Thursday 2 February 2017

36 cars in the 2017 European Le Mans Series

36 cars have been announced today for the 2017 European Le Mans Series championship. With 13 cars in LMP2, 16 in LMP3 and 7 in LMGTE, a very strong and varied grid will take the start of the season in Silverstone. 

LMP2 begins a new era in 2017 with new technical regulations and 4 new cars, all powered by a Gibson engine.  The 2017 ELMS grid will feature three of these manufacturers with four Dallara P217s, five Ligier JSP217 and four Oreca07s.

G-Drive Racing returns to the European Le Mans Series to defend their 2016 title, with Memo Rojas named as their lead driver. Other teams running the Oreca chassis will be 2016 race winners Dragonspeed and LMP3 Vice Champions Graff moving up to LMP2 with two cars.

2016 LMP3 Champions United Autosports will be running a Ligier JSP217 in the LMP2 class in which they will also compete at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.  Panis Barthez Competition returns to the ELMS with Fabien Barthez back for his second season of prototype  racing in the new Ligier. 2 other teams returning to the ELMS are Algarve Pro Racing and IDEC Sport Racing with the new Ligier. Tockwith Motorsports is the final team running a Ligier, they step up from the LMP3 class after an impressive run at the final races of the season and clinching the Asian Le Mans Series title in LMP3 last month. 

4 teams will run a Dallara chassis. SMP Racing is the first team running the Italian made prototype with Mikhail Aleshin being named as the lead driver in the #27 car.  Italian team Cetilar Villorba Corse move up from LMP3 to LMP2 for the 2017 season with Dallara, while Jan Lammers returns with Racing Team Nederland and a new Danish team, High Class Racing, completes the LMP2 grid. 

16 cars will feature on the full season LMP3 grid this season. Fourteen teams will run the title winning Ligier JS P3-Nissan. M-Racing-YMR are entering two cars, one being the new Norma M30 chassis, as is Italian Oregon Team with a Norma M30.

United Autosports will run a two car effort to defend their 2016 title with Mark Patterson leading the driver line-up. Duqueine Engineering will also return with two Ligier JS P3s after a successful first season. Other teams returning to the European Le Mans Series are BySpeed Factory (Spain), 360 Racing (UK), Eurointernational (USA), Inter Europol Competition (Poland), RLR Msport (UK), Panis Barthez Competition (France) and Ultimate (France).

A new team in the LMP3 class is Austrian AT Racing , moving up from the GTE class with a Ligier for Alexander Talkanitsa.

3 constructors will battle each other in the LM GTE class: Porsche, Ferrari and Aston Martin. 7 cars will be on the LM GTE grid this year. Three Ferrari's, two Porsches and two Aston Martins will be fighting for class honours this season.  Reigning champions Beechdean AMR also return to defend their title with Andrew Howard being named as the lead driver in the #99 Aston Martin Vantage.  Last years runner up JMW Motorsport will also be back again in their Ferrari F458 Italia with Rob Smith named as lead driver.

Two new Ferrari F488 GTEs will be on the ELMS grid in 2017 with Italian team Spirit of Race running the cars for Gianluca Roda in the #51 Ferrari and Duncan Cameron in the #55.  Proton Competition will run two Porsche 911 RSRs with Christian Ried in the #77 car and Wolf Henzler in the #88 car.

The 2016 Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup Champions TF Sport will step up to the European Le Mans Series and enter the second Aston Martin V8 Vantage with Salih Yoluc as lead driver.

Pierre Fillon, President of the ACO: “As the leading continental series for endurance racing, it is very pleasing to see such a strong grid for the 2017 European Le Mans Series.  The ELMS represents an important step in the ladder of endurance racing and it continues to attract top teams and top drivers from around the world to compete on six of the best circuits in Europe, with a return to Monza and Portimão this year. We are looking forward to the 2017 season.”

Gérard Neveu, CEO of the European Le Mans Series: “2017 marks the fifth season since the relaunch of the ELMS and the series continues to provide the best platform for endurance racing anywhere in the world.  The six race calendar provides a great mix of top class circuits across Europe to challenge the teams and drivers and provide some great action packed racing for the fans, both at the track and watching around the world on TV or via the live streaming.  We have a great mix of teams and manufacturers in the new LMP2 class with Dallara, Ligier and Oreca.  We have Aston Martin, Ferrari and Porsche in LMGTE and with 16 cars, the LMP3 class will provide some great drama in 2017.  This season has the potential to be the best yet in the long history of the European Le Mans Series.”

Download the provisional entry list here

Kristof Vermeulen.