As the 2018 ELMS season came to an end and awarded the various championship titles at the Portimão finale today in Portugal, Automobile Club de l'Ouest President Pierre Fillon gave a positive assessment of the success of endurance racing in Europe.
"Today at the Portimão finale, the 2018 season of the European Le Mans Series came to a close. Congratulations to the all the title-winners, and welcome to those invited to participate in the 2019 24 Hours of Le Mans thanks to their results in the ELMS. I would like to congratulate G-Drive Racing and its drivers for their title in LMP2, RLR Msport in LMP3, Proton Competition in GTE, as well as the DKR Engineering and Kessel Racing teams who won in LMP3 and in GT3 in the Michelin Le Mans Cup. Bravo to all the class winners across the six races of the season that began at the Paul Ricard circuit then continued on to Monza, the Red Bull Ring, Silverstone, Spa-Francorchamps and ended this weekend at Portimão with local driver Filipe Albuquerque on the top step of the podium."
"Since 2013, the year of its re-inception, this endurance racing platform at the European level has proved its allure and success. At the greatest circuits in Europe, it never fails to provide action and competitiveness in LMP2, LMP3 and LMGTE with seasoned and other top-tier competitors making their way to the World Endurance Championship and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. That is how we envisioned our endurance racing pyramid with an ELMS championship that fosters talent and allows for consolidation with limited budgets. Among the impressive results this year, I would like to highlight the record set by Phil Hanson, now the youngest overall winner in history - at the age of 19 years, two months and 18 days - and the top step on the podium at Portimão. Another excellent example is Thomas Laurent, a star in ELMS, rookie in LMP3 in 2016 and just two years later entered in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the LMP1 class."
"Another valuable element to point out is the ever-increasing quality of the entrants in the weekend support races like the Michelin Le Mans Cup. The European Le Mans Series now translates to a remarkable level in endurance racing even before advancing to the world stage."
"Here's looking forward to the 2019 season of six rounds again, and to the happy return to an iconic circuit in Barcelona. Save the date: 8-9 April for the official testing in Le Castellet at the Paul Ricard circuit."