Thursday 18 July 2019

The ELMS races into the night at Barcelona this weekend

For the first time since 2009, a Le Mans Series race will be held at the Circuit the Catalunya near Barcelona this weekend.  The 4 Hours of Barcelona take the place of the Red Bull Ring on which the ELMS have raced from 2013 to last year.  

For the first time since 2013, when the 4 Hours of Le Castellet raced into dusk, the European Le Mans Series will race into the night.  With the race starting at 18h30, 41 cars will race into sunset and - for the first time in the series - into the dark.  A nice addition to the schedule and something to really look forward to on Saturday evening. 


G-Drive Racing arrives in Barcelona leading the championship after 2 races with a total of 38 points. Newly crowned Formula E champion Jean-Eric Vergne joins the team for the first time in the ELMS this year after missing out Le Castellet and Monza due to a clash with his Formula E commitments.  

Second in the championship so far is the #28 IDEC Sport crew of Paul Lafargue, Paul Loup Chatin and Memo Rojas with 36 points. 10 points further down, in third place, is the #21 Dragonspeed of Henrik Hedman & James Allen. Ben Hanley is 1 point down on his teammates as he didn’t race in Monza in May.  It appears Hanley won’t race in Barcelona either, with Renger Van Der Zande on the entry list. 

Léo Roussel is still recovering from his injuries after his crash at Monza, and will be replaced by Adrian Tambay in the #34 Inter Europol Competition Ligier JPSP2. Mark Patterson is also still recovering from his shunt at Monza. Olivier Pla will take the wheel of the #25 Algarve Pro Racing for the remaining races of the 2019 season.  In the #27 IDEC Sport Ligier, Frenchman William Cavailhes is taking the place of Erik Maris. 


15 entries will race in the highly competitive LMP3 class, lead by championship leaders Jens Petersen and Mikkel Jensen in the #11 Eurointernational with 43 points.  Inter Europol Competition also had a strong start of the season with Martin Hippe & Nigel Moore on second place, 10 points behind the leaders. Paul Ricard winners Ultimate are third so far. 

ACE1 Villorba Corse makes its debut in the ELMS with the #18 Ligier, driven by Yuki Harata, Alessandro Bressan and Gabriele Lancieri  This new endurance project is the result of a partnership between Villorba Corse with Yuki Harata’s ACE1 Team. Villorba Corse has run the Cetilar Racing LMP3 and LMP2 project in the past years in the ELMS and at Le Mans and returns to the European Le Mans Series with a lot experience. 

The #7 Nielsen Racing is back on the entry list after a big shunt in Monza.  Nicholas Adcock replaces Nobuyu Yamanaka and joins James Littlejohn in the Ligier JSP3. One of the teams to look out for will be  360 Racing with the #5 Ligier.  The team struggled with setup and top speed in the first 2 races of the season, but seem to be back into their usual form after a few intensive test sessions after Monza. 


8 cars are on the LMTE entry list, equally divided between 4 Ferrari 488 GTE EVO’s and 4 Porsche 911 RSR’s.  The #88 Proton Competition Porsche is absent (again) on the entry list for Barcelona.  After racing in the stunning Felbermayr livery at Paul Ricard, it was withdrawn from Monza and unfortunately, it seems like the team didn’t find any drivers for this race too.

Dempsey Proton Racing does arrive at Barcelona as championship leaders; Christian Ried, Riccardo Pera and Matteo Cairoli collecting 42 points in the first 2 races of the season.  The #  Ferrari of Alessandro Pier Guidi, Fabien Lavergne and Nicklas Nielsen follows close with 40 points. 10 points further down is the JMW Ferrari driven by Jeffrey Segal, Matteo Cressoni & Wei Lu. 

2 driver changes are to be noted in the GTE class: WEC champions Egidio Perfetti and Jörg Bergmeister will be joined by David Heinemeier Hansson in the #56 Project 1 Porsche. The Danish driver replacing Giorgio Roda who raced with the team in the ELMS so far this season.  In the #80 Ebimotors Porsche, Edward-Lewis Brauner replaces Sébastien Fortuna. 

There's some good news for the fans of the JMW Le Mans livery: the team has decided to have it on their Ferrari 488 for the remainder of the season ! 


Due to the race being driven on Saturday, there’s only a 2-day schedule for the 4 Hours of Barcelona.  Track action starts Friday afternoon with the first 90-minute practice session at 14h30 and night practice at 21h30.  Qualifying is scheduled for Saturday morning from 10h40 onwards.  The 4-hour race “into the night” will be green flagged at 18h30. 

Live streaming is available on the ELMS website from qualifying on. Club Arnage will have its usual live feed on twitter, reports and pictures over the course of the weekend. 

Kristof Vermeulen.