• 45 cars on initial list for ELMS opener

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    A total of 45 race cars have initially listed to take part in the opening round of the European Le Mans Series (ELMS) at Silverstone, United Kingdom on Sunday, the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) announced in the website of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

    OAK Racing will be fielding the specially adapted Morgan DRT41 driven by quadruple amputee Frédéric Sausset that will be taking part in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June as the special Garage 56 entry, reserved for innovative projects. Sausset’s presence at Silverstone is in preparation for Le Mans.

    The Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) class comprises 15 competitors, as initially announced by the ACO, but there are changes to be expected. For one, British outfit Greaves Motorsport recently pulled out the Gibson 015S-Nissan with which it won the championship in 2015.

    At the same time, SMP Racing, which was not on the initial list, has decided to field two BR01s, one of which was initially announced under the Courage banner. At the official tests Andreas Wirth, Julian Leal and Stefano Coletti tried out the BR01 designed by Paolo Catone, who was behind the Peugeot 908 HDi FAP that won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2009. All three drivers are confirmed for the season-opener with the second BR01 shared by Sean Gelael, Antonio Giovinazzi and Mitch Evans. Gelael and Giovinazzi won two rounds of the 2015/2016 Asian Le Mans Series while Evans was part of the Jota Sport team that came second in LM P2 at the 24 Hours of Le Mans last year with the Gibson 015S.

    Last but not least, Sir Chris Hoy, winner of the Le Mans Prototype 3 (LMP3) class last season, is competing in LMP2 this year with Algarve Pro Racing, in preparation for his eagerly anticipated Le Mans debut. His co-drivers are Michael Munemann and 22-year-old single-seater racer Parth Ghorpade.

    There is no change in LMP3 as all 20 competitors on the provisional list have confirmed for Silverstone. Murphy’s Ave-Riley is replaced in the line-up by Ginetta-Juno.

    In LM GTE, one Aston Martin Vantage may hide another. TDS Racing will not be on the grid, but Aston Martin Racing will be fielding a second Vantage with Roald Goethe, Stuart Hall and official driver Richie Stanaway at the wheel. Stanaway will have a busy weekend as he will be racing the Six Hours of Silverstone, the opening round of the World Endurance Championship, the next day.

    THE TIMES

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