The European Le Mans Series and Michelin Le Mans Cup returns after almost two months of summer break, competing at Circuit de Catalunya near Barcelona.
Not all teams have been on holiday. A lot of them were at Le Mans in June, to either participate in the 24 hours race or in the Road To Le Mans support race for GT3 and LMP3 cars.
Several of the teams have had deals with the drivers until Le Mans, with changes happening afterwards.
Inter Europol Competition #34 in the LMP2 category will have a new third driver. Leo Roussel is unfortunately not yet fit to race. So Jakub Smiechowski and Dani Clos will share the car with Adrien Tambay. Tambay hasn’t been active on the international scene since he raced for Audi Sport in DTM in 2012-2016.
Algarve Pro Racing has swapped Mark Patterson with Olivier Pla in #25. We wrote an article about that here.
Erik Manis has stepped out of IDEC Sport #27, and will be replaced by William Cavailhes. #27 is the gentleman car of the two IDEC Sport cars, so we shouldn’t expect to see them in the top of the field anyway.
Nielsen Racing #8 in LMP3 has to replace Nobuya Yamanaka with Nick Adcock. Yamanaka has to skip the race due to business commitments. Adcock will share the car with James Littlejohn. Adcock and Littlejohn already shared the car in the Asian Le Mans Series, so it should be a smooth transition.
ACE1 Villorba Corse #18 is a new team in the ELMS, running Japanese driver Yuki Harata and Italian driver Alessandro Bressan in the LMP3 category.
Ebimotors Porsche #80 have German Edward-Lewis Brauner replacing Sebastien Fortuna.
Giorgio Roda is no longer part of Team Project 1 Porsche #56. He is replaced by David Heinemeier Hansson. Heinemeier Hansson has previously raced Porsche in the FIA WEC in 2016, racing for Abu Dhabi-Proton Racing. Team Project 1 is upgrading to two Porsche cars in the FIA WEC 2019/20, so this could very well be a small test ahead of a potential collaboration in the FIA WEC.
If we look at the Michelin Le Mans Cup, there are plenty of changes.
The Pole winning team at Monza, KEO Racing, has two different drivers in the car this time. Johan Jokinen will return to the #43 car, that he has raced with in previous seasons. He will be joined by Adrien Costa. There is nothing dramatic about this change, since it was announced prior to the season that Michael Markussen and Joakim Frid only would race in the first three rounds of the year.
In fact it’s just 12 of the 21 LMP3 teams running the exact same driver line-ups as in Monza.
It’s polar opposite in GT3, where all 9 remaining teams bring the same two drivers. Scuderia Villorba Corse Lamborghini #83 has dropped out. But as previously mentioned, we have Villorba Corse being a new operator in LMP3 in ELMS. They are a team specialized in supplying mechanics and running sportscar programmes. They also previous ran Cetilar Racing in the ELMS and at Le Mans this year.
Both the European Le Mans Series and Michelin Le Mans Cup will race on Saturday 20 July, with LMC racing in the afternoon, while ELMS races into the night.