Rob-Bell-SRT-Viper

    The entry in LM GTE AM with an ex-factory SRT Viper will therefore become the first to move up to the entry list proper should any of the confirmed entries drop out.

    Jeroen Bleekemolen is the single driver named against the car on the ACO list, as required with the team confirming that should the car eventually be successful in gaining a full entry, Ben Keating would also join the crew.

    “It’s an honor to even have this much of a chance to participate in the amazing event that is the 24 Hours of Le Mans,” Keating said. “We are grateful to the ACO for finding room for us on the reserve list, we are a step closer than we were yesterday and hope to have the chance to race at Le Mans in June. If you are a race car driver in professional sports car road racing at any level, the pinnacle of the sport, every driver’s goal has to be racing at Le Mans.”

    Bleekemolen, who co-drove to a 2008 LMP2 class victory at Le Mans, also won two GTD races last year with Keating in the IMSA Tudor Championship.

    “The 24 Hours of Le Mans is always a highlight on the calendar,” Bleekemolen said. “The atmosphere during race week, and to drive the track itself, is just amazing. I have many great memories of the race but winning there stands out. To be on top of the podium with all the fans in front of you is a special feeling. I hope to be able to get another win at Le Mans.”

    http://www.dailysportscar.com/2015/0...-24-hours.html
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  20. #140
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    couple days late...

    Porsche completes LMP1 test in Bahrain
    Thursday, 12 February 2015

    The Porsche team today concluded its second comprehensive test with the new Porsche 919 Hybrid. Despite some strong, sand blowing winds at the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir, it was a very productive test with a total of 5,118 kilometers covered. Driving duties were shared by Romain Dumas, Brendon Hartley, Nico Hulkenberg, Marc Lieb and Mark Webber. Now all nine drivers who will be racing the second generation of the 919 in 2015 have had the chance to test it.

    "We have been doing tire testing with Michelin, worked on setup and aerodynamics, tried different adjustments for the differential lock and traction control, plus we have evaluated various hybrid strategies," Alexander Hitzinger, technical director, said about the program. It is extremely important to complete such a good mileage to discover and solve any teething problems in all areas.

    "We encountered no problems that would cause us a headache. The strong, sand blowing winds were a disturbing factor and made it difficult to draw clear conclusions from the setup work. Because at night the conditions were a bit more consistent, we changed our operating hours and once we even drove until two o'clock in the morning. It was the first time we had been on a racetrack where we had data from last year's car for comparisons, so this was helpful.

    "The results are encouraging, but not meaningful enough yet. Another positive thing is that the five drivers testing in Bahrain agreed with the four from the Abu Dhabi test that the driveability of the 2015 car is better than last year. This was one of our development targets."

    The mid-corner understeer problem that was the original car's major weakness is understood to have been overcome.

    "Most importantly the test has proven we're working in the right direction," Team principal Andreas Seidl said. "It is good that all the drivers got to know the 2015 car and, of course, we're especially happy to have Mark Webber back in his usual great shape after his heavy shunt at the season's finale in December. Alongside the technical aspects, we have also been using this test to become familiar with the new mechanics and engineers who we have taken on board due to the entry of the third car in Spa and Le Mans."

    Fritz Enzinger, Vice President LMP1, summarized: "As at the first test in Abu Dhabi, we have once again realized what a difference it makes to have the experience of one season under our belts. Both the car and the crew are strong enough to deal with the challenge of managing a third 919 in Spa and Le Mans. The next step is now the homologation at the end of February. Then we will also make our final decision which megajoule class will be the most efficient for us in the 2015 season."

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    MEDIA INFORMATION
    Paris - 16 February 2015
    Hello Mr Robert Allum,

    SILVERSTONE POSTER REVEALED

    The poster for the 2015 edtion of the 6 Hours of Silverstone has been revealed. The event, which takes place on the 10-12 April, is the opening round of the 2015 World Endurance Championship.

    It will also be the first WEC event to feature four manufacturers going head-to-head in LMP1, with the race debut of the Nissan GT-R LM NISMO. The Japanese manufacturer will be taking on the might of world champions Toyota, Le Mans winners Audi and WEC race winners Porsche for the 110-year-old Royal Automobile Club Tourist Trophy.

    In LMGTE world champions Ferrari will be defending their hard won title against Aston Martin and Porsche once again, while in LMP2 ten cars representing six different manufacturers are due to line up the grid.

    Tickets are now on sale for the 6 Hours of Silverstone with prices starting at £10, while a weekend pass costs just £40. Children 15 years and under are Free and all tickets include car parking, grandstand access, autograph session access and lots more.

    A great weekend of entertainment is on offer with plenty to see and do for the whole family.
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  22. #142
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    getting mine in 1 week
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  23. #143
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob View Post


    getting mine in 1 week
    Why isn't there a Ferrari on it
    Maurizio Arrivabene fanpage:www.facebook.com/maurizioarrivabene

  24. #144
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    Off topic, but yesterday Gimmi Bruni started to follow me on instragram
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  25. #145
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob View Post
    Off topic, but yesterday Gimmi Bruni started to follow me on instragram
    Wow that's great Rob! Did you ever meet him?
    Maurizio Arrivabene fanpage:www.facebook.com/maurizioarrivabene

  26. #146
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    Quote Originally Posted by fratelliferrari View Post
    Wow that's great Rob! Did you ever meet him?
    will be meeting at Silverstone.
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  27. #147
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob View Post
    will be meeting at Silverstone.
    That's great! I will go to 6 Hrs of Spa this year! Any chance of meeting the AF Corse drivers as well, Rob
    Maurizio Arrivabene fanpage:www.facebook.com/maurizioarrivabene

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    Albuquerque Back With Jota Sport For 2015


    Filipe Albuquerque will contest the European Le Mans Series with JOTA Sport for a second consecutive year aiming to go one better and win the prestigious title in 2015.

    The 29-year-old Portuguese and Simon Dolan will again race JOTA’s venerable Zytek Z11SN which has now been rebranded a Gibson 015S.

    Albuquerque, who along with Dolan and Harry Tincknell, missed out on last year’s ELMS title by just four-points despite scoring three podium, including one win and four pole-positions.


    Filipe will combine his JOTA Sport five-race ELMS campaign, that begins at Silverstone (GB) on 11 April, with a LM P1 programme at Audi Sport Team Joest as in 2014.

    Albuquerque and Dolan recently tested the Gibson at Estoril in Portugal. It now features aerodynamic, safety and serviceability updates to the cost-capped open-top prototype that have been made over the winter.

    The third and final driver who will partner Albuquerque and Dolan in ELMS this season will be announced next month. Discussions are also underway for Albuquerque’s replacement for the FIA World Endurance Championship races at Spa-Francorchamps and Le Mans.

    Dolan, Tincknell and Marc Gené recorded a fine second in LM P2 at Spa last May. Simon, Harry and Oliver Turvey, the latter subbing for Gené when the Spaniard was unexpectedly recalled by Audi Sport Team Joest, brilliantly won LM P2 in the legendary twice-around-the-clock French race, finishing an amazing fifth overall.

    Simon Dolan: “I’m really happy to be doing ELMS again which is without doubt the strongest LM P2 category in the world. We had a great season last year finishing second in the championship plus winning our class at Le Mans but in 2015 we need to go one better and do the double.

    “It will be very interesting to see how the Gibson does against the new Coupés. We’ve found some time in the car over the winter which we are really excited about so I am sure that with the pace and the incredible reliability of the chassis we will be right in the mix again.

    “I’m personally delighted to have Filipe on board again with JOTA Sport. He’s an outstanding driver, totally professional and a really lovely guy. I couldn’t ask for anything else from a team-mate.

    “Our recent Estoril test was frustrating due to the weather. But the latest upgrades have unlocked a whole new area of performance that we need to work on and fully exploit which would then give us a fantastic race car which will enable us to fight for both the ELMS title and to enable us to defend our Le Mans win.”

    Filipe Albuquerque: “I am very happy to be returning to race for JOTA Sport in 2015 in addition to my Audi Sport ‘factory’ commitments. After last season, I now know all of the JOTA team very well which will immediately help from the opening race.

    Filipe-Albuquerque

    “I am delighted to return to ELMS having just missed out on winning the title with Simon and Harry Tincknell last year. The championship gets more competitive every year and I think 2015 will be even tougher, in terms of both cars and drivers, because teams are raising the level. But I am sure that we as a team will be even stronger.

    “Looking specifically at the championship rules and driving time, I am really happy to see that the organisers have taken action and changed the mandatory driving time of Silver/Bronze graded drivers.

    “Racing in ELMS last year was perfect and definitely helped me to get in to a rhythm quicker for my Audi Sport LM P1 programme. I learnt many things including coping with traffic situations.

    “Competing in ELMS gives me the opportunity again to race on ‘home’ soil at Estoril and that is always special. Last year, the Portuguese organisers and crowd put on a spectacular show. It was a perfect day for motorsport in Portugal and for the ELMS despite us just missing out on the title.

    “We were very unlucky with the weather at a Dunlop test at Estoril earlier this month. It mostly rained on both days and we only managed a few laps in damp conditions. There is great potential with the revised Gibson but there is still a lot of work to be done.”

    Sam Hignett. Partner, JOTA Group: “JOTA Sport enjoyed a phenomenally successful year in 2014, winning at Le Mans and just missing out on claiming the European Le Mans Series title. At Le Mans, Simon [Dolan], Harry Tincknell, Marc Gené and then Oliver Turvey each did a fantastic job for us while Filipe [Albuquerque] joined Simon and Harry for our ELMS programme. The three of them did us proud but we just fell short in the ELMS title race and we’re aiming to reverse that in 2015.

    “We’re delighted that Filipe can re-join Simon for our ELMS campaign and are grateful to Audi Sport for allowing him to combine his sportscar programmes. Obviously Harry has moved on, graduating to the Nissan LM P1 programme and everyone at JOTA Sport is thrilled for him. That now leaves us with a driver vacancy and we’ll be aiming to announce our third ELMS driver next month. Additionally we’re working hard on filling the final seat for Le Mans.

    “We took the rebranded Gibson 015S to Portugal recently although the weather hampered the programme we had set out to achieve during the two-day Dunlop test.

    “But it was great to be out running on-track again since our last race, coincidentally there last October when we narrowly missed out on winning the ELMS title.”
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    Just What Is The FIA WEC’s ‘Feeder Series’?


    We’ve long leg-pulled F1 fans on Radio Le Mans by describing their chosen favourite arm of the sport as the ‘WEC Feeder Series”.

    It’s all good fun but the thought occurred to me, is it actually true?

    Just where are the current crop of factory LMP1 drivers coming from?

    Well, through the power of Google and with a long train journey to fill, I took a look back at the recent career paths of the 31 drivers currently named aboard factory LMP1 cars for the 2015 season.

    Using a notional cut-off of three changes of career path I took a look at where the drivers had plied their professional trade.

    There are indeed no fewer than nine ex F1 drivers on that list, plus a further seven who have tested, or in some cases continue to test, F1 machinery or simulators. More than half then do indeed have at least some F1 experience.

    There are also nine drivers that contested A1GP, and seven that raced in either or both of GP2 and F3000.

    Japanese Superformula/ Formula Nippon has seen five of our current crop compete with a couple coming via US open wheel racing, and 10 featuring other mid-ranking or junior single seater formulae on their (relatively) recent cvs.

    DTM has had three current LMP1 men on their recent grids with the Porche Supercup contributing a couple more.

    Super GT though has seen no fewer than eight!

    Eight too have competed recently in LMP2 machinery and 11 in LMP1 for teams other than their current employers.

    WEC Brazil 6 Hour Race

    The biggest chunk of all though is those who have, or in the odd case still are, competed in factory GT programmes. That accounts for 14 of the 31.

    There seem to be four basic messages from this brief canter through Wikipedia. The single seater ladder is indeed very shaky. A factory LMP1 drive is now one of THE most highly prized seats in the sport.

    LMP1 experience is very highly prized by the factory teams. The combination of proven speed and an ability to adapt to the peculiarities of endurance racing, with its compromise and teamworking is not something which every pro driver can achieve easily

    The ‘Hartley Factor’ has turned heads too. Form in the junior LMP formula is now seen as directly relevant, all four current factory teams now feature at least one driver who has plied his trade in an LMP2 in the past few years.

    But for those still looking to get a foot on the ladder in the World’s fastest growing racing discipline a start in GTs should not be discounted. Almost half of the current crop have been drawn from the ranks of the factory team’s GT drivers in GTE and GT3. That team working ability is well tested there, as are the abilities to look after the machinery (and the rubber) over long stints.

    Raw speed is, of course, massively important, but a fast individual driver won’t win a 6 hour, or indeed a 24 hour, race alone. Getting aboard a GT car and showing your mettle can indeed be a head-turner. Ask Marcel Fassler!

    So then, is F1 the WEC’s Feeder Series?

    Well, strip away the collated LMP1 and GT numbers and, well yes it is!

    BUT, if you are looking to get on board the sportscar racing freight train, a convincing campaign in an LMP2 or a GT can and will do the trick too!
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    24 HOURS OF LE MANS 2015 – LM GTE GUIDE (1): THE FERRARI 458 ITALIA.

    To begin this presentation of cars entered in the LM GTE Pro and Am classes at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and in the 2015 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), the honour goes to the queen of the 2014 season: the Ferrari 458 Italia.

    The road version – Presented at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2009, the Ferrari 458 Italia succeeded the F430. It reproduces the rear-center V8 engine architecture (570 hp for 4.5 liters and 1,380 kg dry).

    The 2014 season – The Ferrari 458 Italia has won a total of 18 class victories (LM GTE Pro, LM GTE AM and also GTC) at the 24 Hours of Le Mans as well as the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), European Le Mans Series (ELMS), Asian Le Mans Series and Tudor United SportsCar Championship. It won in the World Championship the LM GTE Pro titles for constructors, teams (for AF Corse) and drivers (for Gianmaria Bruni and Toni Vilander), while the Russian team SMP Racing won the ELMS driver and team titles in the LM GTE and GTC classes.

    En route for 2015 – To maintain this impressive domination is certainly a difficult undertaking over the years as the competition level from Porsche, Aston Martin and Corvette will always be fierce…Perhaps prepare for the future with the new 488 GTB presented a few days ago?

    The 83rd edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans will take place Saturday and Sunday, June 13-14, 2015.
    CAVALLINO RAMPANTE PER SEMPRE

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