36 cars on the grid in Austria
Following a two month pause since Round 2 in Imola, the European Le Mans Series will be back on July 19th and 20th at the Red Bull Ring track. No fewer than 36 cars will be on the grid, consisting of 10 LMP2, 14 LMGTE and 12 GTC cars.
After its LMP2 victory at the Le Mans 24 Hours, JOTA Sport will be in Austria with its regular driver line up of Simon Dolan, Harry Tincknell and Filipe Albuquerque at the wheel of the Zytek Z11 SN. Thiriet by TDS Racing, second at Le Mans, will be racing its new Ligier JS P2 for the first time in the ELMS with Pierre Thiriet (pictured), Ludovic Badey and Tristan Gommendy at the wheel, while Signatech Alpine – third in LMP2 at the 24H – will be at the Red Bull Ring event with the Alpine A450 Nissan driven by Paul Loup Chatin, Nelson Panciatici and Oliver Webb. The LMP2 ORECA03 Nissan of Sébastien Loeb Racing finished at Le Mans in fourth position in its very first participation in the great endurance race, and the team will be back in ELMS with the two-man line up of Vincent Capillaire and Jan Charouz. Both Zyteks of Greaves Motorsport will be in Austria and there will be a new driver line up with Luciano Bacheta, Mark Shulzhitskiy and Mark Patterson. In the other car the youngest-ever driver (and finisher) at Le Mans, Matt Mc Murry, will be once again teamed with his co-driver from the beginning of the season, Tom Kimber-Smith. The Morgan Judd of NewBlood by Morand Racing will be enjoying something of a home race, as Austrian Christian Klien will be on local turf with his Swiss teammate, Gary Hirsch. Murphy Prototypes was not quite as lucky in Le Mans, but is definitely hoping to do well in Austria with Rodolfo Gonzalez, Karun Chandhok and Nathanaël Berthon driving the Irish ORECA03 Nissan. Michel Frey and Franck Mailleux will once again drive the ORECA03 Judd of Race Performance, while Pegasus Racing will be on track with the Morgan Nissan of Julien Schell, Niki Leutwiler and Jonathan Coleman.
Nine Ferrari F458 Italias, four Porsche 911 GT3 RSRs and one Aston Martin Vantage V8 will make up the LMGTE 14 car grid in Austria. AF Corse will be present with three of the Italian cars. The n°54 will be driven by Piergiuseppe Perazzini, Marco Cioci and Michael Lyons, while Duncan Cameron, Matt Griffin and Michele Rugolo will be at the wheel of the n°55. A newcomer to the ELMS for this round will be the AF Corse n°70, which will have a 100% French line up with Yannick Mallegol, François Perrodo and Emmanuel Collard. The Swiss Kessel Racing team will be on track with the same driver line up in both the n°80 and n° 81 F458s (Michael Broniszewski–Giacomo Piccini and Thomas Kemenater–Matteo Cressoni). Andrea Bertolini, Viktor Shaitar and Sergey Zlobin will be ready to gather more points at the wheel of the SMP Racing Ferrari, while JMW Motorsport will plan to do the same with Daniel McKenzie, Georges Richardson and Daniel Zampieri in the F458. Team SOFREV-ASP performed very well at Le Mans and wants to continue in the same way with Fabien Barthez, Anthony Pons and Soheil Ayari driving the F458 in Austria. Austrian team AT Racing is fired up to do well on home ground with the Ferrari F458 of Alexander Talkanitsa, Alexander Talkanitsa Junior and Pierre Kaffer. The two Porsches 911 GT3 RSRs of IMSA Performance Matmut will not see any changes in the driver line ups, and Proton Competition will have a local line up with Horst Felbermayr and Horst Felbermayr Jr in the n°77 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR. Finally the Porsche of Gulf Racing UK will be in the hands of Michael Wainwright, Adam Carroll and Ben Barker, and the British team also has the only Aston Martin Vantage V8 on the grid which will be driven by Roald Goethe, Stuart Hall and Daniel Brown.
In the GTC category, SMP Racing will be there with its three Ferrari F458 Italia GT3s with the same regular driver line ups. The Imola-winning team, which is provisionally topping the GTC class standings with its Formula Racing, will again be driven by the 100% Danish team made of Johnny Laursen, Mikkel Mac and Jan Magnussen. Two other Italian cars will be there for AF Corse: n°63 will have a duo made up of Mads Rasmussen and Ilya Melnikov, and the n°95 with Adrien de Leener and Cédric Sbirrazzuoli. The seventh and final GTC F458 will be from Team SOFREV-ASP, with a 100% French line up of Christophe Bourret, Jean-Luc Beaubelique and Jean-Philippe Belloc. Both McLaren MP4 12C GT3s from French team ART Grand Prix, will keep the same drivers and the same holds for the only BMW Z4 on the GTC grid of Team Russia by Barwell. Two Porsche 911 GT3s will complete the GTC grid with ProSpeed Competition (Paul van Splunteren–Gilles Vannelet–Mike Parisy) and Pro GT by Almeras (Franck Perera–Lucas Lasserre–Eric Dermont).