Thursday 31 January 2019

ELMS: Villorba Corse's return to the LMP3 class with ACE1

Villorba Corse doubles its endurance plans in the world of prototype competitions and unveils a new racing program for the 2019 season. After landing in the FIA World Endurance Championship alongside the Cetilar Racing project on the LMP2 Dallara, the Italian team led by Raimondo Amadio launches a new long-term project called ACE1 Villorba Corse. This program is the result of a new partnership with the ACE1 team founded by Yuki Harata and it will start from the LMP3 class of the 2019 European Le Mans Series.

Harata, a 25-year-old driver from Japan and former skier with good results in downhill and Super G international events, will be racing on a Nissan powered Ligier JS P3 prototype alongside his coach driver Alessandro Bressan.  Bressan is a 32-year-old driver from Italy who made his way up in karting and then built his racing career as a driver and instructor in the United States, where the two started to compete together. They took part in the Pirelli World Challenge for two seasons winning the 2017 GT Cup SprintX Pro / Am title on Lamborghini Huracan. The third driver to complete the ACE1 Villorba Corse crew will be announced soon.

Amadio, Team Principal, says: “The whole team is very motivated for this new adventure. ACE1 Villorba Corse program was born to be a further and well established project that will make our structure even more stronger in the world of ACO / Le Mans and great endurance racing. It will be a pleasure to work with Yuki and Alessandro, I believe that together we will still write exciting pages of sporting history”.

Harata adds: “I am so happy about this new adventure in Europe. For me, it’s an entirely new experience as in the past two years I’ve been racing in the United States and with GT Cars. Everything will be new, from the circuits to the car. I’m glad to be making this big step in my career with a team with so much experience as Villorba Corse. I will definitely learn a lot. It’s great to continue to climb the ladder of racing and getting in the prototype scene, I can’t wait to get started!”.

Bressan ends: “Entering in such an important championship as the ELMS in the LMP3 class is a great opportunity, and I’m eager to learn as much as I can from this new experience. This project is essential in growing in the world of endurance racing, entering from the main door. I’m thrilled to be joining Villorba Corse, a team with a prestigious history and a lot of experience. It makes me proud that such an important reality has its base in my native land with its factory very close to my hometown. I will definitely feel at home!”.

Wednesday 30 January 2019

ELMS: Algarve Pro Racing fields second Oreca 07

Algarve Pro Racing will field a second ORECA 07 LMP2 in the 2019 European Le Mans Series for swift Swede Henning Enqvist, American young gun James French and South Korea’s Tacksung Kim.

24-year old Swedish driver Enqvist enters his first full season in LMP2 after some impressive testing performances, and with the view of laying the groundwork for a three-year programme that he hopes will take him to the top step of the winners’ rostrum in the world-famous 24 Hours of Le Mans.

“I feel really excited to be starting my first full season in LMP2, because I’m entering a critical stage of my career that will determine whether or not I achieve my ultimate ambition,” said Enqvist. “I got well-acquainted with the LMP2 car in a test with Algarve Pro Racing at Portimao and I hope to progress in leaps and bounds throughout the season to give me hope of winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the next three years. It’s an ambitious plan for an LMP2 rookie, but you must set big targets and put yourself in deep water. I’ve always worked extremely hard to achieve my goals and will continue doing whatever it takes to achieve this goal. We will see where we stand in pre-season testing, but we have a line-up that is capable of doing very well.”

James French is a new face in the ELMS paddock for the upcoming season.  The 26-year old American from Sheboygan, Wisconsin has a full season in the IMSA Prototype Challenge under his belt in 2015, finishing sixth in the championship. In 2016, he scored six podiums in 11 United SportsCar Championship races to finish third in the Prototype Challenge Teams’ Championship.  In 2017 he dominated the LMPC class by winning seven of eight races, including the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona.

“I’m incredibly thankful for this opportunity and I’m very excited  about the prospect of experiencing new tracks with a car that I’m pretty familiar with,” said French. “I’m looking forward to working with my new teammates, as I think we have a strong line-up capable of achieving some good results. We will have a better idea of where we are after the first test. Firstly, we must make sure we finish all races with no big mistakes, contact or penalties, and then hopefully fight for top fives or even podiums at end of the season.

“I have to use this year to learn as much as possible and continue growing as a driver. I have no experience of any of the ELMS circuits, but I’ve been dreaming of going to places like Silverstone and Spa since I was a kid and my ultimate career goal to this point has been to get to Le Mans. One of the main draws of the ELMS was its competitiveness. It boasts a strong field of high-profile names, including GP2 drivers and ex-F1 stars and that should make for some really good racing. If it wasn’t tough and competitive, it wouldn’t be any fun.”

Tacksung Kim is no stranger to Algarve Pro Racing, as the 41-year old gentleman racer from Seoul, South Korea first joined the team for the 2016-17 Asian Le Mans Series and most recently reunited with them last year for a full-season campaign in the ELMS and 24 Hours of Le Mans.

“This is my third year with Algarve Pro Racing and I’m delighted to be joining forces again. I feel we’ve grown and expanded together. The team provided me with systematic and customised programmes in a professional environment, as well as challenging opportunities and warm encouragements, but it was most instrumental when I transitioned from the Asian Le Mans Series to the ELMS, ensuring that I was prepared and equipped to adapt quickly and enjoy each race.
I’m really excited to be racing alongside two very fast young drivers. I always aim high and, with such competitive teammates, I will do everything to achieve top-five results. Having said that, I will just enjoy the season and focus on doing the best I can.”

ELMS: Mike Guash and Christian England back at United Autosports in LMP3

United Autosports announced that Mike Guasch and Christian England will return to the team for the 2019 European Le Mans Series. The 2016 ELMS LMP3 Champions will be back at the team for their second shot at the LMP3 title. Mike and Christian were partnered with Alex Brundle when United Autosports made their ELMS debut in 2016, winning the first three races of the season and scoring a podium at five of the six rounds giving them the championship win with one round remaining. 

© United Autosports

American racer, Mike Guasch has spent two years away from racing in Europe, while Christian spent a second year in the ELMS in 2017, before moving to the Michelin Le Mans Cup in 2018. Christian also raced in the second round of the Asian Le Mans Series in Japan in December, filling in for Jim McGuire, where the team scored their first LMP3 win of the championship. 

Mike and Christian’s return coincides with the world-wide launch of the movie “The Gentleman Driver” featuring Mike and three other gentleman drivers and their journey through the ELMS, World Endurance Championship and the Le Mans 24 Hours. Mike’s story specifically focuses on his ELMS Championship winning year with United Autosports. “The Gentleman Driver” is available worldwide from tomorrow on digital download here:

Mike Guasch, driver, United Autosports:
“I’m very excited to come back to United Autosports. Since I left at the end of 2016 I have raced in LMP2 at Daytona and Sebring but then for one reason or another it didn’t work out so I moved on and focussed on my business. In 2018 I kept up with racing by doing a lot of karting, just to stay in shape and sharpen my skills and to prepare for 2019. I have wanted to come back to United for a while and the perfect deal came about and Richard and I were able to make it happen, so I’m very excited. I’ve stayed in contact with Christian over the last two years and we have been saying we would do something together again in the future so I was really pleased to be able to call him and tell him we were going racing again with United. Let’s go win some races.”

Christian England, driver, United Autosports:
“To say I’m excited would be a complete understatement. After calling in the workshop for what was just supposed to be a coffee and a catch up back at the beginning of 2016, here I am. Four ELMS wins, one Asian Le Mans Series win, two LMP3 Cup wins, numerous podiums and of course one ELMS championship later, I can’t quite believe we are about to start our fourth season together. It's been special to be part of the United family over these last few seasons but this year definitely feels like the best yet. I can’t wait to get started working with Mike again. We had such a great friendship back in 2016 and of course winning the championship in our debut season was something very special. The competition is extremely strong in ELMS but one thing I do know is that our motivation is very high. We the drivers and United as a team are relentless and undeterred in our will to win. I personally feel like I’ve waited a lifetime to be back in this position again so a massive thanks to Richard, Zak and all involved for the continued support and for believing I’m worthy of a seat.” 

Richard Dean, Team Owner and Managing Director, United Autosports:
“I’ve kept in touch with Mike since he last raced for us and always hoped he would return, so I’m thrilled we have managed to pull this deal together for him to race with Christian once again. The ELMS grid has changed a lot since we won our first championship in 2016, the competition is so strong, but I think we have a good shot of being in the hunt from the off. Getting the LMP3 Championship back is definitely our aim.”

Tuesday 29 January 2019

FIA WEC: New entry list for Sebring, Corvette returns to GTE Pro.

A new and updated entry list for the inaugural 1000 miles of Sebring has been released by the FIA WEC this morning.  The highly anticipated return of the World Endurance Championship to the mythical track in Florida now has 35 cars on its entry list & some new & returning drivers to the paddock.  Probably the most exciting news is the addition of the Corvette C7.R in the GTE Pro class.

© 2018 Joao Filipe/


Nathanaël Berthon has already been announced by Rebellion for the remainder of the Super season, he will replace Mathias Beche in the #3 Gibson powered Rebellion R13.  

A few changes are to be noted at SMP Racing too.  Jenson Button won't race in Sebring and at Spa, Sebring clashing with other racing commitments in Japan.  His place in the #11 BR1 is still vacant at this moment.  In the #17 sister car, Matevos Isaakyan will be replaced by Sergey Sirotkin.  The Russion former F1 driver is set for his second appearance in the FIA WEC after Le Mans 2017.  

ByKolles hasn't named any of their drivers for Sebring, but it's expected that Oliver Webb and Tom Dillman will return behind the wheel of the #4 Enso CLMP1/01. 


LMP2 sees a complete new driver line-up in the #37 Jackie Chan DC Racing which has been announced this morning.  David Heinemeier Hansson and Will Stevens return to the LMP2 class in the FIA WEC and will be joined by endurance rookie Jordan King.

Jean Baptiste Simmenauer replaces Enzo Guibbert in the #50 Larbre Competition Ligier. Simmenauer is a 19 year old French driver, who has been racing in the German and French Porsche Carrera cup last year


The biggest news in GTE is the addition of Corvette to the Pro class. After racing in the 6 hours of  Shanghai last year, Corvette enters a single C7.R driven by Jan Magnussen, Antonio Garcia and Mike Rockenfeller in Sebring.

Other additions in the GTE Pro class are BMW's third drivers for the 1000 mile race. Alexander Sims will join Martin Tomczyk and Nick Catsburg in the #81 M8 GTE; Bruno Spengler will be in the #82 next to Augusto Farfus and Antonio Felix da Costa.

Darren Turner has been confirmed as the third driver for the #95 Aston Martin Vantage of Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorensen.  No word yet on an extra driver for the #97 of Alex Lynn and Maxime Martin. Ford hasn't listed any third drivers yet for both GT's.  Daniel Serra (#51) and Miguel Molina (#71) will join AF Corse in Florida.


There's still a few seats to be filled in the GTE Am class.  Matt Griffin gets 2 new co-drivers in the #61 Clearwater Racing Ferrari after Weng Sun Mok's retirement from racing at the end of the 6 Hours of Shanghai.  Griffin will be joined by Argentinian Luis Perez Companc and Italian Matteo Cressoni.  Dempsey Proton Racing still has 3 open seats to fill in. Julian Andlauer and Matt Campbell have been confirmed in the #77 Porsche 911 RSR, while Matteo Cairoli is the only driver in the #88 so far. 

Download the updated entry list here.

FIA WEC: New driver line-up for Jackie Chan DC Racing N°37 Oreca

Jackie Chan DC Racing announced a completely new driver line-up for their #37 Oreca 07 in the FIA World Endurance Championship.  A surprising announcement since the all Malaysian line-up with Nabil Jeffrey, Jazeman Jafaar and Weiron Tan won the 6 Hours of Fuji are currently third in the championship. 

© JellyBaby.Media

According to Jota's press release, "regrettable circumstances beyond the control of any of the drivers" brought and end to their succesful efforts.  The loss of financial backing by the Sepang Circuit is believed to be the reason behind the fallout of the three talented Malaysian drivers. 

As from Sebring, the #37 "Fortune Cat" will be driven by David Heinemeier Hansson, Jordan King and Will Stevens.  For Heinemeier Hansson this is a return to the FIA WEC after winning the GTE Am championship in 2014 with Aston Martin Racing and racing with Rebellion in LMP2 in 2017.    

Jordan King is a 24 year old English driver with a lot of single seater experience. He won the 2013 British F3 title and has since then raced in GP2 from 2015 to 2017 & Indycar (2018).  He was test and development driver for Manor F1 in 2015 and 2016, driving in 2 Friday practice sessions in 2016.  The 1000 miles of Sebring will be his debut in prototype and endurance racing.  

Will Stevens has become a familiar face in the FIA WEC and ELMS paddock in the past years, including a class win in GTE Am at Le Mans in 2017.  In the European Le Mans Series, Stevens goes into his second season with Panis-Barthez Competition in the LMP2 class.  If that team gets an invite for Le Mans, DC Racing will have to find a replacement driver for the 24 Hours. 

David Clark, director of Jackie Chan DC Racing x Jota Sport said “The changes which we are announcing today have been forced upon the team by commercial and business complexities outside of its direct control. We were left in a position where these changes had to be implemented and whilst this was a difficult process, it is in the best interests of the team".

“I would like to go on record in thanking Jazeman, Nabil and Weiron for their professionalism and dedication to the project over the five races that they were with the team. They proved to be a race-winning force and we wish them nothing but the very best for their futures in racing."

Monday 28 January 2019

ELMS: Job Van Uitert joins G-Drive in the ELMS and at Le Mans

Job van Uitert has seized one of the most coveted seats in endurance racing for the coming season as the reigning European Le Mans Series LMP3 champion has signed for G-drive Racing. Van Uitert joins Jean-Eric Vergne and Roman Rusinov for both the European Le Mans Series and the 24 hours of Le Mans, meaning that a long-held dream will come true for the 20-year-old Dutchman.

© JellyBaby.Media

Van Uitert made his sportscar debut in 2018 and proved impressive as he powered his way to the European Le Mans Series LMP3 crown as well as the series’ Rookie of the Year award. Those  successes opened the door for a test with reigning LMP2 champions G-Drive Racing. That open audition was successful and had led to Van Uitert joining former Formula 1 driver Jean-Eric Vergne and team owner Roman Rusinov in the black-and-orange G-Drive Racing Oreca.

“This is a dream come true, that much is clear”, says Van Uitert after signing with the team. “G-Drive has won the European Le Mans Series three times now as well as taking the FIA WEC crown once. On top of that they are the benchmark at Le Mans so this is without doubt the best place for me to continue my career, a place where I will race for victories.” Van Uitert knows that, because of this, all eyes will be trained on the #26 Oreca 07. “With Jean-Eric and Roman, the team has a super-solid basis and I will do everything I can to add to that and be successful.”

Team owner and lead driver Roman Rusinov is delighted with the signing of his new teammate: “Job has already impressed us with his speed and approach to work during the tests. I am sure he will surprise many this year, and our line-up for 2019 will feature be an excellent combination of both experience and youth in our drivers..”

Van Uitert will race with G-Drive in all six races of the European Le Mans Series, the FIA WEC 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. An event much bigger than just a race, knows Van Uitert. “Le Mans is the biggest race in the world and besides our hunt for a fourth ELMS-title for the team, Le Mans is firmly in our cross-hairs. That I can make my debut in this race, with this team, in a such a competitive car is, as said, a dream come true.”

Friday 25 January 2019

FIA WEC: Cetilar Racing enters 2019/2020 season with Dallara in LMP2

Cetilar Racing announced their plans to enter the 2019/2020 World Endurance championship in the LMP2 class.  An new name and an exciting challenge for the team which was known as Cetilar Villorba Corse. 

After competing in the European Le Mans Series for 4 years, with an LMP3 in 2015 and 2016 and the Dallara P217 in the LMP2 class in the past 2 years, the Italian team now steps up to the FIA World Endurance championship in 2019/2020.  

Racing in the WEC is the next “natural” step for Cetilar Racing, which retains its “Italian Spirit of Le Mans”. A full Italian driving crew formed by Roberto Lacorte, Giorgio Sernagiotto and Andrea Belicchi.  Belicchi returns to the team in 2019 after recovering from back problems which kept him from racing in the second part of the 2018 season.  An all-Italian team with 3 Italian drivers, supported by an Italian manufacturer (Dallara) and a highy experienced team structure who haven been by the team for several years now. 

Villorba Corse will start its new adventure at the 4 Hours of Silverstone during the first weekend of September at the first round of the 2019/2020 FIA World Endurance Championship.  Pre season tests are scheduled at Le Castellet, Barcelona and Monza.  The team will apply for a “wild card entry” in the European Le Mans Series at Monza in May.  An application has also been entered for the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June.

The entry of Cetilar Racing the second new team in LMP2 for the FIA WEC, after United Autosports confirmed they will race with a Ligier JSP2 next season.

"We are ready for a new challenge and adventure” said Roberto Lacorte, driver of Cetilar Racing. It's an 18 month adventure both intense and very challenging, divided into two steps: the first will end at the 24 Hours of Le Mans this year – if we get an invite from the ACO that is. Before that we will race in the ELMS 4 Hours of Monza.  A race we can't miss out because it's the best opportunity to get in touch with our numerous fans. From September we'll head into the WEC, an exceptional challenge for our team. We're very excited for this new challenge and the desire to do well is high. We are also very happy to be able to race again with Andrea Belicchi, who has perfectly recovered from last year's back injury. His presence and his experience are really important for us, both from a technical and human point of view ".

Gerard Neveu, CEO of the WEC, said “We are very pleased to welcome Cetilar Racing to the WEC, and their planned entry to the 2019-2020 season is the perfect demonstration of how a well-established team can move through the formulas to the world stage.  Their presence will reinforce our LMP2 grid for next season, and we congratulate everyone involved for making the move to the WEC.  Welcome Cetilar Racing!”

Kristof Vermeulen
Picture: Jellybaby.Media

Historics: A few good reasons to visit the Porsche Museum in 2019

The Porsche Museum looks ahead to its 2019 activities “50 Years of the 917”, “50 Years of the 914” and “10 Years of the Panamera” 

© Porsche

Three jubilees, one big birthday and a dynamic “Heritage Experience” – 2019 promises several high points for the Porsche Museum in 2019. With a commitment to making company history tangible, there will be four-wheeled brand ambassadors not only exhibited at Porscheplatz in Stuttgart Zuffenhausen, but also being deployed at numerous events worldwide again this year. 

50 Years of the 917 

© Porsche

It’s a jubilee celebration for one of Zuffenhausen’s most powerful model series: the Porsche 917, one of the best-known race cars of all time, was presented to the public for the first time in 1969 at the Geneva Motor Show. Just one year later, Porsche brought home the first of a total of 19 gold medals at the Le Mans 24-hour race. The Porsche Museum will have ten 917 models on display from 14 May to 15 September, in one of its biggest-ever special exhibitions: “Colours of Speed – 50 Years of the 917”. The exhibition will give visitors the chance to see up-close a decisive milestone in Porsche’s proud racing history, as the first Porsche 917 ever built – with chassis number 001 – will be on show. The museum workshop team has been working for years to restore it to its original condition as at its 1969 world premiere. 

50 Years of the 914 

© Porsche
In the autumn of 1969, the 914 was presented at the International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt as Germany’s first mid-engined series sports car. There were two variants: the 914 model with four-cylinder engine, as VW Porsche, and the 914/6 with six-cylinder boxer, as Porsche. Fifty years later, the Porsche Museum is dedicating a special exhibition to this series. You can visit “50 Years of the 914 – typically Porsche” from 2 June to 7 July. What’s more, on Sunday 2 June, 914 owners’ clubs have been invited by the museum to a get-together on the courtyard, with over 120 privately owned 914 models. 

10 Years of the Panamera

© Porsche

Ten years ago, the sports car manufacturer entered an entirely new market sector with the Panamera, the first four-door Porsche saloon. Presented to the public for the first time in 2009 in Shanghai, the Panamera made use of numerous technical innovations that had never before been available in a luxury series model. The Porsche Museum is working together with the Porsche factory in Leipzig, which is responsible for the entire production process including body production and paint shop, to commemorate the “10 Years of Panamera” jubilee, with a special exhibition amongst other things. Eight exhibits will be on show at the Customer Centre this spring, from the first prototypes to the current model. 

The Porsche Museum at Goodwood 

© Porsche

Another date in the Porsche Museum diary is the “Festival of Speed” at Goodwood in England, which takes place this year from 4 to 7 July. At the world’s biggest motor sports meeting, Zuffenhausen’s lightest race car will take on the famous “Hillclimb” after a 51-year break: With its thin plastic skin, aluminium frame, beryllium brake discs and spherical tank, the 1968-built 909 Bergspyder weighs in at just 384 kilogrammes. Porsche entered the race car category of the European Hillclimb Championship with the 909 Bergspyder in 1968. Competing in just two races, it came in second and third. 

Among other things, extensive reading material relating to the two 50-year jubilees, of the Porsche 917 and 914, will be available for purchase in the bookshop and museum shop throughout the year. All further information and all the dates can be found online at 

Thursday 24 January 2019

ELMS: Algarve Pro Racing signs Pizzitola, Patterson & Falb in LMP2.

Andrea Pizzitola, Mark Patterson and John Falb are set to front Algarve Pro Racing’s assault on the 2019 European Le Mans Series (ELMS).  Pizzitola will enter the 2019 ELMS as reigning LMP2 Champion but hopes he will also kick-off the new European motorsport season as an Asian Le Mans Series title-winner.

In 2016, the French Pro racer from Montpellier made his ELMS and 24 Hours of Le Mans debut and notably contested the 2016-17 Asian Le Mans Series with Algarve Pro Racing. He returned to the fold for a stab at the outright 2018-19 title, which will be decided in the forthcoming season finale at Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia (22-24 February), and will remain with the Albufeira-based team to defend his European crown.

“I’m really happy to be extending my association with Algarve Pro Racing,” said Pizzitola. “It’s the team that gave me my first chance in LMP2, so for me it’s more than a team, it’s part of the story of my career and a family. I’m also excited to be racing again in the European Le Mans Series with Mark (Patterson) and John (Falb). It’s going to be an awesome challenge and I think we can figure highly throughout.

© Algarve Pro Racing

“In the ORECA 07 we have a good chance to be out front in qualifying and we can always aim for the podium. The level is high in the ELMS and that will make achieving results even more satisfying. We will do all we can to feature at the top. Last year I had a great season, winning the title. I’m not going into 2019 with the specific aim of defending my crown, as I just want to race. I took the same approach last year and thoughts about the championship always come later.”

Patterson has once again extended his long-standing association with Algarve Pro Racing, which hails back to the 2016-17 Asian Le Mans Series, when he was a regular visitor to the winners’ rostrum.

Since then, the 67-year old Bronze driver from the USA has raced a full season in the ELMS and two 24 Hours of Le Mans’ with Algarve Pro, although he is also currently bidding for the 2018-19 Asian Le Mans LMP2 Amateur Trophy and a coveted invitation to the 2019 edition of the Le Mans 24 Hours with the Portuguese team.

Patterson, whose motor racing résumé encompasses six Le Mans, nine Daytona 24 Hours and two Petit Le Mans starts, said: “I really want to do well and finish regularly inside the top half of the LMP2 field in 2019. With a guy like Andrea (Pizzitola) who has immense skill and rarely makes mistakes and somebody like John (Falb), who is a former Champion and a very fast, diligent driver, we should be very competitive.

“John steps up from LMP3 to LMP2 and with a good test programme he will be a super-quick and reliable Bronze. In fact, we’re both strong, reliable Am drivers capable of withstanding any other Bronze competitor, and this will only be helped by the fact that we will be driving an ORECA 07, which is said to be the most obedient and stable of the current crop of LMP2 cars. It seems easier to find the golden thread on each and every track with the ORECA and I couldn’t be happier to be jumping into this experiment with Algarve Pro Racing.”

Sharing the #25 Algarve Pro Racing ORECA 07 with Pizzitola and Patterson will be 47-year old American John Falb. Falb has been racing in the European Le Mans Series for three seasons in the LMP3 class with United Autosports. 

In those three seasons Falb scored seven podium finishes and an additional podium at each of the five showings of the Michelin Le Mans Cup’s blue riband ‘Road to Le Mans’ race. In 2017 Falb won the ELMS LMP3 title. In 2019, Falb will continue traversing the Atlantic for each and every round of the European Le Mans Series, except he will now line up for Algarve Pro Racing as part of the ELMS’s headlining and ultra-competitive LMP2 field.

“I feel really good and I’m ready to go,” said Falb. “I’ve been methodically stepping up the prototypes ladder over the years and after three seasons on the ELMS LMP3 grid, it’s definitely time to graduate to LMP2.

“Having already tested a P2 car, I’m really excited about this new challenge. LMP2 is a very competitive class and there aren’t many teams with Bronze drivers in their line-ups, so I must keep reasonable expectations and simply concentrate on doing my best. I would certainly like to pop some Champagne on the podium more than once, but the results will be what they are and this is an opportunity to work and improve with a solid team.”

ELMS: RLR MSport defends LMP3 title with new driver line-up

After confirming Bruno Senna and John Farano in the LMP2 class last week, RLR MSport today announced their drivers who will defend the team's Euopean Le Mans Seriers LMP3 title in LMP3. Danish young guns Christian Olsen and Martin Vedel will join British gentleman racer Martin Rich in the Nissan powered Ligier JSP3.

Martin Rich, aged 45 from London, last raced LMP3 machinery to podium success during a one-off outing with RLR MSport in the 2017 Michelin Le Mans Cup. His Le Mans Series debut came in 2009, although that has been followed by several appearances in a wide array of high-profile sportscar racing categories, including the 24H Series, Blancpain Endurance Series, and the now defunct Intercontinental Le Mans Cup, as well as two outings in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. His 2018 programme included the Le Mans Classic and two class wins in the Masters Endurance Legends with an LMP2 race car, but the gentleman racer has been anxious to return to modern-day machinery and is anticipating a successful season with defending LMP3 Champion, RLR MSport.

“Our aim is quite simple – bring the LMP3 title back to RLR MSport for the second year in a row,” said Rich. “The championship will be won by being consistent over the course of the year, but at the same time we won’t win it unless we’re contending for a podium at each round. I absolutely believe we have the ability to compete successfully; the team knows how to win at this level, Martin (Vedel) and Christian (Olsen) are extremely quick and I can play my part, so it’s game on! My job is quite simply to be one of the quickest Bronze drivers in the field, while remaining extremely consistent and staying out of trouble. 

Much like Rich, Olsen has a strong track record in historic racing; the Dane’s roots are in historic Formula 3 and he was an unknown quantity when, in 2018, he embarked on his maiden sportscar racing campaign in the ACO-sanctioned ELMS.  His maiden campaign in entry-level LMP3 prototypes yielded three podiums and a highly respectable fourth-place finish in the final championship classification, therefore he feels he can only shoot for top honours with the Champion RLR MSport team in 2019.

“I am already very familiar with RLR MSport, as I had my first LMP3 experience in a test with the team over a year ago and I’m really looking forward to getting to know them better and see how they work,” said Olsen. “For me, as much experience as I can get at this stage, the better. RLR MSport has clearly shown its discipline and capability at this level and that, coupled with the driver line-up, should be a formula for a successful season where we will be gunning for a win at every round.

Olsen’s new teammate and fellow countryman Vedel cut his teeth during a ten-year karting career, before making a seamless transition to car racing in 2012, when he won four championships in his native Denmark, as well as two additional Nordic categories. Last year Vedel raced in Lamborghini Huracan GT3. His eye-catching performances during tests at a rain-lashed Autodromo Internacional do Algarve in Portugal and a wintry Donington Park, where he was merely half a second off the LMP3 lap record in sub-optimal temperatures,  convinced the team to sign the young Dane for its ELMS title defence.

“I have high expectations for the 2019 season when I will make my European Le Mans Series debut, as my ultimate goal is to show what I can do by winning races and the championship title, repeating what RLR MSport achieved last year,” said Vedel. “I’m spending a lot of time in the simulator and all signs from winter testing have been positive, so I’m confident I will be ready and capable of fighting at the top from the very beginning of the season in Le Castellet.

FIA WEC: Nathanaël Berthon joins Rebellion Racing in 2019

Nathanaël Berthon will start a new adventure at the 1000 Miles of Sebring next March with Team REBELLION Racing. He will participate in the last three rounds of the FIA ​​WEC Super Season 2018-2019 but also in the entire Super Season 2019-2020.

Nathanaël Berthon has evolved into single-seater racing competition and eventually entered the GP2 category. He has since completed tests in Formula 1 and has raced three times in Formula E. Since 2014, Nathanaël Berthon has also been evolving in endurance: with Lotus in LMP1 and in international teams such as Panis Barthez Competition in LMP2 category. He did the best chrono of the LMP2 category in free practice and the best lap race of the category at the 24 Hours of Le Mans 2018 with Team Dragonspeed. After spending 2018 mainly focused on WTCR, he returns in 2019 to endurance prototypes by joining Team REBELLION Racing.

At this moment it's not exactly clear how the addition of Berthon will change the crew of the #3 Rebellion R13. 

Calim Bouhadra, vice-president of REBELLION
“We are delighted to welcome Nathanaël Berthon to the REBELLION Racing family. I would like to thank Olivier Panis who allowed us to be in touch with Nathanaël and to obtain his services. Personally, that's exactly what I love about endurance: that spirit of fellowship and fraternity. Olivier knows Nathanael very well, knows his value, and that has convinced us that he is the right driver for us to be even stronger against tough opponents like Toyota. I am sure he will be successful with us.”

Nathanaël Berthon, N.3 driver
“I am very happy that REBELLION's LMP1 team trusts me. The idea of participating in the World Endurance Championship and the 24 Hours of Le Mans twice, in 2019 and in 2020, with a team and a car playing to win, is a great source of motivation for me! REBELLION’s ambitions are big, and to be a part of this project makes me feel proud and also brings strong responsibility. I want to thank everyone who made this possible. I can’t wait to be in Sebring to get to know the team, the proto R13 and work alongside my future teammates!”

Olivier Panis, Director of Triple A Motorsport, Management of Nathanaël Berthon
“I have excellent relations with the REBELLION Racing team and I’m aware of the talent of Nathanaël, I thought it would be interesting for the two parties to work together. Nathanaël is a very fast driver, author of very impressive chronos at Le Mans last year. I can easily talk about it because he signed the first pole position of Panis-Barthez Competition in ELMS. In LMP2, he has always been one of the top drivers, so seeing him driving a LMP1 car and fighting with Toyota is really exciting.”

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. 

Thursday 10 January 2019

Asian LMS: Round 3 at Buriram (Thailand) this weekend

After two thrilling races, and with all Championship Class battles incredibly tight, the Series makes the trip to the Chang International Circuit in Buriram this weekend. One of the most popular and well attended races of the 2017/18 Asian Le Mans Series, the race in Thailand is set to be just as popular this year!

The round will again be held on Children’s Day in Thailand, with the race forming an important part of the celebrations occurring in Buriram. The circuit will be open to everyone as a part of the celebrations, with children under 15 getting access to the grandstand for free if they are accompanied by a parent or guardian.  Children’s Day has been celebrated in Thailand on the second Saturday of January every year since 1955 and is designed to celebrate the role children play in the development of the Country. It is a day for family fun and adventure – and the Asian Le Mans Series offers them exactly that! 

Fresh from taking the win in Round 2, the #24 Algarve Pro Racing Ligier JS P2 Judd driven by Harrison Newey and Andrea Pizzitola, are aiming to close the gap to the Championship leaders. Last round in Japan, the battle between the #24 and the current leaders, Phil Hanson and Paul di Resta in the #22 Ligier JS P2 Nissan was incredibly close and the battle is expected to pick up where it was left off. Unfortunately, due to family commitments the #8 Spirit of Race entry will not be on the grid in Buriram, however they will be back for the final round in Sepang.

LMP2 Am Trophy 
Miro Konopka, Kang Ling and Darren Burke in the ARC Bratislava #4 Ligier JS P2 Nissan not only won the LMP2 Am Trophy class in the 4 Hours of Fuji, they also claimed an outright podium position. This saw them close the gap to Class leaders in the #23 United Autosports Ligier JS P2 Nissan, Guy Cosmo, Patrick Byrne and Salih Yoluc. With just two points between them, the battle is set to be intense in Buriram! 

With the biggest lead of all the Class Championships, Jakub Smiechowshi and Martin Hippe in the #13 Inter Europol Competition Ligier JS P3 have an 11-point lead in the LMP3 class. Behind them are 4 Hours of Fuji Class winners, Matthew Bell, Kay van Berlo and Christian England in the #3 United Autosports, Ligier JS P3 Nissan. Just 5 points behind them is the sister United Autosports #2 Ligier JS P3 Nissan, driven by Chris Buncombe, Garett Grist and Wayne Boyd.

As the only entry to have two race wins in the 2018/19 Season, Japanese team Car Guy with their Ferrari 488 GT3 are aiming to make it three from three in Thailand. Drivers Takeshi Kimura, Kei Cozzolino and James Calado will not have it all their own way, with the Spirit of Race Ferrari 488 GT3 being driven by Alessadro Pier Guidi, Ozzy Negri Jr and Francesco Piovanetti will be aiming to cut their lead. 

Both of the TRST Audi R8 LMS’ will have slight changes to their driver line ups. In the #66 GT Am entry will be Lo Kai Fung, Max Wiser and Zhang Ya Qi. In the #88 will be Alex Au, Chen Wei An and new driver Jean Karl Vernay. The 2017 TCR International Champion was also the highest finishing Audi Sport driver in last season’s WTCR.   

The entry list is available here: 4 Hours of Buriram entry list

Friday, 11 January 2019
08:40 - 10:10 Free Practice 1
12:40 - 14:00 Free Practice 2
16:35 - 16:50 GT Qualifying
17:00 - 17:15 LMP2 & LMP3 Qualifying

Saturday, 12 January 2019
09:20 - 09:50 Autograph Session 
11:45 - 15:45 4 Hours of Buriram

Wednesday 9 January 2019

FIA WEC: Brabham plans return to Le Mans in GTE

Brabham Automotive announced yesterday their intention to return to endurance racing and the 24 Hours of Le Mans during the 2021/22 World Endurance Championship season. 

With the target set at the Le Mans 24 Hours in 2022 and the 2021/22 FIA WEC season, the Adelaide based automotive manufacturer says it has already committed to a factory racing team and a multi-year motorsport programme with development work already under way. Fans will be able to follow the journey as it’s shared openly on social media under the hashtag #brabhamroadtolemans. 

Taking the road back to Le Mans has always been a desire of Brabham Automotive. The entry will be run and funded in-house by Brabham Automotive and commercial partners and sponsors. It will be directly linked to the Brabham BT62 Driver Development Programme, making early owners of the modern Brabham track car part of the test team for Le Mans and providing top level Pro-Am racing opportunities to owners. 

An extensive testing schedule aimed at developing the BT62 for high-performance endurance racing has been underway for a number of months. It is being led by Brabham Automotive managing director, lead test driver and 2009 Le Mans winner David Brabham, who said: “Returning the Brabham name to Le Mans is something I have been working on for years, so it’s fantastic to make this announcement today. Brabham Automotive only launched its first car, the BT62, in May 2018 so we have a long road to travel to earn the right to return to compete at Le Mans. That work starts now with a long-term racing commitment. We look forward to developing the BT62 and future products while building a world-class competitive race team around the leading engineering and manufacturing talent we have in the business.” 

Pierre Fillon, President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO), promoters of the 24 Hours of Le Mans: “At Le Mans, the legendary Brabham name instantly conjures up memories of an outstanding family success story. It all began in July 1967 at the only French Grand Prix to be held at the Bugatti Circuit, when three-time Formula One world champion Sir Jack Brabham took the honours in a car sporting the Brabham name. Sir Jack’s sons, Geoff and David, perpetuated the family tradition by winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1993 and 2009 respectively, both with Peugeot.  For the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, the return of the Brabham name to endurance racing is therefore much more than symbolic. It demonstrates remarkable loyalty and an extraordinary competitive spirit."

More details on the Brabham Automotive sports car programme, personnel and the GTE vehicle that will eventually be homologated will be released nearer the time, pending final confirmation of regulations and entries. The manufacturer confirms it will be an original Brabham based on developing the BT62 chassis, which has already been designed and built to comply with modern FIA safety standards. Brabham Automotive also intends to compete in lower level series and provide customer racing opportunities as it takes the road back to Le Mans, with more information to be made available in due course. 

Commenting on the development, Dan Marks, Commercial Director Brabham Automotive said: “Brabham Automotive is a racing brand so since inception we’ve always had competitive motorsport in mind. Our plan to go on the Journey Back to Le Mans is a statement of intent that Brabham Automotive is back and here to stay. In the BT62, we have already built an outstanding, unrestricted track car now with a road legal option. We will develop this car to make its mark in motor racing, along with new vehicles. Today is great news for us and will help put the Australian car industry back on the world stage.” 

ELMS: Canal, Stevens an Binder in the N°23 Panis-Barthez Competition Ligier

Panis-Barthez competition has completed their driver line-up for the #23 Ligier LMP2 in the upcoming ELMS season.  

Julien Canal and Will Stevens will be joined by Rene Binder in the 2019 European Le Mans Series and their bid for an entry in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. A strong and experienced line-up for the French team, which goes into its third season in the LMP2 class with a clear goal: win races and compete for the overall championship.  

Binder is the new face in the team, making his debut in prototype and endurance racing. The 26 year old silver driver has vast experience in Indycar (6 races in 2018), GP2 Series and Formula V8 3.5 (2 polo positions & 4 wins).  The Austrian will also be racing in the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup starting with the 24 Hours of Daytona later this month. He will drive the Juncos Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R.

Will Stevens returns to the team after a succesfull first season in the LMP2 class. The former Formula 1 driver has shown all his talent on track throughout the past season by climbing twice on the podium and signing a pole position on the wet in Spa. 

Julien Canal is the final driver to be announced in the #23 Ligier JSP2, now also in his second season for the team.  The Frenchman has an impressive track record with 3 wins at 24H of Le Mans, GTE AM and LMP2 World Champion in WEC with Rebellion. 

A second Ligier will be entered in the European Le Mans Series. An announcement with the identity of the drivers for the second car is expected in due course. 

Rene Binder - #23 Ligier JS P217 driver :"It’s a huge pleasure and honour for me to race for Panis Barthez Competition in the 2019 season and I want  to thank Olivier Panis, Fabien Barthez, Sarah et Simon Abadie and the  entire team for their faith in me. It’s going to be really special to go  into the European Le Mans Series and 24 Hours at Le Mans with the team of a former Monaco Grand Prix winner and I can’t wait to take the Ligier LMP2  out for our first test. As said before it will be a very important and   special experience for me to compete in the most important endurance events  next year combining IMSA with ELMS. I can only say thanks again to our  sponsors, partners, family and to everyone who believes in our success.“

Will Stevens - #23 Ligier JS P217 driver : “I’m very happy to stay with Panis-Barthez Competition next season. We showed in 2018 how strong we are together, and the great results we had at the end of the season motivated me to stay: we have a job to continue and to finish. After a pole position and two podiums last year, we will be doing all we can to win our first race in 2019 – and then another one. And if we are consistent enough, why not fight for the 2019 championship?

Of course, I have Le Mans in mind, as we were the closest competitors to G-Drive last year. I can’t wait to race there again with Olivier, Simon, Sarah and all the team who have faith in me and give me so much confidence. It’s time to pay them back for what they bring to me. I don’t know Rene Binder, my new teammate, but I can see that he has always been competitive wherever he raced: in F3, in Renault 3.5, GP2 or IndyCar. He has quite a lot of experience as well and I have no doubt we will get along well and be a very strong line-up in 2019.”

Julien Canal - #23 Ligier JS P217 driver: "After a two-month winter break, I was in touch with some endurance actors in order to find the most suitable sporting program in parallel with my professional activities. But looking at what we achieved last year with the team of Olivier Panis and Simon Abadie, taking into account the progress we made through the end, it was obvious that carrying on with PBC was the best option. So I'm very happy to be back with the Panis-Barthez Competition. My motivation and my desire to give my best for the guys, for my teammates and for the brand are very strong. With Will and Rene we have only one goal: winning."

Olivier Panis - Team Principal: "Sarah, Simon and I are  delighted to welcome Rene at Panis Barthez Compétition. Rene already has a strong background in different  series and we are ready to write a new page of our history with him. Thanks  to the hard work of the team and our 2018 drivers, we are in a good     position to fight at the front. Welcome in the family Rene !"

“Keeping Will Stevens aboard was a top priority. I have been so impressed by him, his speed and his implication. I have rarely seen a professional driver sharing so many informations with his teammates. He spends hours in front of the datas to improve the car. It’s true he grumbles quite a lot but always in a positive way. First of all it makes me laugh but above all it pushes us continuously to make our proto faster and faster. We have made a big step forward with him. That’s why Fabien Barthez, Simon Abadie, Sarah Abadie and I did everything we could to make him stay at PBC and we have found partners to achieve this priority."

"Keeping Julien Canal among us is very good news for the whole team. His maturity and his experience are well proven, and last year it united us around new strong goals. His close relation with Will Stevens is now strengthened by the determination of Rene Binder. All together, they are going to do wonderful things on track. That’s clearly a high-powered line-up, ready to fight at the top of the LMP2 category.”