ELMS Round 5 – The Spa 4 Hours

It was a beautiful day whether wise at the Spa-Francorchamp circuit in the Ardennes unusual for this time of year.

The race got under way with its usual rolling start but as the cars went for the first corner at La Source chaos erupted with 4 or 5 cars coming together most cars would recover with only 2 with severe damage, Nielsen Racing #Car6 was one of the them after limping around part of the circuit it finished up in the gravel this brought out the first safety car of the day G Drives #Car26 had rear end damage and needed a new rear wing it entered the pits for repairs but on leaving the pits it still had a problem with Rusinov onboard #Car26 pulled over on the Kemmel straight and out of the race, with all the cars recovered it was back to green racing but this wasn’t to last long and the 2nd safety car of the day was out on track #Car 24 of Algarve Pro Racing runs into the back of the RLRM Sport #Car15 this then caused the Ferrari of AF Corse #Car55 to make contact both cars 24 & 55 had to much damage and are out of the race.

Just before the first hour we are back to green and the leaders after one hour of racing are WRT Racing #Car 41 in LMP2, in LMP3 #Car18 of 1 Aim Villorba Corse leads while in LMGTE it’s the Porsche #Car 93 of Proton Racing after the dramatic but exciting first hour the race settles into some kind of rhythm and battles carry on right through the field as we approach the 2nd hour its the WRT Racing #Car41 leading in LMP2 with a new leader in LMP3 #Car19 of Cool Racing is in front while in LMGTE the Iron Lynx #Car83 as taken up the lead, the fight still rages on in the LMP3 class with another lead change DKR Engineering are now in the top spot after a brilliant bit of driving on the Kemmel straight the drama keeps on unfolding as #Car13 of Inter Europol Competition as a big impact with the tyre barriers thankfully the driver Aidan Read is out straight away and ok this brings out our first Full Course Yellow and a flurry of pit stops all the top 6 in LMP2 are in for fuel and tyres , with an hour and 30 minutes remaining its back to green racing.

As we arrive at the final hour WRT Racing #Car14 still leads in LMP2 while in LMP3 DKR Engineering #Car4 leads with the AF Corse #Car88 now leading in LMGTE, all through the field exciting battles are taking place as we move into the final part of the race with only 4 minutes of the 4 hours remaining more drama as #Car5 of MV2S racing in LMP3 class hits the barriers at Eau Rouge its another Full Course Yellow the 2nd of the race but its not for long as the marshal’s do a fantastic job of clearing the car and debris from the track and with only 1 minute and 15 seconds to go we are back green its going to be a minute sprint to the flag, as the chequered flag falls it’s a win for WRT Racing #Car41 and not only that they are crowned LMP2 Champions for 2021 with a race to spare.

In LMP3 DKR Engineering #Car4 win again their 3rd straight victory in the LMP3 class and in LMGTE AF Corse #Car88 return to winning ways and their 2nd victory of the season.

Images courtesy of ELMS

Classification LMP2 (Top 4)

1 Car 41 – Team WRT – R. KUBICA, L. DELETRAZ, Y. YE

2 Car 30 – Duqueine Team – T. GOMMENDY, R. BINDER, M. ROJAS

3 Car 65 – Panis Racing – J. CANAL, W. STEVENS, J. ALLEN

4 37 COOL – Racing – A. COIGNY, N. LAPIERRE, C. MILESI

LMP3 (Top 4)

1 Car 4 – DKR Engineering – L. HORR, M. DE BARBUAT

2 Car 19 – COOL Racing – N. MAULINI, M. BELL, N. KRUETTEN

3 Car 2 – United Autosport – W. BOYD, R. WHELDON, E. CAUHAUPE

4 Car 8 – Graff Motorsport – E. TROUILLET, S. PAGE, D. DROUX

LMGTE (Top 4)

1 Car 88 – AF Corse – F. PERRODO, E. COLLARD, A. ROVERA

2 Car 80 – Iron Lynx – M. CRESSONI, R. MASTRONARDI, M. MOLINA LMGTE

3 Car 83 – Iron Lynx – R. FREY, S. BOVY, M. GATTING

4 Car 93 – Proton Competition – M. FASSBENDER, F. LASER, R. LIETZ

 

Next stop Portimao for Round 6 and the final race of the 2021 ELMS season on the weekend of 24th October 2021.

Meet Inter Europol Competition LMP3 Team

Inter Europol Competition is based in Poland. The team started in 2010 racing in single-seater series, for 2016/2017 they moved direction and entered a single LMP3 car, in 2017/2018 they went on to enter 2 LMP3’s and 2 LMP2 cars with some success finishing runners up so for 2019 they entered the highly competitive Asian Le Mans Series (ALMS) they did this with one aim to get an entry into the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the same year 2019 which they did, finishing 16th in the championship but more significant they won 2 races and came 2nd twice in the LMP2 class plus they also became champions in the LMP3 class in 2020 they would return to both championships with the new Ligier and again enter the 24 Hours of Le Mans for that year finishing 17th for 2021 the team had there best result at the 24 hours where they came 5th in the very competitive LMP2 class and 10th overall.

The team are currently running in European Le Mans series in the LMP3 class with 2 cars (Ligier JS P320-Nissan) with six drivers, three in each team: –

Car 13

Aidan Read

Aidan is the latest star to come of Perth, Australia, has ambitions to compete at the highest level as an endurance racer. He currently lives in Charlotte, North Carolina and works as an engineer in Nascar.

 

Martin Hippe

Martin is from Germany, he is the ELMS vice-champion in 2018, 2019 and 2020, he as been with the team for 5 years and is a very experienced racing driver, he currently owns his own engineering company.

 

Ugo de Wilde

Ugo is a talented Belgian he joined the team this year from single seaters and now focuses on endurance racing, he is aiming to be professional for 2023 and wants to race at the 24 hours of le man on its 100th birthday as well as contesting in ELMS, he is also competing in this years Alpine Europa Cup.

 

Car 14

Nico Pino

Nico the 16-year-old from Santiago Chile, currently lives in Madrid Spain, after competing in Karts he raced in the F4 South East Asia championship in 2019, he competed in the first four rounds of the British F4 with good results finishing in the top ten seven times.

 

Mateusz Kaprzyk

Mateusz is the only Polish racing driver on the grid of the ELMS series in the LMP3 class, he comes from a karting background and is a very experienced single seater racer.

 

Mattia Pasini

Mattia is a former Moto GP rider and raced in Moto2, racing a Kalex for Italtrans Racing team, he was born in Rimini Italy, his first race for Inter Europol was at Monza.

 

The Team are currently 3rd in the LMP3 class heading into the penultimate round at Spa-Francochamps.

European Le Man Series Calendar 2022

ELMS as today announced its calendar for 2022, with two major changes, one being the Italian round will move back to Imola the first time since 2016, this will take place in May and the other is the return of the Hungaroring, the series last went there in 2013 that will take place after the 24 hours of Le mans in July. The series will also return to Barcelona, Spa-Francorchamps and finish at Portimao, Portugal in October, the 6 race series will keep its format of each race being of 4 hours, the season will begin in April with the Official Test at Le Castellet.

 

11-12 April 2022 – Official Tests – Le Castellet

17 April 2022 – 4 Hours of Le Castellet

15 May 2022 – 4 Hours of Imola

03 July 2022 – 4 Hours of Hungaroring

28 August 2022 – 4 Hours of Barcelona

25 September 2022 – 4 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps

16 October 2022 – 4 Hours of Portimão

 

Pierre Fillon, President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest

“The ELMS, the top continental series, is going to have a fantastic 2022 season. The six tracks chosen are among the most prestigious in the world and each offers the teams and drivers a unique challenge, as well as the very best facilities that European circuits have to offer. The return to Imola and Hungaroring will make the 2022 season even more interesting for the drivers, the fans and the Endurance world.”

 

Frédéric Lequien, Le Mans Endurance Management CEO

“We are very excited and proud to present this 2022 ELMS calendar, which includes Imola and the Hungaroring tracks once again. With six world-class venues, the competitors will be able to showcase their talents that make the ELMS such a great series. The popular six round, 4-hour race format has been retained, which will enable costs to be strictly controlled and ensure the competitors to get the best competition possible. We are looking forward to another great season of the European Le Mans Series in 2022.”

Mission H24 returns to the Track

The H24 prototype (MissionH24) which as been on hold for the last 12 to 18 months will return to the track at Spa-Francorchamps this weekend, it will take part in the Free Practice sessions for the Michelin Le Mans Cup with the rest of the grid, the H24 as only completed in private testing a few hundred miles / kilometres, with its first public showing at the Le Mans 24 hours this August, the drivers taking the car through its development are Stephane Richelmi, Norman Nato and ex McLaren Formula One driver Stoffel Vandoorne, the car will be refuelled with Hydrogen at the circuit and it will be an accurate mechanical test for the car, testing will take place on Friday 17th September with two sessions one at 11:00 to 12:00 and the other at 16:55 to 17:55 (CEST).

Pierre Fillon President of the Le Mans Organiser of the Automobile Club de l’ Quest as explained with the new regulations it would be possible for the new Hydrogen fuel Cell cars to challenge for a win at the Le Mans in 2025, along-side the Hypercars & LMDh cars, he also revealed that 8 manufacturers are part of the group working with the new regulations to develop fuel cells and expects at least 3 of them to be on the grid for 2025.

British GT Calendar for 2022

The SRO organisation  have announced the calendar for the Intelligent Money British GT championship for 2022, there is only one major change to next years series that being the introduction of a longer 3-hour race at the first visit to Donington Park, Oulton Park moves back to its regular slot over the Easter weekend, with the Silverstone 500 also moving to the beginning of May, Brands Hatch, Snetterton and Spa-Francorchamps all return.

Calendar for 2022

Oulton Park ……………. 2 x 1-hour races – 16th to 18th April

Silverstone 500 ………. 1 x 3-hour race – 07th to 08th May

Donington Park ………. 1 x 3-hour race – 28th to 29th May

Snetterton ………………. 2 x 1-hour races – 25th to 26th June

Spa-Francorchamps … 1 x 2-hour race – 23rd to 24th July

Brands Hatch …………… 1 x 2-hours races – 10th to 11th September

Donington Park ………… 1 x 2-hour race – 15th to 16th October

All dates are provisional at this time.

Testing and Media days are yet to be announced.

All nine races will be available to watch free of charge on the British GT Facebook page and also on SRO’s GT You Tube channel.

Also new for next year the addition of the new MSV GB4 single seater championship will be on the support bill along-side the GB3 series.

ELMS 4 Hours of Spa (Round 5) Preview

39 cars have entered the penultimate round of the European Le Man Series at Spa, 28 different teams with 117 drivers from 27 countries, 14 cars for LMP2, 16 cars for LMP3 and 9 cars for LMGTE which consists of six Ferrari’s, two Porsche’s and one Aston Martin. It will be the first ELMS race with fans since the pandemic started and entry will be free of charge.

The longest ELMS race was in 2019 completing 101 laps, the shortest race was the year before held in 2018, the race only completed 40 laps which was caused by not surprising at Spa the rain, it had several Safety Car periods plus red flags and was eventually stopped with the drivers awarded half points.

The Orlen WRT team are the only team based in Belgium, they lead the championship with 75 points the drivers of Louis Deletraz, Yifei Ye and ex formula one & WRC driver Robert Kubica, they have an 11-point lead over the G-Drive #Car26 with Roman Rusinov, Nyck De Vries and Franco Colapinta United Autosports are in 3rd in #Car22 a further 7 points adrift.

In LMP3 Cool racing lead the class with #Car19 with 80 points the drivers of Nicolas Maulini, Matt Bell and Niklas Kruetten only lead by 13 points from DKR Engineering entry #Car04, while the polish entrant of Inter Eurpol Competition in #Car13 are 3rd.

LMGTE sees a trio of Ferrari’s filling the top 3 positions with the Iron Lynx #Car80 leading the class by just 6 points driven by Matteo Cressoni, Rino Mastronardi and Miguel Molina they have 83 points while Spirit of The Race #Car55 is in 2nd with 77 points the trio of Duncan Cameron, David Perel and Matt Griffin in that car, behind them is the AF Corse Ferrari #Car88 in 3rd with 56 points. With only one race remaining after Spa teams will want maximum points but will the Ardennes weather through up a curve ball, its going to be tight but hopefully exciting race.

All images courtesy of ELMS

FIA WEC Calendar for 2022

The 2022 FIA World Endurance Championship calendar was now announced at this years 24 hours of Le Mans by the FIA & ACO, it will see a return to 3 continents for the 10th WEC season, 6 races will take place in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and not forgetting North America. 2022 Season 10 will see the series return to Sebring for the 1000 miles after an absence of 2 years, the official prologue will take place the week before (Official Test) following the success of the first visit to Monza, Italy the series will return for another 6-hour race, plus going back to Spa – Belgium, Fuji – Japan and Bahrain with 6 to 8-hour races not forgetting the 24 hours of Le Man back in its regular slot of June.

2022 FIA World Endurance Championship Calendar

12/13 March 2022        Official Prologue – Sebring (USA)

18 March 2022              1000 Miles of Sebring (USA)

7 May 2022                    6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps (BEL)

11/12 June 2022           24 Hours of Le Mans (FRA)

10 July 2022                   6 Hours of Monza (ITA)

11 September 2022      6 Hours of Fuji (JPN)

12 November 2022       8 Hours of Bahrain (BAH)

 

Richard Mille FIA Endurance Commission President

“Six-rounds is the perfect solution for the FIA World Endurance Championship. Next year’s calendar is well-balanced, with events evenly spread across the year. It’s cost-effective for the competitors, at the same accommodating iconic circuits and variety of race durations and formats. The return to North America and Far East is also a major step. With further manufacturers coming with Hypercars next year, I’m confident each of the six rounds will deliver a thrilling spectacle.”

Pierre Fillon President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest

“The 2022 schedule for the FIA World Endurance Championship is designed to maximise team exposure while keeping costs down. Motor racing calendars have never been subject to such disruption as during the pandemic and this schedule obviously accounts for the current situation. I look forward to seeing you in the US in March for an exciting tenth season.”

Frédéric Lequien FIA WEC CEO

“Our aim was to create both a global and cost-effective package in what has been a difficult past 18 months for our manufacturers and teams. With the 2022 calendar, we have achieved the perfect blend of classic race tracks and endurance racing heritage. We are confident that the Season 10 schedule will be popular with both competitors and fans alike.”

 

Toyota make it 4 in a Row at Circuit de la Sarthe

Toyota hypercar took its first win in this new era but its fourth in a row at Le Mans the driver line up of Mike Conway, Jose Marie Lopez and Kamui Kobayashi brought car #07 home to victory with what was an easy run in the 89th running of the Le Mans 24 hours, but it still wasn’t without drama at the end, with only a few hours remaining car #07 reported they had a fuel pick up problem would the curse of the 7 car strike again for Toyota, it was the same fuel drama that plagued car #08 at the 6 hours of Monza back in July, but in the end it was an easy win for the Japanese manufacturer and its sister car #08 made it a 1 & 2 with the Alpine ELF Matmut filling the final podium spot4 laps down on the Toyota’s, both the Glickenhaus cars #708 (4 Laps) car #709 (7 Laps) finished 4th & 5th in the hypercar class, the American team based in Italy where happy with the result at there debut of the great race Luca Ciancetti (Technical Director) “ We are supper happy, you have to be if you get two cars to the finish”.

In the LMP2 class the honours went to the Belgian team of WRT with Robin Frijns, Ferdinand Habsburg and Charles Milesi in car #31, it was a hard close fought race for all the LMP2 team’s, especially the WRT sister car #41 with one lap to go and leading the race the car came to a halt with a broken throttle sensor shut the Gibson down handing the race to its sister car in dramatic style, Jota car #28 of Sean Gelael, Stoffel Vandoorne and Tom Blomquist came 2nd with the Untied Autosport’s car #65 of Will Stevens, Julien Canal and James Allen in 3rd.

In LMGTE-Pro it was Ferrari’s day with AF Corse and car #51 with James Calado, Alessandro Pier Guidi and Come Ledgar again like Toyota’s victory led the final 205 laps the closest anyone got to putting pressure on was Corvette racing car #63 of Antonio Garcia, Jordan Taylor and Nicky Catsburg getting the gap down to 23 seconds but this wasn’t close enough, the Corvette finished runners-up with the works Porsche car #92 on the final step of the podium in 3rd.

In LMGT-Am it was a double for Ferrari and AF Corse with car #83 bringing the car home and its 3rd win of the season in the championship with reigning champions Nicklas Nielsen, Francois Perrodo and Alessio Rovera at the wheel it was a hard-fought race but they controlled it to the chequered flag with the TF Sport Aston Martin car #33 in 2nd with Felipe Fraga, Ben Keating and Dylan Perrira 3rd in class, in 3rd was another Ferrari of Iron Lynx car #80 again at the wheel Matteo Cressoni, Callum Ilott and Rino Mastronardi.

Image courtesy of 24 hours of le mans

British GT Oulton Park for Rounds 7 & 8

 

Images courtesy of BritishGT

Race 1

SRO The championship organisers moved the normal easter dates due to the pandemic to mid-September so it was a warmer drier mid-day start to race 1 (Round 7) of the championship with Kelvin Fletcher on pole in the Bentley GT, he gets a great start into old hall and opens up a gap of just over a second from Tse with Tilbrook just behind, Fletcher extends his lead with the fastest lap of the race, in GT4 0.8 of a second covers the top 2, 15 minutes gone and Tse in the Ram racing Mercedes takes the lead from Fletcher in the Bentley, 36 minutes on the clock remain the pit window is open and all the GT3 cars are in the pits for driver changes and fresh tyres, the first to re-join is the Ram racing Mercedes of Tom Onslow-Cole straight away he pulls away with a gap of around a two seconds from Neary in the Abba racing team Mercedes, but fastest on track and on a mission is Dennis Lind posting fastest lap times and catching the leaders. 15 minutes to go and Onslow-Cole still leads with just over a 3 second gap from Neary in #Car08 with Lind in the Lamborghini #Car63 in 3rd, the chequered flag falls it’s a win for Onslow-Cole & Tse and Ram racing with Sam Neary in 2ndand Lind in the Lamborghini in 3rd.

Race 2

Image courtesy of BritishGT

Race 2 was a complete contrast to race 1, as 10 minutes before the start the rain started to fall, most teams went for the full Pirelli wet tyre, the race starts under the safety car with 2 laps completed the race goes green but conditions weren’t great as the rain fell heavier making for poor visibility with the spray, the drivers earned there money keeping the cars on track, Scott Malvern leads in the Porsche ahead of Lind in the Lamborghini , as the drivers settle into there rhythm, Onslow-Cole winner from race 1beaches his Mercedes at Island and the marshals wave the double wave yellows but this is immediately changed to a full safety car as the car can’t be moved under green racing, this sparks activity in the pits as the pit window is open, the Ram racing and sister car to Onslow-Cole now takes the lead with Loggie onboard, with 24 minutes remaining the safety car is in and its back to green racing, but more drama as the leader Loggie #Car06 as a drive through penalty for a pit lane infringement, so now the Lamborghini of Phil Keen Michael Igoe lead after Loggie takes his penalty he re-joins in 6th position, Igoe still leads with Balon in 2nd in another Lamborghini with Jones in the Porsche 3rd, in GT4 Century motorsport BMW of Burns and Burton only need a point to secure the championship but they take the lead after the top 2 McLarens and teammates come together, the chequered flag is out and its Phil Keens 267thBritish GT win along with Michael Igoe, 2nd is another Lamborghini #Car01 of Balon with Ian Loggie in the Mercedes a great recovering drive after the penalty in 3rd. In GT4 Burns & Burton seal the championship with the win their 3rd of the season.

Next up Donington Park for the final round and the championship decider in GT3, its all to play for on the 16th to 17th October.

“I hope we will fight for the top positions in the general classification until the end” – the interview with Kuba Śmiechowski

Polska wersja: https://www.thepitcrewonline.net/2021/08/20/mam-nadzieje-ze-bedziemy-walczyli-do-konca-o-czolowe-pozycje-w-klasyfikacji-generalnej-wywiad-z-kuba-smiechowski

Many motorsport fans get a thrill at the thought of the LeMans 24. As every year, we celebrate this legendary race with great enthusiasm. This year we have a special honor to cooperate with a team from Poland – Inter Europol Competition.

The team  were second in the European Le Mans Series in 2018, 2019 and 2020.

On this occasion, we had the pleasure to talk to Kuba Śmiechowski. This is the third race at Le Mans for Pole and he is still hungry for successes. Currently, in the WEC classification (LMP2), the driver from Poland is 6th with 37 points. Kuba has had great success in the past – winning the Asian Le Mans Series (LMP3) in 2019 or finishing second in the European Le Mans Series (LMP3) in 2018.

Julia Paradowska: Comparing to your preparations for LM24 for last 3 Le Mans – have they changed? Have you discovered something new about you?

Kuba Śmiechowski: Have I discovered something new? I’m not sure about it.

The preparations are getting easier every year because now I know what to expect and I am more and more mentally prepared for this race. When I started in LM24 for the first time, I didn’t know what it looked like because at that time I had never competed in such a long race.

Now I know what awaits me, also the preparations are easier for me to adjust and I know better what I have to work on.

JP: What do you think about Circuit de la Sarth? Do you have a good memories from this place?

KŚ: The track is really great – it is one of the best I have ever raced at. It is truly unique, it is wonderful.

Do I have any good memories? The previous two Le Mans 24 hour races didn’t go as we planned. We had a car that was not quite able to keep up with the others, so I don’t have particularly good memories, but … The first stint was something special and at the moment it is probably the best memory of this event.

Photo credit: Inter Europol Competition

JP: This season the team has had really good form, do you think it will be an advantage during LM24?

KŚ: Yes definitely. We have an experienced team. Alex and Renger have been in Le Mans many times so they know very well how to drive in a race like this. Unfortunately, we had some bad luck during the qualifications. I believe our pace would have been good enough to make it into the Top 10, but unfortunately we weren’t able to put together a clean lap. It was especially bad in the third sector – GT cars or other LMP2 cars were jumping out in front of us, which prevented us from completing a lap that was satisfactory for us.

We are a bit disappointed after qualifying because I know we have a good car, so we should be in the lead.

JP: The forecast says that it’ll rain during the race. Do you think that It will bring more action at the track?

KŚ: Definitely – it can always mix up a lot. Especially when it comes unexpectedly.

At a some stage of the race, there are drivers from different experience levels in cars. When someone is inexperienced, they are more likely to make a mistake, but even experienced drivers do so.

Rain is especially important for such a long track – it can happen that at one part of the track is raining and the other is completely  dry. Then it is not known what to do with the tires and what strategy to choose.

JP: You said that one of the most important decisions in your motorsport career was switching to endurance racing. Why? When did you come up with this idea?

KŚ: I feel very comfortable here in endurance races and I like driving very much here. I think it’s a really great part of racing.

How did it happen? At one point, we knew we just had to finish our single seater career. We had to choose something else. By pure coincidence, we headed towards the LMP3 cars and decided that it would be the right choice.

Photo credit: Inter Europol Competition

JP: You’re really close to 4th place in championship. Do you think that this battle will continue until the end of the season?

KŚ: I hope so. It is well known – in Le Mans you can get more points than for a regular race. I have a feeling that what’s going to happen here might define the last two races of the seasons and the championship a bit, so it’s hard to say. I hope we will fight for the top positions in the general classification until the end.

I am a bit disappointed that we did not make it to the podium at Monza because during this race we lost the opportunity to fight for third place due to a very late neutralization. I hope it was not our last chance and our car here and in Bahrain will be able to continue fighting ahead.