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Thread: 2015 WEC/ELMS&TUSC news.

  1. #181
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    Nick Yelloly Completes Jota Sport ELMS Line-Up

    Nick Yelloly switches from a successful single-seater career to complete JOTA Sport’s 2015 European Le Mans Series squad, a maiden sportscar season that will also see the young Briton making his Le Mans 24 Hour race debut.

    The 24-year-old multiple GP3 Series and Formula Renault 3.5 Series race winner will line-up with Simon Dolan and Filipe Albuquerque in this year’s ELMS with the trio aiming to go one better compared to last season and win the five-race series.

    Dolan and Yelloly will also race the Gibson 015S at Le Mans in June with the British team targeting a second consecutive LM P2 victory.

    JOTA’s third Le Mans driver will be revealed later this month because Albuquerque competes in the 24 hour race for Audi Sport Team Joest. JOTA Sport enjoying a strong on-going relationship with the German team for a second consecutive year.

    Yelloly began in motorsport 10 years ago via the traditional route of karting leading in to single-seaters. Having finished fifth in the 2012 Formula Renault 3.5 Series, the West Midlands-based driver claimed sixth place in the GP3 Series for the past two years.

    Nick is scheduled to test the JOTA Sport Nissan-powered Gibson again, which will once again race on Dunlop tyres with continued support from Hiscox and Oneserve, later this month.

    Simon Dolan: “I am very happy to be driving alongside Nick. He is demonstrably super fast, and whilst he has very big boots to fill in those of Harry Tincknell, I am sure he will adapt to sports cars very quickly. It should be another very exciting season.

    Filipe Albuquerque: “I believe that we’ve a great driver line-up for ELMS. I’ve never raced with Nick because of our age difference but of course I know of him from GP3.

    “I enjoyed working with Nick at Estoril. His experience will help him a lot to get used to the LM P2 sportscar. I could immediately see that he is a young driver with a lot of willingness to learn. The pace that he showed at the test confirms we have a very good squad.”

    Nick Yelloly: “I’ve never raced a sportscar and tested one for the very first time early in February so 2015 will be a completely new experience for me and one that I’m eagerly looking forward to. Having had that first taste of sportscars when JOTA Sport tested at Estoril, I have no doubt that the transition will be very smooth. When I got in to the Gibson it only took a few laps for me to acclimatise to the driving different style.

    “Sportscars will be my only programme this year and the decision was very simple. The sportscar category is now getting much bigger compared to some top-line single-seater categories, the racing intrigues me having to master new skills from almost continuous overtaking to fuel saving, and who could turn down competing at Le Mans! A number of single-seater guys have successfully made the switch over to sportscars like Brendon Hartley and Harry Tincknell. I have always dreamt of racing a LM P1 sports-prototype at Le Mans.

    “Joining JOTA Sport was logical after its massively successful year in 2014. I’m really pleased to get this opportunity and to be able to race with a team that put Harry Tincknell on the road to success. My aims for 2015 are exactly the same from when I began in motorsport 10 years ago and that is to win. JOTA was the ELMS runner-up and so the target must be to go one better and replicate its Le Mans success. I can’t wait for the new challenge that lies ahead.”

    Sam Hignett. Partner, JOTA Group: “Having taken Oliver Turvey and more recently Harry Tincknell from single-seaters to sportscars, we have been keeping a close eye on up and coming British talent.

    “Nick is right at the top of that list and we are thrilled to be able to put a deal together to get him at JOTA Sport. He’s already proven to be extremely professional and fast and we are looking forward to working with him so that he establishes himself in sportscar racing.”
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  2. #182
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    De Chaunac On New LMP2 Regs, & Roll-Out Of New Oreca 05 Coupe

    Hugues de Chaunac appeared on this evening’s Midweek Motorsport on www.radiolemans.com to talk about the track test debut of the new Oreca 05, and was happy to answer questions too about the controversial new proposals for the 2017 LMP2 regulations.

    de Chaunac describes the 065 as having only “3-4% of common components with the 03″ and was reported by one well informed observer as already reliable (500km completed in what was effectively initially planned as a roll-out/ shakedown run), already on the pace of the current Oreca 03-R (with a car present at the test) and with a straight line speed advantage the early races of this season are going to be very interesting indeed with the performance upgraded earlier open top offerings from Oreca, Onroak and Gibson matched against the Ligier Coupes and new coupes debuting from HPD, Dome, SMP/ BR and Oreca.

    There is though some irony that if future regulations are enacted as drafted and proposed this will be the last time we can look forward to such variety.

    de Chaunac though was clearly in full support of the proposal to reduce the current number of chassis manufacturers from an open marketplace (with six different manufacturers currently represented in ACO rules racing and others expressing interest in joining) to a mandated and licensed maximum of four, one (at least) of which would be based in North America.

    “It is an acknowledgment of the economic situation,” Hugues told Radio Le Mans’ John Hindhaugh. “It is better to have a smaller number of commercial manufacturers than to allow teams to effectively build cars for themselves.

    On the subject of potential savings to the teams de Chaunac offered the opinion that the current cost cap would not be reduced if the new regulations were ratified, he confirmed too that Oreca would seek selection as a chassis manufacturer and would not bid to be the drivetrain supplier (the proposal forbids any company from operating for both).

    Hugues added that he “expects to know more at the next meeting with the FIA and ACO at the end of this month (during the ELMS/ WEC tests at Paul Ricard).

    The proposal though, he felt, was likely to be ratified and then put into action very quickly, with the chassis manufacturer selection taking place this summer (June/ July)

    There was no guidance on offer on more detailed proposals, including whether there would be licensing or franchise fees levied on the selected manufacturers and whether these would be passed on to customers.

    Hugues did though say that he expected Oreca to be successful in the process, perhaps not a surprising conclusion with the number of Oreca chassis currently racing.

    The Midweek Motorsport podcast will be downloadable after broadcast tonight from www.radiolemans.com
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  3. #183
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    24 HOURS OF LE MANS 2015 - FERRARI, FROM ROAD TO TRACK.

    The presentation of the 488, the new rear-engined road-going sports car from Ferrari, is one of the star attractions at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show. Is it set to become a worthy successor to the F430 or even the 458 Italia?


    To understand how the prancing black horse came to reign over the LM GTE Pro category, we need to go back to 2003. That year, a Ferrari 550 Maranello triumphed in its category at the Le Mans 24 Hours. This competition version was born of a private initiative headed by French-Swiss gentleman driver Frédéric Dor and David Richards, founder of Prodrive and current boss of Aston Martin Racing. Ferrari then took over again and first developed a racing version of the 575, then the F430, presented at the Paris Motor Show in 2004.


    The latter would firmly re-establish Ferrari's prestige in GT at Le Mans, where it first raced in 2006, going on to finish second the following year. The F430 GT really soared to success in 2008 and 2009, with two consecutive category victories for the American team headed by Giuseppe Risi, a Ferrari dealer in Houston (Texas) who had prepared Tracy Krohn's car, second in 2007. The F430 GT truly triumphed, with a double win in 2008 and a triple in 2009. It should also be noted that in 2009, it was with this car that Patrick Dempsey competed in - and, even better, finished - his first Le Mans 24-Hour race.


    2009 was also the year when the 458 Italia, which later succeeded the F430 on the track, was presented at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Despite fierce competition from Porsche and Aston Martin, the 458 Italia clinched two LM GTE Pro victories at Mans (2012 and 2014), the manufacturers', team (with AF Corse) and drivers' titles in the category in the FIA World Endurance Championship in 2012, 2013 and 2014, as well as the LM GTE Am team title in 2013 (with 8Star Motorsports) and all the GT titles up for grabs in the European Le Mans Series 2014. For Battistino Pregliasco, AF Corse Team Principal, official representative for the prancing horse, "in the context of the World Championship, due to its position in the calendar (editor's note: third out of eight rounds in the season) and the double points awarded, the Le Mans 24-Hour race is absolutely crucial. With a good result in Le Mans, you can stay on track for the title for the rest of the season." The Italian team achieved this admirably and, since the creation of the FIA World Endurance Championship in 2012, it has finished on the LM GTE podium at the last three 24-hour races in the Le Mans.

    A lineage like that is more than enough to raise hopes of seeing the 488 GTB at Le Mans in the future...
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  4. #184
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    WEC: Audi introduces new technical director.

    Audi Sport Technical Director Jorg Zander required the better part of five minutes to chronicle his career highlights prior to joining the German manufacturer. Given the impressive length of teams and accomplishments on his resume, his appointment as the successor to Martin Muehlmeier makes perfect sense, and with stints in Formula 1 at BMW, Brawn, Honda, and Williams, along with time at Toyota during its GT-ONE Le Mans program, Zander's experience as a race engineer, designer, and manager should help Audi to field a more formidable version of its LMP1-hybrid R18 e-tron quattro.

    "I'm very grateful for the past 25 years, and now to work with Audi Sport, it is a fantastic opportunity for me," Zander said while meeting with a small group of journalists invited to Sebring to witness the new Audi R18 e-tron quattro (BELOW) during a week-long test program. "It's such a successful team, winning Le Mans 13 times. I spent two months with the team to gain certain aspects; I've met a lot of people to try and understand the competences there. The opposition is getting stronger; we have very strong teams competing against us. Together with [Audi Sport​ boss] Dr. Ullrich, we're looking to getting the organization strong, making sure we have capacities and competences where they are required to make a strong car to beat the others. Which we normally do... (laughs)."

    audi 232Audi claimed two WEC wins in 2014, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but lost out on the P1 championship as Toyota won the majority of the 6-hour races before Porsche claimed its first victory at the season finale. For a storied program like Audi, winning two of eight races is a numerical imbalance Zander and the entire organization is looking to fix.

    "We understand Porsche and Toyota raised the bar over the last two years, so our targets and aims are obviously driven by the potential and performance level of the competition," he said. "So we have to raise the bar too. There's obviously more demand on us to get it right."

    With the World Endurance Championship season opener just over a month away, Zander won't have much time to settle in at Audi Sport, and says he's already turned his attention to next year's WEC P1 challenger.

    "The 2016 car is already ongoing for quite a while; to be honest, the specification is almost settled, almost defined," he explained. "If you understand we have to take that car testing in autumn, some of the production time for the long-lead items can be 16 to 20 weeks, so we have to start producing stuff pretty soon. We're trying to understand what the opposition is doing, and I'm trying to tune one or two areas to get more out of the package at the moment. Of course, there's always immediate expectations."​

    http://www.racer.com/wec-le-mans/ite...nical-director
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  5. #185
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    Porsche Pound Around In Prep For 2015 WEC

    The start of the 2015 FIA World Endurance Championship is going to see a lot of differences from 2014.

    One change, on the face of it quite subtle, could prove to be very significant indeed as the Championship develops.

    Porsche revealed today that it has been out for the past week at Motorland Aragon testing the new aerodynamic spec it will race for the two opening rounds of the Championship at Silverstone and Spa.

    That in marked contrast to the way in which Porsche approached the 2014 season when they opted to run with the low downforce Le Mans aero for the start of the year.

    Porsche’s pre season test programme with the 2015 spec 919 has been a punishing one with over 12,000miles completed in Abu Dhabi, Bahrain and at Motorland Aragon with over 4,700 of those completed in the past 5 days alone by the solo 919 testing in Spain in the hands of Neel Jani, Timo Bernhard, Romain Dumas, Marc Lieb, Nick Tandy and Earl Bamber.

    While Nick Tandy has had some opportunities to drive the car, Earl Bamber had so far only joined the team’s Abu Dhabi test in January.

    Team Principal Andreas Seidl: “The days in Aragon were a mixture of endurance and performance testing for those two races. We also focused on tyre testing with Michelin, operational practice for the crew, such as pit stops and driver changes, as well as increasing our new drivers’ experiences with the 919″.

    “We have continued our intensive testing programme seamlessly and were able to give all the drivers a good amount of mileage. While ticking off the boxes from the job list, we have gathered lots of data which will enable us to take the next steps on further improving the 919’s performance. To demonstrate the reliability for Silverstone and Spa we have completed our first race simulations with the new car. With regards to the 24-Hours of Le Mans we have identified some weak points which we will be sorting out now.”
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  6. #186
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    PRESS RELEASE
    Paris - 09 March 2015
    Hello Mr Robert Allum,

    INFRONT TO MARKET WORLDWIDE MEDIA RIGHTS OF FIA WORLD ENDURANCE CHAMPIONSHIP

    The Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) and FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) have appointed Infront Sports & Media, the international sports marketing company, for the worldwide media rights distribution of the 2015, 2016 and 2017 World Endurance Championship seasons. The agreement, running for at least three years, covers all live/delayed, magazine and news rights across all platforms and on a global basis.

    Broadcasters can rely on extensive HD programming and full race track coverage across all eight events staged across Europe, the Americas, Asia and the Middle East, with the championship’s cornerstone event, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, being a special highlight. Live coverage from qualifying and each race is complemented by appealing programming formats, featuring circuit presentations, race highlights, driver analysis, podium coverage and interviews. Besides magazine and news, a 52-minute season review will also be available.

    Increasing reach and exposure worldwide
    Pierre Fillon, President of the ACO, said of the new agreement: “The 24 Hours of Le Mans represents the highest level of sportscar racing in the world and we therefore are delighted to be working with Infront Sports & Media, a company itself at the highest level in media and TV distribution. The ACO looks forward to a very successful partnership with Infront, not only for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but also for the WEC.”

    Gérard Neveu, CEO of the WEC, said: “Working with an experienced partner like Infront, we see great potential to further spread TV broadcasts but also to communicate more widely via second screen applications to communicate more widely the fascination for the WEC and the unique characteristics of endurance racing. In the last three years we have tried to establish a very strong base, and Infront’s global network and strong sales power will undoubtedly allow us to build on this to the benefit of the Championship, our partners and competitors and – equally importantly – our fans.”

    Stephan Herth, Executive Director Summer Sport at Infront, commented: “Motor sports are among the fastest-changing and most progressive segments of the sports industry, with the endurance discipline adding further suspense as it requires immense stamina from both man and machine. Keen to be part of such a promising sports product, as we share the governing body’s vision to further raise the profile and reach of its highest profile endurance championship, we will support the ACO and WEC with our media rights expertise and sales capacities. We will focus on maximum exposure both in established motor sports territories and emerging regions.”

    Eight rounds in 2015
    The World Endurance Championship, introduced in 2012, is organised by the Automobile club de l’Ouest (ACO) and sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA). It features four categories competing in endurance races, including Sports Prototypes and Grand Touring cars. All races are six hours in duration, with the exception of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with the World Champion titles awarded to the top scoring manufacturers and drivers over the season. In 2015, the championship will visit eight venues including the legendary Nürburgring in Germany.

    Overall, the 2015 race calendar features:
    • 12 April / 6 Hours of Silverstone, UK
    • 02 May / 6 Hours of Spa Francorchamps, Belgium
    • 13/14 June / 24 Hours of Le Mans, France
    • 30 August / 6 Hours of Nürburgring, Germany
    • 19 September / 6 Hours of Circuit of The Americas (Austin), USA
    • 11 October / 6 Hours of Fuji, Japan
    • 01 November / 6 Hours of Shanghai, China
    • 21 November / 6 Hours of Bahrain

    About FIA World Endurance Championships
    In 2015, the fourth season of the WEC will see a full grid of cars across the four categories which race together for World Championship glory. Recognised by the world’s leading automobile manufacturers as the most relevant racing series available for technology transfer to production models of the future, Audi, Nissan, Porsche and Toyota will take to the tracks in high speed, high-tech, high performance hybrid-powered sports prototypes. Luxury car marques Aston Martin, Ferrari and Porsche battle it out in the Grand Touring classes in cars which thrill and excite competitors and spectators alike.

    The jewel in the WEC crown, and of sports car racing globally, is the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the awarding of double championship points underlines the importance of this race on the calendar; this is the race every driver and team wants to win. The 24 Hours of Le Mans is not just a motorsport event, it is one of the world’s greatest sporting events and ranks alongside the Olympics, the Super Bowl and the soccer World Cup.
    www.fiawec.com
    www.24h-lemans.com

    About Infront Sports & Media

    Infront Sports & Media is the most respected sports marketing company in the world, managing a comprehensive portfolio of top properties. Led by President & CEO Philippe Blatter, Infront covers all aspects of successful sporting events – including distribution of media rights, sponsorship, media production and event operation – and has won a reputation for its high standards of delivery. As the number one player in winter sport and with a leading role in football and summer sports, Infront enjoys long-lasting partnerships with 160 rights-holders and hundreds of sponsors and media companies. Headquartered in Zug, Switzerland, Infront has a team of experienced staff working from 25 offices across 13 countries, delivering 4,000 event days of top class sport around the world every year.
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  7. #187
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    PRESS RELEASE
    Paris - 09 March 2015
    Hello Mr Robert Allum,

    CONTRACT SIGNED AND TICKETS ON SALE FOR 6 HOURS OF NÜRBURGRING

    Leading sports car championship makes its German debut at the Nürburgring -

    WEC race to take place at the Nürburgring from 28-30 August 2015 -

    Internationally renowned drivers and unique race cars guarantee nail-biting suspense at ‘6 Hours of Nürburgring’ -
    Advance ticket sales for high-tech racing series start on 9 March 2015 -
    ‘Hands-on motorsport’ at attractive ticket prices -
    The World Endurance Championship (WEC) will take place at the world famous Nürburgring from 28 to 30 August 2015. A corresponding contract has been signed by the WEC and Nürburgring operator capricorn NÜRBURGRING GmbH (CNG). By hosting the endurance race on its Grand Prix track, the Nürburgring will be able to celebrate a premiere, seeing as the high-tech racing series will take place in Germany for the first time since it was established in 2012. The WEC is the most important sports car championship in the world. Each year, it attracts hundreds of thousands of enthusiastic motorsport fans to famous tracks such as Le Mans, Silverstone, Spa and now also the Nürburgring.

    “We are delighted to cooperate with the WEC in presenting motorsport fans with a thrilling world-class race event at the Nürburgring. With the ‘6 Hours of Nürburgring’, the Nürburgring opens a new chapter in its long-standing endurance tradition. This is yet another proof that we focus on and consistently expand the Nürburgring’s core business, which is motorsport,” said CNG managing director Carsten Schumacher.

    Pierre Fillon, President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO), said:“The 6 Hours of Nürburgring is going to be one of the highlights of the WEC calendar this season. Germans fans are renowned for their enthusiasm for endurance racing and we always have a strong contingent at the 24 Heures du Mans every year. Now, in 2015, we will bring Le Mans to Germany for a celebration of endurance racing.”

    Gerard Neveu, CEO of the World Endurance Championship, said:“Bringing the WEC to Germany is an important evolution for the championship as it is the home of Audi and Porsche. The Nürburgring has a long tradition of endurance racing and we look forward to working with Carsten Schumacher and his team to make the 6 Hours of Nürburgring a success in August.”

    Exciting high-tech racing series sees drivers fight for the world championship

    This year‘s WEC comprises eight races on four continents. In addition to the German race at the Nürburgring, there will be races in England, Belgium, the US, Japan, China, Bahrain and, of course, France, with the pinnacle of endurance racing, the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Motorsport fans can look forward to a sports car spectacle par excellence, given that the LMP and GTE vehicles set their own standards when it comes to speed, looks and sound. The WEC is considered the most exciting new high-tech racing series, as it is the perfect testing ground for the automotive industry’s latest technologies. The starting grid on the Nürburgring Grand Prix track will feature factory teams of Audi, Porsche, Toyota, Nissan, Ferrari, Aston Martin, Honda and Corvette, with well-known former Formula 1 drivers such as Mark Webber, Lucas di Grassi and Kazuki Nakajima now competing at the highest level in the WEC. What is more, internationally renowned drivers such as Sebastien Buemi, Alexander Wurz, Pedro Lamy and Oliver Jarvis, as well as German racers including Marc Lieb, Timo Bernhard and André Lotterer demonstrate their skills in the fight for the world championship. A special kind of endurance is required at the ‘6 Hours of Nürburgring’, seeing as the teams have to cover a distance of roughly 1,000 km.

    ‘Hands-on motorsport’ at attractive ticket prices

    Advance ticket sales at attractive prices start on 9 March 2015. There is only one price category with free choice of seats on all open stands. Admission to the drivers’ paddock is included in the ticket price, so that spectators are not only presented with exciting races but also with ‘hands-on motorsport’. Tickets for Sunday are available in advance for EUR 30 and weekend tickets (Friday through Sunday) for EUR 35, whereas day tickets for Friday (EUR 10) and Saturday (EUR 20) are only available at the box office. The prices of tickets for Sunday and for the entire weekend are EUR 10 higher when purchasing them at the box office.

    And the best thing is: The holders of the first 4,000 tickets sold in advance will be granted free access to the pit walk on Sunday, which means they can walk through the pit lane prior to the race, take an exclusive look at the spectacular prototypes and get autographs from the racing drivers. In addition, planning is already underway for an interesting framework programme for all visitors.

    Additional information is available under the following links:

    http://www.nuerburgring.de/events-ti...rburgring.html

    http://www.fiawec.com/races/6-hours-of-nurburgring.html
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  8. #188
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    OAK Racing Press release – 09.03.2015
    Le Mans 24 Hours drivers line-up announcement

    Le Mans 24 Hours :
    Cumming, Estre and Vanthoor in the no. 34 OAK Racing Ligier JS P2-Honda


    In parallel to the entry of the no. 35 Ligier JS P2 OAK Racing is doubling its presence in the 2015 Le Mans 24 Hours. A second Onroak Automotive chassis will be entrusted to Chris Cumming, Kevin Estre and Laurens Vanthoor, a very quick, competitive driver line-up.

    It will be the three drivers’ debut in the Le Mans 24 Hours and in the LM P2 category. It’s a double challenge which is right up the street of the three talented new recruits of OAK Racing, which scored a double in LM P2 in the 2013 Sarthe event.

    The no. 34 Ligier JS P2 will be powered by a Honda engine and shod with Dunlop tyres.

    Philippe Dumas, Team Principal: “We’re delighted to welcome Chris, Kevin and Laurens in this Ligier JS P2-Honda and to share with them their first outing in the Le Mans 24 Hours. It’s a daring challenge to enter three drivers who are making their debut in both the race and the category, but they’re all very talented and we’ve brought together two of the best of the current crop of GT drivers. I’m delighted to be continuing the OAK Racing tradition of initiating ambitious, promising projects. We’ll start testing in mid-May and I’m confident that they’ll adapt quickly to the Ligier JS P2, which Chris already tested last year during a session in New Orleans.”

    Chris Cumming will be crossing the Atlantic to come and race in the Le Mans 24 Hours. Up to now the 44-year-old Canadian driver’s whole career has been on the American continent. He’s got solid endurance experience having raced in the 2012 and 2013 American Le Mans Series followed by the Tudor United SportsCar Championship: above all he has had five outings in the Daytona 24 hours since 2011. While it will be Chris’s first race in an LM P2 he has been competing in the ‘Prototype Challenge’ class over the last two years, and he tested the Ligier JS P2 last year.

    He said: “I am extremely happy to be joining a great team such as OAK Racing for my first Le Mans 24 Hours. I believe the combination of Kevin, Laurens, and myself in a Ligier JS P2 - Honda can be a winning car. I am excited to get started with testing.”

    Twenty-six-year-old Frenchman Kevin Estre is a professional racing driver. After making an impressive debut in single-seaters he became the benchmark in the Porsche Carrera Cup races where he moved up through the ranks between 2008 and 2013 starting with a Best Rookie title: he followed this up with titles in the French and German Championships plus second place in the Supercup. Since 2012, Kevin has competed in major GT endurance races including the Dubai, Spa, Daytona and Nürburgring 24-Hour events. In 2012 he met Chris Cumming with whom he did his first Daytona 24 Hours and Sebring 12 Hours. This year he’ll be driving with the Canadian again in his first Le Mans 24 Hours!

    He said: “I'm really happy and proud to be part of the OAK Racing Team for the Le Mans 24 Hours! It's the best race in the world and having the opportunity to do it with such a great team and the Ligier JS P2-Honda is fantastic. Knowing from experience that Chris is one of the best gentleman drivers and Laurens is in the top 10 GT drivers in the world, I think that we have a strong line-up. I usually fight against Laurens on track as we are both factory drivers from competing makes in GT so it will be fun to have a break and be together for a race.”

    Twenty-four-year-old Belgian driver Laurens Vanthoor racked up an impressive set of results in Formula 3 between 2008 and 2011, and then continued in the same vein in the GT category. He is a professional driver who won numerous races with Audi between 2012 and 2014 as well as honing his skills in endurance marked by victories in the Zolder and Spa 24 Hours.
    He knows Kevin Estre well as he has raced against him on several occasions in GT, and he’s delighted to be meeting up with Chris Cumming who he knows by reputation. Vanthoor is convinced that the trio can do a great job together.

    He said: ”Obviously it's a dream coming true to race in Le Mans. I filled one dream 3 years ago by becoming a professional race driver for Audi. After that my next goal was to compete and win in Le Mans, this is a first step towards that dream. Being able to do it with OAK Racing, in a Ligier JS P2-Honda-Dunlop, with a very quick GT fellow-driver Kevin Estre and of course Chris Cumming is the best package I could imagine. Obviously we don't have the experience as drivers but we will work our way through it.”
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  9. #189
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    Substantial changes for 2015 Audi

    The only carbon components of Audi's 2015 World Endurance Championship LMP1 challenger retained from its predecessor are the monocoque and the gearbox casing.

    The latest car to carry the R18 e-tron quattro name is an evolution of last year's Le Mans 24 Hours winner, but Audi has "dug deep into areas of development that showed potential", according to its head of LMP1 Christopher Reinke.

    "Every bit of carbon except for the monocoque and the gearbox casing is new," he said. "The structural spine of the car is the same, so it is an evolutionary step that builds on the potential that we saw last year.

    "I honestly believe – and it is more than a hope – that we have addressed thoroughly the weaknesses of the car and therefore we will be much stronger generally."

    The new car, which has so far run in the high-downforce specification in which it will start the WEC season, looks significantly different to its predecessor. It has a new nose, which has resulted in the car having to undergo another crash test, and runs a long tail courtesy of a regulation change that demands the rear crash structure has to be covered by bodywork.

    Andre Lotterer described the new R18 as a "a good step over last year's car."

    "No one has been sleeping in any department; the new car feels good so far," he said.

    The first 2015-spec R18, running in a carbon test livery, undertook its second test last week at Sebring, completing more than 6000km over the course of five days. Audi's six full-season WEC drivers and the trio who will race the additional R18 at Le Mans and the Spa WEC round were all present.

    Audi has yet to reveal details of its hybrid system and in which megajoule class it will run. Last year's R18 ran in the 2MJ class, which compared with 6MJs for rivals Toyota and Porsche, and Audi is known to be aiming to move up a class for 2015.

    http://www.racer.com/wec-le-mans/ite...-for-2015-audi
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    Tequila Patrón ESM Enters 12 Hours of Sebring with Honda ARX-03b Prototypes

    Riviera Beach, Fla., – March 10, 2015 – Tequila Patrón ESM returns to the tried and true Honda Performance Development (HPD) ARX-03b prototypes for the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship race at Sebring International Raceway next weekend. The two-car team returns to its race-winning open cockpit prototypes for the second round of the TUDOR Championship and second race of the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup.

    Tequila Patrón ESM first raced the HPD ARX-03b Honda prototypes in the 2013 season of the then American Le Mans Series (ALMS), and in preparation for the inaugural 2014 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, which resulted from the ALMS and GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series merger. In 21 races with the ARX-03b prototypes, Tequila Patrón ESM earned two wins (Long Beach, 2013 and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, 2014), four pole positions and 16 podium finishes.

    Tequila Patrón ESM and HPD set an aggressive plan for the ARX-04b coupes to compete this season in both the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup as well as the FIA World Endurance Championship (FIA WEC). However both Tequila Patrón ESM and HPD recognize that further development of the ARX-04b is needed before the design undergoes FIA WEC homologation. The deadline for FIA homologation is 30 days before the first WEC event, scheduled for April 10-12 at Silverstone. Once the homologation is approved, development is frozen on the customer LMP2 chassis and HPD will no longer be able to modify and update the cars. As a result, HPD has opted to postpone homologation until the remaining development work is completed.

    “We very much appreciate the effort that Tequila Patrón ESM has undertaken on HPD’s behalf to get the ARX-04b on track and helping to identify teething issues with our new chassis. We are naturally disappointed that we are not yet ready for homologation, but we cannot homologate a car that is not yet meeting all of its targets,” said Steve Eriksen, HPD vice president and chief operating officer. “Unfortunately, the time needed for remaining development is at odds with Tequila Patrón ESM’s planned prototype sports car racing efforts this season. We have made the difficult decision to change course at the 11th hour. We look forward to continuing to support Tequila Patrón ESM in its efforts to win races and championships and fully support their revised direction.”

    Tequila Patrón ESM and Honda Performance Development mutually agreed to enter the open-cockpit ARX-03b prototypes, powered by the Honda HR28TT V6 engine, in the 63rd Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring fueled by Fresh from Florida. The transition to the ARX-03b is timely for the Florida-based team that considers Sebring International Raceway its home track. Last year the No. 1 HPD Honda of Scott Sharp, Ryan Dalziel and David Brabham finished second at Sebring.

    “Thank you to everyone at Honda, HPD, Wirth Research and Tequila Patrón ESM for their tireless efforts over the last four months,” said Scott Sharp, Tequila Patrón ESM owner and driver. “After being with Honda for 10 years and knowing Nick Wirth, undoubtedly the ARX-04b will fulfill its expectation with some additional development. Quite simply, that will take a bit of time and we’re racing against the clock with the homologation deadline and start of the WEC season around the corner. To ensure a successful WEC season and championship run for Tequila Patrón ESM and HPD, we have decided our best opportunity to win races and the LMP2 title this season is to compete with an existing homologated chassis.”

    “We have purchased two new Ligier JS P2 chassis designed by Onroak Automotive, continued Sharp. “Onroak has an established relationship with Honda and have a proven P2 chassis that will allow us to carry on with our planned WEC LMP2 campaign. Philippe Dumas and his team have been tremendous and are prepared to work overtime to deliver us two cars to compete at the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps in May.”

    “We’ve had a relationship with Honda since 2007, and we’re thrilled to continue our motorsports association with them,” said Ed Brown, Patrón Spirits International, president and chief executive officer, and Tequila Patrón ESM driver. “We’ve had success with our HPD ARX-03bs and are looking forward to running them again at Sebring. We’re eager to put that Honda power into the Ligier chassis later this season as well. Tequila Patrón ESM, Honda and Ligier will be a motorsports powerhouse seeking to conquer some of the most prestigious racing events. As the only American team running a full season of WEC with Honda and Ligier, we’re looking forward to winning many races and championships together.”

    About Tequila Patrón ESM
    Founded in 2010, Tequila Patrón ESM is one of the premier sportscar teams in the world. Tequila Patrón ESM’s record includes two GT wins with the Ferrari Italia F458 (Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and Road Atlanta, 2012), two LMP2 wins (Long Beach, 2013 and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, 2014) two GT pole positions, four LMP2 pole positions and a combined 22 podium finishes.

    For 2015, Tequila Patrón ESM competes in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship and the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) with two Tequila Patrón-sponsored LMP2 prototypes and drivers Scott Sharp, Ed Brown, Johannes van Overbeek, Ryan Dalziel, Jon Fogarty, and David Heinemeier Hansson.
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    NEWS ALERT
    PARIS - 10 March 2015
    Hello Mr Robert Allum,

    STRONG ENTRY FOR SEASON OPENER AT SILVERSTONE

    A strong 33 car grid will line up at Silverstone for round 1 of the 2015 World Endurance Championship on Sunday 12 April, the first race where world champions Toyota will begin the defence of their title against Audi, Porsche and Nissan. Aston Martin will once again start their WEC campaign at home as they endeavour to wrest the GT World Cup for Manufacturers away from three time winners Ferrari and also fend off the challenge of Porsche.

    The overall winners of the 6 Hours of Silverstone will also receive the Royal Automobile Club Tourist Trophy, which this year celebrates the 110th anniversary of the first TT on the Isle of Man in 1905. There are no less than six former Tourist Trophy winners on the grid, including last year’s winners Anthony Davidson and Sebastien Buemi.

    There is plenty of British interest throughout the grid for the fans at Silverstone to cheer with 6 cars and 17 drivers racing under the Union Jack.

    There will be nine LMP1 entries for the opening race of 2015. 2014 World Champion Anthony Davidson will start his 2015 campaign on home soil and he will be joined in the no1 Toyota TS040 by fellow champion Sebastien Buemi and race winner Kazuki Nakajima.

    There are five other British drivers in LMP1. Mike Conway will be racing the no2 Toyota in all eight WEC races in 2015. Oliver Jarvis has been called up by Audi tofill the race boots of Mr Le Mans, Tom Kristensen, in the no8 R18 e-tron quattro. Nissan have three British drivers in their two car line up with Jann Mardenborough and Max Chilton in the no23 GT-R LM NISMO and Harry Tincknell in the no22 car.

    Porsche have a completely unchanged driver line up in 2015, the only thing that has changed is the numbers on the cars, with 17 and 18 on the two 919 Hybrids. Mark Webber will race the no17 car as the UK based Australian star starts his 2015 campaign at Silverstone alongside New Zealander Brendon Hartley, who is also based in the UK, and Germany’s Timo Bernhard.

    The sole privateer entry for Silverstone will be the Team Bykolles CLM P1/01 AER with Swiss driver Simon Trummer the only named driver at this point.

    LMP2 returns in 2015 with the largest class grid, with 10 cars entered for the 6 Hours of Silverstone representing six different manufacturers. All British team Strakka Racing finally get to run the Nissan powered Strakka Dome S103 in the WEC, with Nick Leventis, Danny Watts and Jonny Kane looking forward to the challenge ahead.

    Race winners KCMG also have an all British driver line up of Richard Bradley, Matt Howson and Nick Tandy, who will be racing the brand new closed cockpit Oreca 05-Nissan.

    G-Drive Racing return in 2015 with two cars, the Russian team entering a pair of the highly successful Nissan powered Ligier JS P2s. Race winners Roman Rusinov and Julien Canal are joined in the no26 car by Britain's Sam Bird.

    American team Extreme Speed Motorsports have confirmed their two car entry with Scotland’s Ryan Dalziel joining Scott Sharp and David Heinemeier Hansson in the new Tequila Patron sponsored no30 HPD ARX 04B - Honda.

    The European Le Mans Series has provided some strong LMP2 competitors and this year reigning ELMS Champions Signatech Alpine will join the WEC with the Alpine A450B-Nissan. Team Morand also was a front running team in the 2014 ELMS and the Swiss team has joined forces with SARD Racing from Japan to form Team SARD Morand and Britain’s 2014 ELMS Driver’s Champion Oliver Webb will race the no43 Morgan.

    In LMGTE Pro three times manufacturers champion Ferrari will once again face stiff opposition from Porsche and Aston Martin. 2014 Driver Champions Gianmaria Bruni and Toni Vilander will team up to defend their world title in the no51 AF Corse 458, while Britain’s James Calado will compete in the no71 AF Corse Ferrari with Davide Rigon.

    In the no92 Porsche Team Manthey 911 RSR race winners Patrick Pilet and Fred Makowiecki will once again attempt to break the Ferrari strangle hold on the world title and they will be joined in the no91 911 by the highly experienced Richard Lietz, with Denmark's Michael Christensen making his WEC debut at Silverstone.

    The Aston Martin LMGTE Pro challenge has swelled to three cars in 2015, with the reigning LMGTE Am champions in the no95 Young Driver Vantage V8 moving up to the Pro class. Single seater ace Marco Sorensen is the lead driver in the all Danish entry for the British manufacturer. The no97 Aston Martin will start where it left off in 2014 with Darren Turner returning to continue the challenge.

    In the LMGTE Am class 2015 marks the return of Chevrolet to challenge Ferrari, Aston Martin and Porsche with 2012 LMGTE Am Team Champions Larbre Competition running a single Corvette C7.

    American actor Patrick Dempsey finally fulfils his dream of racing on the world stage in the no77 Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR.

    Aston Martin Racing will run a further two Vantage V8s, with Roald Goethe and Paul Dalla Lana heading the driver line ups in the no96 and no98 cars respectively.

    Gerard Neveu, CEO of the World Endurance Championship, said, “With so much endurance racing history, Silverstone is a fantastic venue to start the 2015 WEC season. With a strong grid of 33 cars there is going to be some great racing during the 6 Hours of Silverstone. It will be very hard to predict the winners of the opening round of the year. All eyes will be British World Champion Anthony Davidson as he begins his title defence at home but there are 16 other local drivers through the grid for the British fans to cheer for. We look forward to seeing who will add their names to the 110 year old Tourist Trophy on Sunday 12 April and take the early lead in the race towards the 2015 world title.”

    THE 6 HOURS OF SILVERSTONE

    As well as the opening round of the World Endurance Championship, therace schedule at Silverstone also includes the opening round of the 2015 European Le Mans Series and three races by the FIA F3 European Championship.

    Tickets are now on sale for the 6 Hours of Silverstone with prices from £10 to £35 per day, while a 3-day weekend pass costs just £40. Children 15 years and under are free and all tickets include car parking, unreserved grandstand access, autograph session access, access to the entertainment area and lots more. CLICK HERE for more information on the 6 Hours of Silverstone.

    http://www.fiawec.com/wpphpFichiers/...ist_090315.pdf
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    NEWS ALERT
    PARIS - 10 March 2015
    Hello Mr Robert Allum,

    SAVE THE DATE FOR LONDON LAUNCH OF THE 2015 WEC

    The World Endurance Championship will be holding its traditional press conference in Central London at the start of April.

    After photocalls at The London Eye, Tower Bridge and Kensington Palace, this year the location will be Marble Arch.
    Date: Thursday 2nd April 2015
    Photocall: 11h00
    Marble Arch
    Conference and lunch: 12h15
    Royal Automobile Club, Pall Mall

    Details of the cars and drivers who will be attending the London Press Conference will be available soon.
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    The 2015 ELMS calendar and circuit presentation

    With five of the top race circuits in Europe on the calendar and a compact two day race weekend format, the European Le Mans Series provides the teams and drivers with the maximum amount of track time and plenty of entertainment for the thousands of spectators that attend the events. The 2015 ELMS will certainly provide something for everyone this season.

    Two-day weekends:

    Organised by the ACO (Automobile Club de l'Ouest), ELMS events are run by LMEM (Le Mans Endurance Management). From 2015, ELMS competitors will be able to take part in two 90-minute free practice sessions on Saturdays and a qualifying session on Sunday morning. A four-hour race will be held on Sunday afternoon.



    Five European circuits – 2015 Calendar

    In 2015, the ELMS will visit five top European circuits, all of which host top level motorsport. - 10/11 April: Silverstone (Great-Britain)

    - 16/17 May: Imola (Italy)

    - July 11/12: Red Bull Ring (Austria)

    - 5/6 September: Paul Ricard (France)

    - 17/18 October: Estoril (Portugal)



    Silverstone :

    Known for being a mecca for motorsport enthusiast from around the world, Silverstone Circuit (in the county of Northamptonshire) is a true British institution.

    Ninety minutes from the UK's capital city of London, the 5.9km (3.66 mile) Silverstone track has everything to excite and entertain spectators. Built on the site of an old airfield in the late 1940s, it has undergone regular upgrades and is host to the British F1 Grand Prix.

    European Le Mans Series results (2014)

    LMP2: Thiriet by TDS Racing – No.46 Morgan Nissan – Gommendy/Thiriet/Badey

    LMGTE: AF Corse – No.55 Ferrari 458 Italia - Cameron/Griffin

    GTC: Team Ukraine – No. 96 Ferrari 458 Italia - Pier Guidi/Kruglyk/Chukanov



    Imola:

    For the third consecutive year, the European Le Mans Series will return to the famous Imola circuit, renamed as Autodromo Enzo & Dino Ferrari after the death in 1988 of the ‘Commendatore'.

    Il Autodromo Enzo & Dino Ferrari is known for its very technical layout, which is difficult to conquer, its twists and turns require a superior level of driving. In addition, it's one of the few European tracks where cars circulate anticlockwise.

    European Le Mans Series Results 2014 :

    LMP2: JOTA Sport – No. 38 Zytek SN Z11 – Albuquerque/Tincknell/Dolan

    LMGTE: SMP Racing – No. 72 Ferrari 458 Italia – Zlobin/Bertolini/Shaitar

    GTC: Formula Racing – No. 60 Ferrari 458 Italia – Laursen/ Mac



    Red Bull Ring:

    The Red Bull Ring, originally known as the Österreichring or the Zeltweg Circuit (near Knittelfeld) was opened in 1969 and totally rebuilt in 2011 at the instigation of Dietrich Mateschitz, owner of Red Bull energy drinks.

    The 4.326 km layout of the circuit is situated in the Styrian Alps between Zeltweg and Knittelfeld located 660 meters above sea level. It includes nine corners (2 left-hand and 7 right-hand), the width of the circuit is between 12 to 13 metres and the track offers competitors gradient changes of 9.3% downhill and 12% uphill – definitely enough to guarantee drivers as well as spectators an exciting and a most certainly hotly contested event.

    European Le Mans Series Results (2014):

    LMP2: Signatech Alpine – No.36 A450b Nissan – Chatin/Panciatici/Webb

    LMGTE: AF Corse – No.55 Ferrari 458 Italia – Cameron/Griffin/Rugolo

    GTC: SMP Racing –No.71 Ferrari F458 Italia GT3 – Ladygin/Basov/Persiani



    Paul Ricard Circuit:

    Built in 1970 by the French aniseed drink tycoon, Paul Ricard, the circuit which bears his name has been totally renovated by Philippe Gurdjian at the start of the 2000s.

    Following this modernisation, the circuit has become a benchmark for motor sport safety, notably because of the asphalt run-off areas used instead of gravel traps, and it re-opened its doors to the general public in 2009. In 2015 the Circuit Paul Ricard will welcome the world famous motorcycle endurance race the Bol d'Or.

    The Paul Ricard circuit is one of the very few with a long straight line, the Mistral Straight which covers 1.8km and therefore makes it one of the best circuit for endurance racing, with 25 corners (15 right, 10 left) and the width of the track is 12 meters. The longest of the many track configurations is 5.8 km.

    European Le Mans Series Results (2014):

    LMP2: NewBlood by Morand Racing – No.43 Morgan Judd – Klien/Hirsch/Ragues

    LMGTE: AF Corse – No.55 Ferrari 458 Italia – Cameron/Griffin/Rugolo

    GTC: SMP Racing – No.73 Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 – Ladygin/Markosov/Beretta



    Estoril:

    Located near the Atlantic coast about thirty kilometres from Lisbon, the Estoril circuit was created in 1972 and has undergone numerous transformations since. It offers a unique configuration with a long straight followed by a series of highly technical sequences. It requires a versatile car, with a good top speed and agility through the series of fast bends.

    The Estoril Circuit will again be the venue for the final round of the ELMS season. In 2014, Estoril hosted a fantastic finale which saw a fifth different team climb onto the highest step of the podium, rounding out a high quality season in front of 20,000 spectators.

    European Le Mans Results (2014):

    LMP2: Sebastien Loeb Racing – No.24 ORECA 03R Nissan – Capillaire/Eriksson

    LMGTE: SMP Racing – No72 Ferrari 458 Italia – Zlobin/Bertolini/Shaitar

    GTC: BMW Sport Trophy Marc VDS – No.87 BMW Z4 GT3 – Leinders/Paltalla/Hassid
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    NEWS ALERT
    Paris - 11 March 2015
    Hello Mr Robert Allum,

    VIDEO TEASER LAUNCHED AS COUNTDOWN TO THE PROLOGUE CONTINUES

    With just 17 days to The Prologue, the Circuit Paul Ricard held a press conference today for the French media to outline the events that will be taking place at the 5.8km circuit this year, including the ELMS Official Test and the ELMS 4 Hours of Paul Ricard on 5/6 September .

    A special 30 second teaser for The Prologue was unveiled..
    https://youtu.be/ftqlIuV48tw?list=PL...U90-AXlGBHU0oq
    Gerard Neveu, CEO of the World Endurance Championship, was interviewed prior to the press conference talking about The Prologue and the ELMS Official test. This video was played to the media at the Circuit Paul Ricard earlier today and the interview, which is in French, is available to watch HERE.



    The Prologue is the official test of the World Endurance Championship and will take place at the Circuit Paul Ricard on the 27/28 March. Saturday 28 March is a public day where fans are invited to come and see the cars and meet some of the drivers who will compete in the 2015 WEC. Entry to the circuit is free, as is the autograph session and pitwalk at lunchtime.

    More details on The Prologue, including ticket information, can be found on the Circuit Paul Ricard website HERE
    http://www.fiawec.com/wpphpFichiers/...ist_020315.pdf
    Provisional Timetable for The Prologue

    Friday 27 March

    09:00 – 13:00 Session 1
    14:00 - 18:00 Session 2
    19:00 – 21:00 Session 3
    Saturday 28 March

    09:00 – 13:00 Session 4
    13:15 – 13:45 Drivers Autograph Session and Pitwalk
    14:00 – 17:00 Session 5
    Last edited by Rob; 12th March 2015 at 20:46.
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    Cracking start to 2015 Season with 35 Cars entered for the 4 Hours of Silverstone.

    The five round 2015 European Le Mans Series will get underway at Silverstone, the undisputed Home of British Motorsport, with a 4-hour race on the full Grand Prix circuit. Thirty five cars across four classes are due to line up on the grid for the season opener on Saturday 11 April, with British teams and drivers well represented for their home race.

    LMP2 will be the largest class at Silverstone. There are 12 cars run by 10 teams representing 9 different nations and 5 different manufacturers. At the 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans, ELMS teams took all three podium places in LMP2, adequately demonstrating the quality of the European Le Mans Series grid last season, with 2015 promising to be even better.

    Britain's JOTA Sport was victorious at Le Mans last year and return this season as ELMS Vice Champions after losing out to French team Signatech Alpine in the final round at Estoril. Britain's Simon Dolan and Portugal's Filipe Albuquerque will once again team up in the Nissan powered Gibson 015S to challenge for the European title in this highly competitive class. A second Gibson-Nissan will be run by Greaves Motorsport with 2013 ELMS LMGTE Driver Champion Johnny Mowlem returning to the prototype class this season.

    Two Ligier JS P2s will be on the grid in 2015, with Algarve Pro Racing running a Nissan powered car while American team Krohn Racing have chosen to use Judd power in 2015.

    2014 LMGTE and GTC champions SMP Racing will field two of their newly developed BR01 cars in LMP2, with the Russian team running the no27 and no37 car, the latter with an all-Russian driver line up. German team Pegasus Racing will run the sole Morgan-Nissan on the grid with a French-Chinese driver line up.

    The rest of the grid will be made up of teams running the Oreca chassis with 2012 champions Thiriet by TDS Racing choosing the new closed cockpit Oreca 05. Murphy Prototypes, Ibanez Racing and Eurasia Motorsport will all run the open cockpit 03R with Nissan power.

    LMP3 is the new class for 2015, with 7 of the Ginetta-Nissans on the grid at Silverstone. Team LNT will run two cars and the no3 Ginetta will feature multiple Olympic cycling gold medallist Sir Chris Hoy alongside fellow Brit Charlie Robertson. Three other British teams – University of Bolton, Lanan Racing and Rollcentre Racing - will also be on the LMP3 grid alongside Italian team Cetilar Villorba Corse and SVK by Speed Factory from Spain.

    LMGTE features 9 cars with Ferrari, BMW and Porsche as the featured manufacturers in the class. Double FIA World Touring Car Champion Andy Priaulx will race for the Belgian BMW Team MARC VDS in the BMW Z4, the sole BMW on the LMGTE grid. The all-British Gulf Racing UK Porsche 911 GT3 RSR of Michael Wainwright, Adam Carroll and James Winslow will be one of two Porsches on the Silverstone grid, the other run by WEC regulars Proton Competition from Germany.

    Britain's Duncan Cameron and Ireland's Matt Griffin narrowly missed out on winning the 2014 LMGTE title and return as Vice Champions in 2015 to try and take the title in the AF Corse run Ferrari 458 Italia. They are joined on the grid by five further F458s with Austrian team AT Racing, Denmark's Formula Racing and British team JMW Motorsport all running the Ferrari.

    In GTC, which is run for cars conforming to the FIA GT3 homologation, there are 7 cars entered for Silverstone, including a Lamborghini Gallardo LP560 GT3 run by British team Gulf Racing UK. LMP2 stalwarts TDS Racing are running a BMW Z4 GT3 in an all French effort.

    2014 GTC Champions SMP Racing will defend their title with a single GT3 spec Ferrari 458 Italia, while AF Corse will run a trio of Italy's finest sportscar in the 2015 European Le Mans Series.

    Danish team Massive Motorsport will run the only Aston Martin Vantage on the grid with an all Danish crew featuring 2014 LMGTE Am World Champion Kristian Poulsen.

    Gerard Neveu, CEO of the European Le Mans Series, said: “2014 was an exciting season for the European le Mans Series, with a different winner at each race and all the titles being decided in the last round in Portugal. The strong 35 car grid for the opening round of the 2015 season at Silverstone represents some of the best teams and drivers in endurance racing and has the potential to provide even more entertainment and excitement than last year. We're sure all of the British fans that travel to Silverstone, and everyone who watches the race on TV or online, will enjoy the first of five races to decide who will be crowned the ELMS champions.”



    Track action will begin on Friday 10 April with two free practice sessions. The first 60 minute session will begin at 10:35, while the second 90-minute session will start at 14:10.

    Saturday 11 April will be an extremely busy day, with qualifying starting at 11:05 for LMGTE and GTC followed at 11:30 for the qualifying session for LMP2 and LMP3. The 4 Hours of Silverstone will begin at 14:30 later the same day.
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    LARBRE COMPÉTITION DRIVER LINE-UP FINALIZED (CORVETTE)

    After a brief stint in the LM P2 class at the 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Larbre Compétition team will once again enter a GT at Le Mans, as well as in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). The Corvette C7.R, in the French team's colours, will be in the hands of Paolo Ruberti, Gianluca Roda and Kristian Poulsen.

    The Dane, who won with his teammates the the trophy for best LM GTE Am class driver of the year in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), is leaving Aston Martin - with whom he won the 24 Hours of Le Mans - for Larbre Compétition and the Corvette C7.R he got to know during two test days at the Sebring circuit.

    In Florida, Kristian Poulsen shared the wheel with his new teammates Paolo Ruberti and Gianluca Roda. The two Italians competed in the 2012 FIA WEC season in the LM GTE Am class with the Porsche of the German team Felbermayr Proton, winning three victories including the prestigious 12 Hours of Sebring. The same in 2013 but the win eluded the duo, whereas in 2014 they worked together in 8Star Motorsports' Ferrari 458 Italia with which they finished third in the LM GTE Am class at the 6 Hours of Shanghai.

    So it is indeed a solid driver line-up that will race a Corvette C7.R for the very first time in the LM GTE Am class of the FIA WEC. According to the regulations, a car must be at least a year old to be authorized to race in this class, and the C7.R completed its first laps in competition in early 2014. So, it could not be approved before 2015.

    Leconte's technical team spent time on the American manufacturer's home turf so as to familiarize itself with the C7.R, a relatively easy task for an outfit that won in the LM GTE Am class of the FIA WEC and the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2012 with a Corvette C6.R.

    Jack Leconte, team manager: “Four years ago our partnership with Corvette Racing began with the C6.R at Sebring. Earlier this week, we returned to Florida to continue our association and get a feel for the new C7.R. “Over the years, we have nurtured our relationship with the US manufacturer and achieved tremendous results together. For that reason we were really excited to trial the new C7.R on track. The car has great potential, as has already been proven after its class win at this year’s Daytona 24 Hours in late-January. The engineers and mechanics massively benefitted from their trip to Detroit, once they’d acclimatised to the difference in temperature between Florida and France! With regard to the drivers, we’re delighted to welcome one of the reigning LMGTE Am champions, Kristian Poulsen, to our team. As for Gianluca Roda and Paolo Ruberti, we’re obviously familiar with their talent behind the wheel seeing as the pair of them finished just behind us two years in a row in both ILMC and WEC. All in all, we’re delighted with the strength and consistency of our 2015 crew."

    Larbre Compétition's Corvette C7.R will hop a plane to attend the Prologue, the official FIA WEC tests which will take place March 27th and 28th at the Circuit Paul Ricard in Castellet.

    https://youtu.be/COhsn7HcmnE
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    ELMS 2015 - Regulation Part IV - Driver categorisation

    The season is about to start and the official test session will take place at the Circuit Paul Ricard, March 23rd and 24th. Here is another point of the ELMS regulation, which concerns the way drivers are lined up together in one team.

    As the name suggests Endurance racing is for events of several hours duration and the ELMS races have been set to four hours. Each team must have two or three drivers and these drivers are organised into different categories depending on their level of experience. A driver line up must be a mixture of professional and amateur drivers – the driver crews cannot be 100% professional – and to achieve this the drivers are graded as Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze.

    For the LMP2 category only: the rule governing the composition of the crews derives from the categorisations of the drivers as follows:

    a crew of 2 or 3 drivers must include at least one Silver or Bronze driver.

    For the LMGTE and GTC categories, the rule governing the composition of the crews derives from the categorisations of the drivers as follows:

    a crew of 2 or 3 drivers must include at least one Bronze and one Silver driver, or two Bronze drivers

    For the LMP3 category, the rule governing the composition of the crews derives from the categorisations of the drivers as follows:

    a crew of 3 drivers must be made of as following:

    · one Platinum + two Bronze drivers,

    · one Gold, one Bronze, + one Silver or a second Bronze

    · three Bronze or Silver drivers.

    a crew of 2 drivers must be made of as following:

    · one Platinum + one Bronze driver,

    · one Gold + one Silver or Bronze

    · two Bronze or Silver drivers.

    The categorisation of the drivers is set on the race experience of each drivers.

    Explanation :

    Platinum:Professional driver generally recognized as a well-known driver on the international scene, under the age of 50 and satisfying at least one of the following criteria:

    Ø has held a Super Licence (for Formula One);

    Ø has won the Le Mans 24 Hours outright;

    Ø has been a Works Driver, paid by a car manufacturer;

    Ø has finished in the top 10 in the general classification in F3000, CART/Champcar, IRL or GP2;

    Ø has finished in the top 6 in the general classification of an F3 international series (British/Euro F3) or a major international single-seater Championship (e.g. World Series by Renault);

    Ø is a driver whose performances and achievements, despite note being covered by one of the definitions above, may be considered as Platinum by the Endurance Committee.

    Gold:Semi-professional driver in international series or who has distinguished himself in national Championships and satisfying at least one of the following criteria:

    Ø driver satisfying the criteria of the category A (Platinum) but aged 50 to 59;

    Ø has competed competitively in the World Karting Championship or single-seater series and is under 35 years of age;

    Ø has finished in the top 10 in the general classification of a secondary international single-seater series (A1 GP, Renault V6, FR2000 international…);

    Ø has finished in the top 6 in the general classification of a national single-seater series (F3, FR2000…);

    Ø has finished in the top 5 in the general classification of an entry level single-seater series (F-Ford, F-BMW, F-Zip, Autosport Academy…);

    Ø has finished in the top 6 in the general classification of the Porsche Supercup;

    Ø has finished in the top 3 of the general classification of a national or international series organised by a manufacturer (Porsche, Seat, Peugeot, Renault…);

    Ø is a driver whose performances and achievements, despite note being covered by one of the definitions above, may be considered as Gold by the Committee.

    Silver:Amateur driver satisfying at least one of the following criteria:

    Ø driver aged under 30 and not satisfying the criteria of categories A (Platinum) and B (Gold) ;

    Ø driver satisfying the criteria of the Platinum category but aged 60 or over;

    Ø driver who has finished in 1st place in the general classification of national Championships or international series in association with a professional driver;

    Ø driver who has won a non-professional drivers' series (Ferrari Challenge, Maserati Trofeo, Lamborghini Supertrophy…);

    Ø is a driver whose performances and achievements, despite note being covered by one of the definitions above, may be considered as Silver by the Endurance Committee.

    Bronze:Amateur driver, any driver holding an International B licence without a significant record of achievements in motor sport but whose level of performance can be considered as Bronze by the Endurance Committee.
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    Nissan Delay Start To WEC LMP1 Campaign, GT-R LM To Debut At Le Mans

    Nissan have just confirmed that their 2015 LMP1 car, the GT-R LM will not run at next week’s FIA WEC Prologue test at Paul Ricard and will not be entered either for the opening two rounds of the Championship at Silverstone or Spa Francorchamps, instead making it’s Championship debut at the Le Mans Test Day with the full and planned three car entry for the Test Day and the race proper.

    No official background reason is given for the withdrawal, the team opting to continue their extensive testing programme, but sources close to the team have cited performance issues with the hybrid system and recent testing difficulties as having caused major concerns about the performance and durability of the car at its current point in development.

    Nissan’s Darren Cox this afternoon told Marshall Pruett: “We’re continuing taking the time to do more testing mileage instead of racing.”

    “We failed the monocoque crash test; the front roll hoop missed by a small margin, but we’re fixing it and will have an updated chassis for [crash testing] next week.”

    More detail as we get it but for now here’s hoping that this extraordinary project finds the answers that are required in the next couple of months.
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  19. #199
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    Nissan’s WEC Delay, DSC Says….

    The news breaking on social media right now that the Nissan GT-R LM is to miss the pre-season WEC Prologue test and the first two rounds of the Championship at Silverstone and Spa is very disappointing, but not entirely unsurprising.

    The concept of Nissan’s 2015 LMP1 contender redefines the phrase ‘cutting edge’ with almost every aspect of the design new and/ or unproven in competition.

    It was always going to be a mountain to climb to get the car to the track in truly competitive form with such a short run-in from finished design to racing.

    Beyond the already mighty task in hand to build and develop the car there have been other issues too – many outside the control of the team, and the additional testing time
    will be vital to ensure that the GT-R LMs hit the ground running at Le Mans.

    There will of course be a multitude of disappointed fans who may miss their first, or only, chance to see the new Nissan race. It’s a car that has cultivated interest like no other. It’s launch day saw more people reading DSC than ANY other day in our 15 year history.

    Pragmatists though will conclude that this is a sensible decision, and we can only hope that Nissan’s higher ups agree that the delay in the car’s debut brings opportunities for a more competitive showing when we do see the car run and race in June.

    http://www.dailysportscar.com/2015/0...-dsc-says.html
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    KIWI EVANS TO MAKE FIA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP DEBUT WITH JOTA SPORT

    Sportscar newcomer joins Simon Dolan and Nick Yelloly to defend
    Le Mans 24 Hours LM P2 title

    Mitch Evans will make his sportscar, FIA World Endurance Championship and Le Mans debut in one fell swoop this year when he competes for JOTA Sport in the British team’s two-race WEC assault.

    The 20-year-old New Zealander, the protégé of ex-Formula One race winner and Porsche “factory” driver Mark Webber, contests the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps (2 May) and the Le Mans 24 Hours (13-14 June).

    Evans joins JOTA’s European Le Mans Series regulars Simon Dolan and Nick Yelloly in the two WEC races. Filipe Albuquerque, who competes with Dolan and Yelloly in the ELMS, is committed to Audi Sport Team Joest for the Belgian and French WEC races.

    JOTA Sport achieved a praiseworthy second and then a brilliant first placing in the corresponding Spa and Le Mans races respectively last year.

    Evans had his first taste of the Gibson in a test last month (24 Feb) at the Aragón circuit. Yelloly and Albuquerque were also present in Spain. Mitch, who will also contest a full season of GP2 again this year, joins former single-seater race winners Harry Tincknell, Oliver Turvey and Yelloly in switching to the sportscar category with JOTA Sport.

    Meanwhile ex-F1 drivers Marc Gené, Stefan Johansson, Jan Lammers, John Neilsen, Hideki Noda and Alex Yoong have all raced for the British team. Other notable JOTA “pilots” include Chris Buncombe, Sam Hancock, Haruki Kurosawa and Lucas Luhr.

    About Mitch Evans . . .
    2015: FIA World Endurance Championship (Spa 6 Hours & Le Mans 24 Hours). GP2 Series.
    2014: 4th GP2 Series, six podiums inc two wins.
    2013: 14th GP2 Series, four podiums.
    2012: 1st GP3 Series, six podiums inc three wins.
    2011: 1st Toyota Racing Series, 14 podiums inc seven wins. 9th GP3 Series, two podiums inc one win.
    2010: 1st Toyota Racing Series, 10 podiums inc three wins. 2nd Australian Drivers’ Championship, 16 podiums eight wins.
    2009: 2nd Australian Formula Ford Championship, 15 podiums inc six wins.
    2008: 1st Formula Ford Manfeild Winter Series, 10 podiums inc seven wins.
    2007: 9th NZ Formula First Championship.

    Simon Dolan (GB). Age 45. Born: Chelmsford, Essex. Lives: Monaco (MC):
    “I’m very excited to welcome Mitch to JOTA Sport. Hopefully he will help us in successfully defending our Le Mans LM P2 title. He is without doubt one of the best young single-seater drivers out there. With a proven track record of speed and bringing a car home in one piece. I’m sure he’ll adjust quickly to sportscar racing and I am certain he’ll fit in with JOTA Sport immediately.”

    Nick Yelloly (GB). Age: 24. Born: Cannock, Staffordshire. Lives: Solihull, West Midlands:
    “I’ve been friends with Mitch since 2011 when we were both racing in the GP3 Series that year. We’ve been on the same GP2 and GP3 ‘bills’ in recent years so we’ve often seen each other around and about.

    “Mitch will be a great addition to the JOTA team for Spa and Le Mans when Filipe [Albuquerque] is committed to Audi. Mitch is quick, sensible and is a good racer.

    “The transition into working with each other as team-mates, even though it’s for only two races, will be straight forward and seamless. I have no doubt that he will be a great asset to JOTA.”

    Mitch Evans (GB). Age: 20. Born: Auckland, New Zealand. Lives: Aylesbury, Bucks, UK:
    “I’ve never raced a sportscar and only drove one for the very first time last month but I don’t see this an issue. I'll use my single-seater experience to get to grips with the LM P2 sports-prototype as fast as possible. I've followed sportscar racing for many years and Le Mans has always been on my ‘bucket list’.

    “My aim at Spa will be to learn this new style of racing and gaining experience with driver changes. For Le Mans, the goal will be to help JOTA win LM P2 again.

    “I visited Le Mans for the first time last year and honestly didn't realise the size of the event – in terms of the track itself and the spectacle as a whole. I'd watched it previously on television but you cannot appreciate the magnitude of the event until you actually visit the place. I can't wait to experience my first laps around there at the test in May. I am so excited and can't wait to get started.”

    Sam Hignett. Partner, JOTA Group:
    “I’m delighted to have Mitch joining the team for our two FIA World Endurance Championship races of the year. I’m certain he will be a competent and worthy substitute for Filipe who competes in these two races for Audi Sport Team Joest.

    “Mitch’s speed and ability are evident from his GP2 and GP3 performances. Mark Webber is Mitch’s mentor so I’m sure he will pass on some knowledge and general information about sportscar racing before Mitch gets in to our Gibson at Spa and Le Mans.”
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    Tequila Patrón ESM Determined to Achieve Victory at Sebring

    A Patrón-worthy combination of home track advantage
    and return of Honda ARX-03bs

    Riviera Beach, Fla., – March 17, 2015 – Tequila Patrón ESM has some unfinished business at Sebring International Raceway and this weekend’s TUDOR United SportsCar Championship race – the 63rd Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida. Following last year’s runner-up finish, the Florida-based team returns to its home track more determined than ever to win the annual Sebring event and the second round of the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup. To help with those tasks, Tequila Patrón ESM has enlisted two old friends – the Tequila Patrón-sponsored Honda Performance Development (HPD) ARX-03b race cars.

    The Tequila Patrón ESM team recalls last year’s 12 Hours of Sebring as vividly as it remembers yesterday. Despite dominating and leading the second half of the endurance event, a late-race caution flag jeopardized the No. 1 Tequila Patrón ESM team of claiming victory. It was a bittersweet podium celebration for Scott Sharp, Ryan Dalziel and David Brabham. The second-place finish marked the first podium of the season for the team, but a race win was a mere four seconds out of reach.

    Characteristically the roughest, bumpiest and most challenging circuit on the TUDOR Championship schedule, Sebring International Raceway is typically a favorite of the Tequila Patrón ESM team. Overall victory has eluded both Tequila Patrón ESM and Honda at the 3.7-mile, 17-turn circuit – a statistic both are looking to change this weekend.

    The 2014 season marked the second year of Tequila Patrón ESM running the ARX-03b chassis. In 21 races with the ARX-03b prototypes, Tequila Patrón ESM earned two wins (Long Beach 2013 and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca 2014), four pole positions and 16 podiums.

    Earlier this month, Tequila Patrón ESM and Honda Performance Development mutually agreed that it would be competitively advantageous to run the ARX-03b at Sebring while the ARX-04b coupe continued development. The ARX-03b prototypes last at-track appearance was the FIA World Endurance Championship (FIA WEC) 6 Hours of Shanghai in November, a race that concluded with Sharp and Dalziel earning runner-up honors.

    Sharp and Dalziel return to Sebring in the No. 1 Tequila Patrón HPD ARX-03b, and are joined by David Heinemeier Hansson. Dalziel won the 2012 LMP2 race in the same ARX-03b chassis with the Starworks Motorsports team. Heinemeier Hansson brings one LMP2 podium finish and two Prototype Challenge (PC) podium finishes with him to Tequila Patrón ESM.

    The No. 2 Tequila Patrón ESM driving team of Ed Brown and Johannes van Overbeek has two top-five finishes at Sebring International Raceway aboard the ARX-03bs. The duo finished fourth in 2013 and then third in 2014. Brown and van Overbeek eagerly return to the ARX-03b prototype – it is the same vehicle in which they earned their first TUDOR Championship overall race win in 2014.

    In one of van Overbeek’s first Sebring races, he co-drove with Hans Stuck, the grand marshal of this year’s 12 Hours of Sebring. The California native seeks his first Sebring win to go along with his three podium finishes (runner-up in 2006 and 2007, and third in 2005). Jon Fogarty – van Overbeek’s teammate this year as well as for the 2006 and 2007 podium finishes – has five top-five finishes at Sebring.

    The Sebring race will be the first time Heinemeier Hansson and Fogarty will drive the ARX-03b Honda chassis.

    A quick glance at the calendar shows the team heads to Circuit Paul Ricard in Le Castellet, France, immediately following Sebring for the pre-season test for the FIA WEC. In less than a month, Tequila Patrón ESM will compete in the 6 Hours of Silverstone, the first of FIA WEC eight international races on the schedule. Victory at Sebring would be a Patrón-worthy beginning to Tequila Patrón ESM’s FIA WEC season.

    On Friday, fans have the opportunity to meet the 2015 Tequila Patrón ESM driver lineup during the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Autograph Session beginning at 11:30 a.m. Following the autograph session Tequila Patrón ESM will host a live auction in the paddock area benefiting the Austin Hatcher Foundation for Pediatric Cancer, with exclusive team items for bid. The auction starts at noon (ET).

    The second race of 2015 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship is the 63rd Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida on March 19-21. Qualifying for prototype cars takes place at 5:35 p.m. ET on Friday, March 20. Green flag for the 12 Hours of Sebring is 10:40 a.m. (ET) on Saturday, March 21.

    The Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup (NAEC) includes the Rolex 24 At Daytona, Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen and the season finale Petit Le Mans. Watch the Tequila Patrón ESM drivers explain the significance of the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance.

    TV Coverage – Saturday, March 21
    FOX Sports 1 live coverage runs from 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. (ET).
    FOX Sports 2 live coverage runs from 12:30 p.m. – 7 p.m. (ET)
    IMSA.com coverage runs from 7 p.m. until 10 p.m. (ET)
    FOX Sports 2 live coverage runs from 10 p.m. – 11 p.m. (ET)

    TV Coverage – Sunday, March 22
    FOX Sports 1 will broadcast a two-hour recap show from 8 a.m. – 10 a.m. (ET)

    ####

    SCOTT SHARP

    “We’ve had many changes at Tequila Patrón ESM since the beginning of the year. HPD and the Tequila Patrón ESM have mutually decided to set aside the new ARX-04b coupes and compete in the reliable 03b open-cockpit prototype car from our last two seasons.

    “It was a last-minute decision but we know this race car and we know what it can do at Sebring. It is solid and reliable. We have great setups on the cars. We have a great setup for Sebring. We should have won the race last year. We led laps and had a huge lead on the field until that late caution. This car is competitive and knows its way around that bumpy track. We all feel really good about driving this car at Sebring.

    “We’re excited to be back in the ARX-03s at Sebring. We’re really looking forward to this weekend. We want to head into the WEC series with a Sebring win under our belt.”

    ED BROWN

    “I’m excited to get back to Sebring! Johannes and I last year had a shot to win if it wasn't for contact with an Audi. Then Scott and Ryan were leading the race late into the night until they were hit with some bad luck in the form of a caution flag. Sebring owes both Tequila Patrón ESM cars. We’re looking for podiums and a win as a proper sendoff into our next race in the WEC.”

    “It will nice to jump back into the 03b which is such a proven car especially at Sebring. I’m so appreciative to the entire team and HPD for all the hard work over the past four months! We owe our crews a win at Sebring!”

    RYAN DALZIEL

    “I love Sebring. Not only is it where my wife and her family are from it’s also Patrón ESM's home race, so that adds a little extra motivation for us.

    “We’re racing in the Honda ARX-03b and that changes our approach to the race. With the coupe, we would have approached Sebring much like Daytona, as an endurance test. But with us returning to the 03b that was very dominant last year, I think now we are approaching the race, ready to win.

    “Last year was very bittersweet. We got our first podium of the season but we really should have won, so we have some unfinished business with the HPD 03bs and I know we can deliver. Nothing would make me happier than to bring home a 1-2 for every employee at Patrón ESM and HPD after what has been a tough six months, and even more grueling two weeks after this last-minute chassis switch.”

    JOHANNES VAN OVERBEEK

    “My first year driving at Sebring was when I had Hans Stuck, the grand Marshall of this year’s race, on the team. Hans was very kind to me then and continues to be. He's an inspiration to me and I look forward to putting a good showing in with Ed and Jon in the Patrón ESM HPD car at this year’s race.

    “We’re back to last year’s car and there are some advantages. We know the setup, as drivers we're comfortable in it and it's cool from a temperature perspective. I can't wait to get started.”

    JON FOGARTY

    “Following our difficulties at the season opener at Daytona we are eager to get back on track, both literally and figuratively. With Sebring being both the second race of the TUDOR Championship and the second race of the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup, this is a great opportunity to go out and show what the team is capable of. Sebring is a great test on all fronts, 12 hours of hard racing on a punishing track that demands everything from the team, car and drivers. A good result here means a lot.

    “With the shop close by and half the drivers living close by, we have a great fan base. This is a great time to interact with our fans and show how much we appreciate their support/

    “This will be my first time in the Honda ARX-03b and I’m excited for the chance to drive it. Every race car has its own personality and learning to work with that, figuring out how to maximize its potential is always a challenge, but one I very much enjoy. The car is proven and with my teammates’ experience it should be a smooth process.

    “I have been coming to Sebring for quite some time. I competed in the Skip Barber/Dodge Pro Series which was a support race to the Sebring 12 Hours, so it is a place I am familiar with. I would say my best race was actually with Johannes back in 2005. We had a huge battle on track in the GT class, one where we had to come back from some adversity. Remembering that race is great motivation to do one better this year!”

    DAVID HEINEMEIER HANSSON

    “The 12 Hours of Sebring is my favorite track and event in the US. It’s been good to me with three consecutive podium finishes, including runner-up last year in LMPC. It’ll be a real treat to get one last hurrah in the open-top 03b. From the few laps I got in testing, I like that the aging chassis is still alive and kicking. We’ll try to finish what ESM got so close to last year."
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  22. #202
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    BMW UNVEILS TRIBUTE LIVERY FOR 40TH ANNIVERSARY OF FIRST U.S. WIN AT SEBRING

    Woodcliff Lake, N.J. – March 14, 2015… Today, BMW of North America publicly unveiled a special livery, which pays homage to the IMSA 3.0 CSL, for the two BMW Team RLL Z4 GTLM cars that will race in the 2015 edition of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida on March 21. The unveiling took place during “Cars & Coffee at the Concours” which is part of the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance weekend in Northern Florida. 1975 12 Hours of Sebring winning drivers Brian Redman, Sam Posey and Hans Stuck, 1972 -1980 BMW Motorsport Manager Jochen Neerpasch and current BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt were on-hand when BMW ace driver Bill Auberlen drove the car onto the show field to the applause of show goers and BMW Motorsport fans.

    BMW AG began the decade of the 1970s in transition. While the company battled to establish its own distribution in North America, one of its directors pushed to formalize a racing program in Germany. In an inspired drive, then-BMW AG Sales and Marketing Director, Bob Lutz, successfully lured former race driver turned race team manager Jochen Neerpasch and race engineer Martin Braungart from Ford of Europe in May of 1972. With the help of Lutz's understanding ear on the Board, BMW Motorsport GmbH was formed. The newcomers had much work ahead of them, but not in all areas. Engines were always BMW's strong suit – in no small part due to the talents of BMW master engine designer Paul Rosche. And, strangely enough, it was the newness of the motorsports company and the absence of a layered infrastructure that allowed Neerpasch and Braungart to develop the racing CSL in a few short months. This lightweight special would become BMW's weapon of choice for nearly the next 10 years.

    The '73 season ended with both the European Touring Car Driver's and Manufacturer's championships awarded to BMW. There was certainly light at the end of the tunnel - unfortunately it was an oncoming train in the form of the world's energy crisis. The energy crisis, in combination with the large expenditure for a new BMW 5 Series assembly plant, meant that factory racing took a back seat in 1974.

    So then, how did BMW end up in victory lane Sebring, Florida, in March 1975? While Neerpasch and company fought on the race tracks of Europe, another battle was being waged over the distribution of BMW cars in North America. Ultimately, BMW of North America was formed and began distributing cars in March of 1975, and the new company looked for ways to establish its identity and grow the brand. A commonly-told story of the early days was that many Americans were mistakenly under the impression that BMW stood for British Motor Works.

    While racing is not always treated affectionately in the boardrooms of auto companies, nothing proves and improves a brand like racing. The decision was made for BMW to contest the IMSA Camel GT Series in 1975 with two 3.0 CSLs and four world-class drivers: Brian Redman, Hans Stuck, Ronnie Peterson, and Sam Posey. To dispel any misconceptions as to exactly who had come to race, the cars featured BAVARIAN MOTOR WORKS printed across the windshield tops.

    The BMW team arrived at Sebring after disappointment at Daytona 1975, one month earlier. After qualifying a strong second and third at the season opener, both cars retired with connecting rod failures. The 12 Hours of Sebring began with three major changes. Allan Moffat substituted for Ronnie Peterson, who could not compete in a non-FIA race. European-proven Dunlop tires replaced the Goodyears tried at Daytona. Finally, new connecting rods were designed, tested, and installed. As usual, Hans Stuck put his car on the pole - by some five seconds.

    Confidently starting the race, the No. 24 car of Stuck and Posey pulled out an early lead over Corvettes and Porsches. The· No. 25 car of Redman and Moffat ran a bit farther back as Moffat got familiar with the car. Sebring is one of the world's most demanding races, and within a matter of hours began to wear down out the lead CSL and its competitors. As an oil leak promised the end for Stuck and Posey, the race lead fell to the No. 25 CSL, and increasingly onto the shoulders of veteran racer Redman, who stayed in the car stint-after-stint because Moffat could not match his speed. After retiring the No. 24 car, Stuck and Posey pitched in, but it was Redman's drive of more than seven hours of twelve that meant victory for BMW and the team.

    1975, the BMW CSL, and the 12 Hours of Sebring all symbolize the simultaneous startups of a BMW national sales company and BMW Motorsport in North America. The significance and achievements are not underestimated by today’s BMW, whose brand turns 100 years old in 2016. Only four men stood on the roof of the winning BMW in Sebring’s victory lane, but many others deserved to. After that stunning first win, BMW Motorsport and BMW of North America have charged ahead, consistently winning races, championships, and the hears of fans, employees, and loyal customers for the ensuing four decades.


    - See more at: http://www.imsa.com/articles/bmw-unv....Nvq4vSkV.dpuf
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  23. #203
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    STRAKKA DOME S103 LIVERY REVEALED

    The all British Strakka Racing team have unveiled their 2015 colours in a set of images today. The LMP2 class Nissan powered Strakka Dome S103 will be seen in public for the first time at The Prologue at the Circuit Paul Ricard on the 27 / 28 March, with the media getting their first look at the car that will be driven by Nick Leventis, Danny Watts and Jonny Kane on the 26 March at 16h30.

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  24. #204
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    Good to have Strakka back. LMP2 field very strong. Sebring this weekend
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  25. #205
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    So Prodrives Richards is at Aston aey? No wonder they r running so well. Everything theyve done has been fast and to the highest degree of quality. They will be hard to beat.
    N Im in no rush to see the 488 in competition..it'll have its time.

  26. #206
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nova View Post
    So Prodrives Richards is at Aston aey? No wonder they r running so well. Everything theyve done has been fast and to the highest degree of quality. They will be hard to beat.
    N Im in no rush to see the 488 in competition..it'll have its time.
    He been in charge/running Prodrive form the early Subaru WRX programmes in the 90s. The AMR squad this year in GTE Pro will be running a 3 car effort this year. By time 488 be ready, it be a winner out of the box. AMR, always hard to beat. But are we
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    IMSA: Dempsey to miss Sebring.

    Wednesday, 18 March 2015
    By Marshall Pruett
    RACER has learned racer/actor Patrick Dempsey will be forced to skip the 63rd running of the Mobil 1 Twelve hours of Sebring due to a late and unexpected scheduling conflict with his television show, Grey's Anatomy.

    A team representative confirmed Dempsey, who was on the Sebring entry list through Wednesday morning, is a late withdrawal, but it is expected to be a one-off interruption. Dempsey will be replaced by Emilio Valverde in the No. 58 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT America.
    The 49-year-old is set to contest the full World Endurance Championship calendar with Porsche in the GTE-Am category and, barring future conflicts, a number of TUDOR United Sports Car Challenge races with Wright's team.

    "It is very disappointing that I will miss Sebring, but at the end of the day, Grey's Anatomy is my first priority," said Dempsey. "Grey's has done an incredible job freeing up my schedule for as many races as possible. I am very grateful for all of the support that they have given me.

    "The podium at Daytona was a fantastic start for the Dempsey Wright team. We did great testing in the Beautyrest Black Porsche, so I felt confident of a good result in the Sebring 12 Hour. I am happy that Emilio has agreed to be my 'stand in' for the weekend. Madison and Jan will do their usual stellar job, and will keep the #58 car up front. Thanks again to Beautyrest Black, Brumos, and Porsche for their strong support and understanding."

    http://www.racer.com/imsa/item/11451...o-miss-sebring
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  28. #208
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    gutted for him. Least can make Sliverstone, as got get autograpph and picture for my mum.
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  29. #209
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    EXPLORE SEBRING’S BEST VIEWING: SIX WAYS TO WATCH THE 12 HOURS

    Sebring is flat as a pancake and lacks the elevation changes of scenic road courses like Road Atlanta. But the legendary 3.74-mile circuit, formerly a WWII B-17 air base, more than makes up for that with 17 challenging turns, an incredible atmosphere and a rough and tough surface that tests every aspect of a car and driver.

    So when you arrive at Sebring’s massive facility, you may be wondering “where exactly can I get a good view of the action?” Here are six suggestions:

    Viewing Berms: Some of Sebring’s best viewing is from the viewing berms located at several points around the circuit. Our favorite is the turns 3-4-5 section that gives a stadium-like view of the action. Bring a folding chair and get ready for some great TUDOR Championship racing. Nine other berms are located around the circuit, including at the Gurney Bend, Hairpin and Turn 13.

    Rail Birding: Walking the fence line around the Sebring circuit is a great way to learn the track and experience Sebring’s festive atmosphere. The Green Park portion of the circuit has a viewing path between the fence line and the trackside parking so you can walk a large portion of the circuit immediately adjacent to the track.

    Grandstands: Sebring has small grandstands at the Hairpin and Turn 14 that provide a nice elevated look at two very exciting turns.

    Pit Box: Pit box seats are located on the second level of the pit structure and require pit box tickets. The Fangio Terrace pit boxes are located west of the pit tower and the Gurney Terrace is east of the tower. They give an amazing elevated view of the front straight and all the pit action. The pit boxes are covered, but bring ear plugs as this is the loudest viewing area of the circuit!

    Reserved Trackside Parking: Over one thousand reserved trackside parking/camping spaces are located around the circuit. Many fans prefer to camp at the track and watch the race from the top of their motorhomes- a Sebring tradition! You can reserve your own space by calling 800.626.7223 FREE.

    Paddock Action: Every Sebring ticket allows access to the competitor’s paddock. If you want to watch the teams prepare for the race, or make repairs during the race, you can get close to the action! No track offers a more fan-friendly paddock experience than Sebring.

    And remember, there are two jumbo screens at the circuit so you can watch the live TV feed, plus two scoreboards and a scoring tower showing the standings.

    - See more at: http://www.imsa.com/articles/explore....qzJM6RUm.dpuf
    CAVALLINO RAMPANTE PER SEMPRE

  30. #210
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Stowmarket. U.K
    Posts
    16,811
    love to go to Sebring, one day
    CAVALLINO RAMPANTE PER SEMPRE

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