Wednesday, 16 January 2019

ELMS: Bruno Senna joins John Farano at RLR MSport in LMP2

RLR MSport has signed Bruno Senna and John Farano for its return to the LMP2 class in the 2019 European Le Mans Series.

The 35 year old Brazilian, who started his career in endurance racing in 2010 with Oreca, will share the Bolton-based team’s newly-acquired ORECA 07 with reigning ELMS LMP3 Champion John Farano and a third unnamed driver.  Senna will drive all rounds in the European Le Mans Series at all-but-one: the 4 Hours of Silverstone.  If the team gets an invite for Le Mans, the team will also need to replace Senna as both races conflict with his drive at Rebellion Racing in the FIA WEC.

The 2017 FIA WEC LMP2 champion said he is very excited to take on this new challenge and to be joining the European Le Mans Series’ highly competitive LMP2 field with RLR MSport. The team has had great success in the past, most recently winning the ELMS LMP3 Teams’ and Drivers’ titles, and I’m sure the LMP2 step will be another successful one. Our experiences combined should make us a strong contender for the races and I’m really looking forward to kicking things off.”

Farano, meanwhile, began with select appearances in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series and Ferrari Challenge, before winning the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Drivers’ title during his first full season of competition in 2012.

However, the 59-year old Am has become something of an RLR MSport stalwart. His long-standing association with the Bolton-based team has been a successful one and, having magnanimously sealed the 2018 ELMS LMP3 titles, Farano will remain within the RLR fold as he takes the next step of his motorsport career in LMP2. Farano was first to sample the RLR MSport-prepared Oreca 07 during a test at Silverstone in August, but countless more miles will be covered during a test and development programme that will only intensify on the approach to the season-opening ELMS 4 Hours of Le Castellet mid-April.

“I am super excited to be rejoining the RLR MSport team and to be part of its return to the LMP2 category in the European Le Mans Series,” said Farano. “I am also extremely happy to welcome Bruno Senna to the RLR MSport family; he will undoubtedly have a huge impact on the team’s success and play a major role as a mentor to me and other drivers to follow. I can’t wait to be back on track with the gang at RLR MSport whose dedication and hard work helped bring us the 2018 ELMS LMP3 championship. I’m looking forward to another great season and sharing new experiences with everyone at RLR MSport.”

Asian Le Mans Series goes Down under !

2019/20 Asian Le Mans Series to feature a round at The Bend!

The Automobile Club de l'Ouest and the Asian Le Mans Series today announced their first trip to Australia in 2020, bringing the thrill of international endurance racing to the South Australian public at Australia's newest track: The Bend. 

Located approximately 100km from Adelaide, the capital of South Australia, The Bend is Australia’s newest permanent circuit. The Asian Le Mans Series will be the first series to use the full 7.77 km configuration. This configuration makes it the second longest permanent race track in the world, second only to the Nordschleife, Nurburgring. With tight, technical corners, fast flowing sections, and a rise and fall of 85 metres, exciting racing is guaranteed.
With a top speed of 343.4 km/h recorded in the LMP2 class in the 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans, it is safe to say the lap record at The Bend will be broken. Outside the Formula 1 cars, the LMP2 cars at the front of the Asian Le Mans Series will be the fastest to compete in Australia in 2020.

The Asian Le Mans Series is run during the Australian summer (November to February), outside the normal Australian motorsport season. This will allow teams and drivers to compete in both the domestic championships and the Asian Le Mans Series if they wish. 

South Australia had a taste of prototype racing when American Le Mans Series teams participated in the once-off Race of a Thousand Years on the Adelaide street circuit on 31st December 2000. This time, 20 years later, the event will be a part of an international Championship, and it promises to deliver thrilling racing. 

Cyrille Taesch Wahlen, Managing Director of the Asian Le Mans Series:   
“We had been considering an expansion into Australia for quite some time, but we needed to find the right opportunity. I visited the Bend last year and was blown away by the high standard of the track and the facilities. This, along with the enthusiasm being shown by the circuit management team, made it an easy decision. 
“The feedback from our teams and drivers about the possibility of a trip to Australia was also widely positive - we already have many drivers, engineers and other support crews from Australia!  Not only it is a very exciting project, it also has the potential to be a really great event and it will be a very nice addition to the Asian Le Mans Series calendar.’’
Pierre Fillon, President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest: 
“Australia has an exceptional reputation for delivering world class motorsport events, so we are really looking forward to visiting The Bend with the Asian Le Mans Series. We are used to seeing Australian drivers such as Mark Webber race in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Racing with the Asian Le Mans Series will give Australian drivers and teams the opportunity to progress to the highest level in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
"The ACO endurance racing formula, combined with what is rapidly becoming one of the top race tracks in the region, should be an exciting prospect for both professional and amateur drivers, as well as the Australian audience.”
Sam Shahin, Managing Director of The Bend Motorsport Park:
“The Asian Le Mans Series is the pinnacle of international endurance racing, and we are very excited and proud to bring the event to Australia and to continue to showcase Tailem Bend and the surrounding region to the world. The vision for The Bend Motorsport Park, is to be a world-class facility which hosts international standard events of the highest calibre. Last year with 40,000+ fans attending the inaugural Supercars event, we took a big step forward in establishing our credentials. To be hosting this event in our third year of operation is a testament to the project, and an indication that our ambition has no boundaries.” 

Saturday, 12 January 2019

Asian LMS: Doube win for United Autosports in Thailand

The Asian Le Mans Series once again delivered an action packed race up and down the grid. With tens of thousands fans in the grandstands, and in what was easily the hottest race of the season with ambient temperatures reaching 34 degrees, the battles on track were fierce!  

At the start of the race it was an Algavre Pro Racing 1-2 after a fantastic getaway from both of the team’s Bronze drivers, Ate Dirk De Jong (#24) and Christopher McMurry (#25). Phil Hanson in the Championship leading #22 United Autosports Ligier JS P2 Nissan was though able to pass them and take the lead early in the race. 

It was Hanson and his team mate Paul Di Resta that led most of the race before claiming their first Asian Le Mans Series race win, extending their Championship lead to 18 points. Whilst a perfectly timed pitstop when a full course yellow was called helped cement their position, the team ran without fault all weekend.  The #24 Algarve Pro Racing Ligier JS P2 Judd of Harrison Newey and Andrea Pizzitola came home second, followed by Matthieu Lahaye, Jean-Baptiste Lahaye, and Francois Hériau in the #35 Panis Barthez Competition Ligier JS P2 Judd. The French team picking up its first Asian Le Mans Series podium.  

Nursing home the #4 ARC Bratislava Ligier JS P2 in to 4th position was Darren Burke. Due to an engine issue, Burke slowed significantly and lost third position overall to the Panis Barthez Ligier, He was though able to hold on to finish the race. The team also picking up the LMP2 AM Trophy win taking the Class Championship lead by 9 points. 

© United Autosports

In LMP3 the battle was intense from the start. Once again it was Nigel Moore in the #65 Viper Niza Racing Ligier JS P3 that made a storming start to be up to 4thoutright on the opening lap. His run was cut short after hitting debris and having to hit for new tyres. This left Matt Bell in the #3 United Autosports Ligier JS P3 to pull away at the front of the LMP3 field. As the race went on, it became a battle between the sister United Autosports car, the polesitting Ligier JS P3 of Chris Buncombe, Garett Grist and Wayne Boyd and the #13 Inter Europol Competition Ligier JS P3 of Jakub Smiechowski and Martin Hippe.

© Inter Europol Competition

After being forced to pit for loose body work, the #13 dropped out of contention for the win, but fought hard to secure second position and retain the LMP3 Championship lead. They now lead the LMP3 class by 8 points. In third place after the #3 suffered a broken exhaust and got stuck in 4thgear was the #79 Ecurie Ecosse / Nielsen Racing Ligier JS P3 of Tony Wells and Colin Noble. 

In GT it was the #66 TianShi Racing Team Audi R8 LMS with Max Wiser that had a stunning start yet again to be comfortable leading the GT Class and running ahead of a number of the LMP3 entries early in the race. Class pole sitter, the #51 Spirit of Race Ferrari 488 GT3 dropped back to be 4th in Class in the early running.

1.5 hours into the race and there was a full course yellow after the #5 TF Sport Aston Martin V12 Vantage had a power steering and brake failure with Johnny Mowlem behind the wheel. The failure caused a scary moment for the Aston driver, but Mowlem did well to scrub off speed through the gravel trap making only light contact with the barrier. He would make it back to the pits where the team opted to retire the car.

After the first driver changes, it was GT Class Championship leader, Car Guy that continued their dominant run in the 2018/19 Season, with series newcomer and highly experienced racer, Jean Karl Vernay chasing hard in the #88 TianShi Racing Team Audi R8 LMS.

Once James Calado got in the #11 Car Guy Ferrari, he pulled away from Vernay in the #88 TianShi Racing Team Audi R8, and pole sitter, Alessandro Pier Guidi in the #51 Spirit of Race Ferrari 488 GT3. Despite a number of driving infringements that saw Calado receive multiple penalties, he pushed hard and ensured the Japanese team won their third race of the season to extend their lead in the Championship to 24 points.

Click here for the race results

Next up is the season finale, in 4 Hours of Sepang on Sunday, 24th of February.