A total of 34 cars comprising 19 prototypes and 15 GT’s wll take to the grid for the 2015 European Le Mans Series.
Although some of the 2014 season competitors such as Signatech-Alpine have chosen to move up to the next level by entering the World Endurance Championship – the aim of many participants in the European series – the ELMS series continues to attract top quality entries and solidifies its place as one of the world’s top endurance racing series.
The LE Mans Prototype ranks will consist of 12 LMP2 cars and 7 of the new-this-season LMP3 cars. In the LMP2 class:
- Algarve Pro Racing will race a Ligier JS P2 Nissan LMP2, with the driver line up led by Briton Rudolf Munemann.
- On the back of its two 2014 ELMS titles in LMGTE and GTC and the WEC LMP2 World Championship, the Russian SMP Racing team is entering its new BR01 LMP2, led by former single-seater champion, Russian Mikhail Aleshin, in the No.27 and Italian Maurizio Mediani in the No.37.
- 2014 ELMS runners-up, JOTA Sport, returns this year with a new car now named a Gibson 015S, powered by a Nissan engine. Simon Dolan, the British team’s owner is the first driver named on the 2015 list.
- Pegasus Racing are entering the only Morgan Nissan in LMP2. The irst driver named is Frenchman Léo Roussel.
- Eurasia Motorsport from the Philippines have entered an ORECA 03R-Nissan in the hands of Chinese driver Kevin Pu Jun Jin.
- The American Krohn Racing team will step-up to the LMP2 class with a Ligier JS P2-Judd
- Ibanez Racing have entered two ORECA 03R-Nissans; the No.44 will be in the hands of Frenchman Pierre Perret, while the No.45 car will be led by José Ibanez.
- British ELMS stalwarts Greaves Motorsport will be the second to race the new Gibson 015S Nissan chassis (No.41), and it will be driven by former ELMS GTE Champion Johnny Mowlem.
- Thiriet by TDS Racing will be the first team to compete in the ELMS with the new LMP2 ORECA 05, which will be driven by Pierre Thiriet.
- Irishman Greg Murphy’s team round out the list with the No.48 Murphy Prototypes ORECA 03R.
Launched in July 2014 by the ACO, the new smaller LMP3 prototype will make its racing debut in 2015. While the chassis can be built by independent constructors – three have been announced to date – all cars are equipped by the same powertrain (the 420 bhp normally aspirated Nissan V8) with customer service being provided by ORECA.
An impressive seven Ginetta-Nissans have been announced today for the new LMP3 grid:
- The No.3 of Sir Chris Hoy, the British World and Olympic cycling champion, who revealed his participation in December of last year. He will be joined in Team LNT by Michael Simpson at the wheel of the No.2 car.
- The Italian Cetilar Villorba Corse team will enter the No.5 for its driver Giorgio Sernagiotto
- From Great Britain, three further cars will be on the grid representing the University of Bolton (No.7, Rob Garofall), Lanan Racing (No.11, Alex Crave) and Rollcentre Racing (No.18, Martin Short).
- The final place (so far) will be the Spanish entry of the No.15 SVK by Speed Factory, driven by Latvian Konstantino Calko.
With an impressive 15 entries in the GT classes the category can certainly be said to be in ‘rude health’. Three manufacturers are represented by the nine entrants announced today in LMGTE.
- BMW has made the step up from the GTC category with Marc VDS moving up to LMGTE this year with a BMW Z4 (No. 52) in the hands of the very experienced Andy Priaulx, WTCC champion in 2014.
- AF Corse Ferrari will enter three Ferrari 458 Italias with American Peter Mann in the No.51, the British 2014 runner-up Duncan Cameron in the No.55, and Australian Stephen Wyatt in the No.81.
- Austria’s AT Racing enter the No.56 Ferrari 458 Italia of Alexander Talkanitsa.
- Formula Racing’s No.60 car has chosen to move from GTC to GTE for 2015. It will be driven by the Dane Johnny Laursen.
- The final F458 on the list, No.66, will be campaigned by the JMW Motorsport team, in the hands of George Richardson.
- Two Porsche 911s will also be on the LMGTE grid. Gulf Racing UK will race the No.86 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, with Michael Wainwright being the first named driver, while the German Proton Competition team has this year taken up a full season entry with the No.88 Porsche 911 RSR of Christian Ried.
In the GTC category,
- AF Corse has entered four Ferrari F458 Italia GT3s. No.61 will be driven by Italian Mario Cordoni, No.62 will be in the hands of Switzerland’s Thomas Flohr and the No.63 for Giorgio Roda, while Dane Mads Rasmussen will drive the No.64 F458 Italia GT3.
- TDS Racing will be running a dual programme in the ELMS this year by entering a BMW Z4 GT3 in GTC in addition to their LMP2 entry. The No.59 BMW will be in the hands of Frenchman Eric Dermont.
- Aston Martin is the third manufacturer represented in the class, with No.68 Vantage GT3 of the Danish Massive Motorsport team, driven by Casper Elgaard.
At the Paris press conference today Pierre Fillon, President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, said “The ACO is very pleased to announce today that 34 full season entries have been received for the 2015 European Le Mans Series and is demonstrates the robust health of Europe’s leading sportscar series.
“The ELMS is an important part of the endurance racing pyramid and, along with the other continental championships in Asia and North America, represents a vital step on the career path for teams and drivers aiming for the top to compete at the 24 Heures du Mans and in the World Endurance Championship. We look forward to the opening race of the 2015 season at Silverstone in April.”
“The new LMP3 class has added a new dimension to the 2015 grid and we are confident that LMP3 will prove to be an important step on the endurance racing ladder.” added Gérard Neveu, CEO of the European Le Mans Series. “We hope you will join us for what is sure to be a great season for the European Le Mans Series.”