Tuesday 20 October 2015

The ELMS celebrates its champions in Estoril

Sunday evening the ELMS honoured its 2015 champions in the impressive Centro de Congressos in Estoril.  The award ceremony, hosted by Bruno Vandestick - speaker at Le Mans - celebrated another great season in the European Le Mans Series.

Pierre Fillion, president of the ACO and Gérard Neveu, CEO of ELMS hailed the fantastic season in the Europan Le Mans Series with 5 exciting races ending in a dramatic finale at Estoril on Sunday afternoon. 2015 saw racing on a high level, with a very competitive LMP2 grid and a high quality GT grid.  Also the addition of the LMP3 class has proofed itself succesfull, and will continue to grow in the upcoming season when new manufacturers will have their cars ready.

After the reorganisation of the European Le Mans Series in 2013, the final of the 2015 season can be seen as the end of a 3 year development cycle. In those 3 years the championship has grown significantly, with a stable financial and organisational background, into a great series that's earned its mark on the racing calendar.  With the addition of prize money in 2016, the GT3 cup and the Renault series races, the ELMS has grown into a big and very attractive championship.

Trophies were awarded to these 2015 champions :

LMP2 team and drivers : Greaves Motorsport - Gary Hirsch, Jon Lancaster, Bjorn Wirdheim
LMP3 team and drivers : Team LNT - Sir Chris Hoy, Charlie Robertson

LMGTE team and drivers : Formula Racing - Johnny Laursen, Mikkel Mac, Andrea Rizzoli
LMGTC team and drivers : TDS Racing - Eric Dermont, Dino Lunardi, Franck Perrera
At the end of the evening there were three special awards. Charlie Robertson (Ginetta/Team LNT) was rewarded as Rookie of the year. As a young driver, he made a very strong and consistent impression, driving in an all new prototype. Being the teammate of multiple Olympic champion Chris Hoy, he had to cope with a lot of pressure (and eyes pointed on him), but he withstood that all resulting in an impressive and faultless season.  The award for team of the year was presented to the
TDS Racing Team; a team that's been in endurance racing for several years with the same sponsors an entourage & shows a true passion for sports and endurance.  The team is also present in different classes (LMP2 and GTC), taking the title in GTC and becoming second overall in LMP2 this year. The man of the year award was handed to Sam Hignett of Jota Sport. Hignett was praised as a man with a lot of qualities, with a real passion for racing. Hignett is z man with dreams, and he always manages to make them come true, step by step.  After another good season for Jota Sport in 2015, they face new challenges next year with an additional entry in WEC, there's no doubt they will manage those new challenges.

The ceremony closed off an exciting season of endurance racing. The 2016 season kicks off with the prologue in March at Paul Ricard.

ELMS short news

The date of the ELMS prologue has been changed to March 23th and 24th, just ahead of the WEC prologue.  Spa dates for 2016 have now been confirmed for the last weekend of september, from the 23rd to25th.

Entrance to the ELMS raceweekends will be free.  Paddock access (including access to the pitwalk & autograph session) will cost € 10 for the whole weekend. Fans will be offered a weekend full of action on and off track, headlining the European Le Mans Series 4 hour race, the 2 hour Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup, single seater action in the Formula Renault 2.0 and the Renault Sport Trophy monotype championship.

The following teams have won an automatic entry to the 2016 Le Mans 24 Hours :
LMP2 : Greaves Motorsport
LMP3 : Team LNT (entry in LMP2)
LMGTE : Formula Racing and Team Marc VDS
LMGTC : TDS Racing (entry in GTE).

LMP3 champions, Sir Chris Hoy and Charlie Robertson will take part in a Nissan LMP2 test session by the end of the year.  Date and track still to be confirmed.