G-Drive Racing has revealed their plans for the 2019 European Le Mans Series season.
The majority was already announced, with Roman Rusinov as the central piece in the Russian sponsored team. He is once again joined by Jean-Eric Vergne – at least for most of the season. They have found Job van Uitert, who won the LMP3 Championship in ELMS 2018 with RLR MSport. He is the Silver ranked driver this year, and is clearly somebody worth keeping an eye on, with the speed that he showed last year.
It won’t however be like that all season long, since Vergne will have to miss out driving the orange car on a few occasions. The first two ELMS rounds clash with the Formula E series, which is the first priority of the reigning Formula E Champion, Vergne. The team have pulled in another rapid Frenchman – Norman Nato. He comes to the team due to his connection with TDS Racing – the outfit running the G-Drive Racing #26 car. Nato will also replace Loic Duval in the TDS Racing #28 at the 6 Hours of Spa Francorchamps FIA World Endurance Championship round, so he is sure of at least three races this year, after running full season with Racing Engineering in their LMP2 car last year.
The team will still run the same kind of car – but with a new name. The Russian connection in form of Rusinov has pulled in the Limousine brand AURUS, so the car will be named AURUS 01. It is still the exact same ORECA 07 chassis as always, but it’s just a re-badging deal, like we know from the Signatech Alpine Matmut team in the FIA WEC, who calls their car an Alpine A470, even though it’s also an ORECA 07.
Dunlop will once again supply G-Drive Racing #26 with tires. A lot of teams has started to go for Michelin tires, but the people behind G-Drive Racing believes that Dunlop is the right tire for the 2019 season.
Other than the ELMS races, we will also have the team running at the 6 Hours of Spa Francorchamps in FIA WEC in May, and the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which they qualified for with their ELMS LMP2 title win in 2018. Jean-Eric Vergne will be able to run both races.
Will the 2019 season be the fifth year a in row, where G-Drive Racing wins a title? 2015 FIA WEC LMP2, and 2016-2018 ELMS LMP2 titles are all linked to the Russian branded team, although they have various teams operate their entries during those years.