Today, Thursday 8 February, the grid for the 2018 European Le Mans Series has been unveiled with 41 cars competing in the three classes in Europe’s leading endurance racing series. The strong grid comprises of thirty-two teams representing thirteen different nations and also features championship winning drivers and teams both past and present.
LMP2 – More Cars, Stronger Competition
The premier class of the European Le Mans Series will count more cars than ever before with 17 LMP2 including 4 Dallaras, 6 Ligiers and 7 Orecas entered for the 2018 series.
2017 champions G-Drive Racing return to defend their title and will, for the first time, enter two cars that will race under the Russian flag. The no26 Oreca-Gibson will have the 2015 FIA WEC LMP2 World Champion Roman Rusinov as the lead driver. After a successful debut season in LMP2, 2017 ELMS Vice Champions United Autosports will enter a second car in 2018.
Dragonspeed, Panis Barthez Competition, Algarve Pro Racing, IDEC Sport, SMP Racing, Cetilar Villorba Corse and High Class Racing all return to fight for LMP2 honours. French team Duqueine Engineering move up to LMP2 from LMP3, while Spanish teams Racing Engineering and AVF by Adrian Valles will make their ELMS debuts in Le Castellet in April.
A second Algarve Pro Racing run Oreca 07 will be in the colours of Rebellion Racing (APR - Rebellion Racing), the Swiss outfit running a car in LMP2 class as a junior team to its efforts in the WEC.
LMP3 – Same Level of Competition, New Season
18 LMP3 cars have been entered for the 2018 ELMS season, the junior Le Mans Prototype class continuing to provide a great platform for teams and drivers to compete. The grid will feature fifteen Ligier JS P3 and three Norma M30s, all powered by the same Nissan engine.
Reigning champions United Autosports will, once again, field two Ligier JS P3-Nissans with 2017 driver champions Sean Rayhall and John Falb teaming up to defend their hard-won title.
2017 Michelin Le Mans Cup champions DKR Engineering will contest the 2018 European Le Mans Series, with Vice Champions Ecurie Ecosse/ Nielsen also moving up to the ELMS.
Cool Racing, Nefis by Speed Factory, 360 Racing, AT Racing, Oregon Team, Eurointernational, Inter Europol Competition, RLR MSport, Ultimate and M Racing-YMR all return for another season and are joined by British team BHK Motorsport.
LMGTE – Ferrari v Porsche
6 cars will once again make the LMGTE a class of quality with three Ferrari 488s and three Porsche 911s.
2017 ELMS LMGTE Champions, and 24 Hours of Le Mans class winners, JMW Motorsport will return to defend their title against some stiff competition from Spirit of Race and Proton Competition.
2017 Michelin Le Mans Cup GT3 Champions Ebimotors have moved up to the LMGTE class in the ELMS, the Italian outfit swapping their GT3 Lamborghini for a Porsche 911 RSR with 2017 drivers champion Fabio Babini as the lead driver.
American team Krohn Racing return to the ELMS and to the LMGTE class after a brief flirtation with LMP2. Texan team owner Tracy Krohn returns to head the driver line up in the bright green Ferrari.
The entry list is HERE
Pierre Fillon, President of the ACO: “The European Le Mans Series continues to strengthen its position as the world’s leading continental endurance race series and we are extremely pleased to see this 41 car entry for the 2018 season. LMP3 continues to attract large numbers, LMP2 is stronger than ever before and LMGTE keep attracting quality teams and drivers to compete in the ELMS. With six of the most challenging race tracks in Europe on the calendar and some of the best teams and drivers in the world competing, the European Le Mans Series will be exciting to watch in 2018.”
Gérard Neveu, CEO European Le Mans Series: “The 2018 grid is full of star teams and star drivers from all over the world and underlines the importance of the ELMS in endurance racing. In 2018 the grid has grown to 41 cars, which is a good indication to the health of the series. This is why we will continue to strive to improve all aspects of the events and make the ELMS the best possible continental Series for everyone involved - teams, drivers, partners, fans and the media.”
The official pre-season test for the 2018 European Le Mans Series will take place on the 9th and 10th of April at the Circuit Paul Ricard in France, which will be followed by round 1, the 4 Hours of Le Castellet, at the same circuit on Sunday 15 April.
The Michelin Le Mans Cup will also stage round 1 of the 2018 season at Le Castellet. The entries for the series are still open and the entry list will be unveiled in March just ahead of the start of the new season.
Official press release from ELMS
Photo (ELMS / Jakob Ebrey Photography) : Start of the 2017 4 Hours of Portimão (Portugal).
Photos : One G-Drive Racing Oreca 07 - Gibson, one United Autosports Ligier JS P217 - Gibson and one Cetilar Villorba Corse Dallara P217 - Gibson at the start of the 2018 season.