Karim Ajlani will make his competitive sportscar comeback this year after joining the European Le Mans Series with front-running squad ART Grand Prix.
The Swiss-Syrian returns to endurance racing at the wheel of a McLaren MP4-12C GT3 in the championship’s GTC category alongside reigning FIA World Endurance Champion and Le Mans 24 Hours winner Ricardo Gonzalez, and established prototype star Alex Brundle.
Ajlani previously contested the series’ LMP2 class in 2009, and has not raced GT machinery competitively since 2005. Quickly adapting to his new surroundings was one of the primary reasons for choosing experienced French outfit ART, which has a history of achieving great success across a number of categories.
The partnership between Ajlani and ART began in February with a test session held at the Estoril circuit in Portugal, followed by another evaluation a month later at Magny-Cours, France. And in order to increase his readiness still further, Karim will employ the expertise of French company AOTech by completing several sessions in their state-of-the-art simulator.
Today sees Ajlani make his first official outing for ART at Paul Ricard as part of the ELMS group test, which continues tomorrow in southern France (1/2 April).
Karim Ajlani: “I’m delighted to be competing in the 2014 ELMS season with ART Grand Prix and would like to extend my thanks to Sebastien Philippe for such a fantastic opportunity. I’m sure that driving for a new team in an unfamiliar car and category means this season will prove to be a new chapter for me. The driving style required for GT cars is slightly different from LMP2, especially in terms of braking and downforce. However, the basics remain fairly similar and I’m sure an experienced outfit such as ART will help me to adapt quickly.
“My first contact with the team was hugely positive. I will now focus on working to improve in every area and ensure that I’m fully prepared. My target this season is to consistently produce error-free drives and compete for GTC victories. I am extremely happy to be embarking upon this new adventure and cannot wait for the season to begin.”
The opening round of the 2014 European Le Mans Series takes place at Silverstone on 18/19 April.
2014 European Le Mans Series Calendar:
Official ELMS Test Session, Paul Ricard, France 1/2 April
1. Silverstone, UK 18/19 April
2. Imola, Italy 17/18 May
3. Red Bull Ring, Austria 19/20 July
4. Paul Ricard, France 13/14 September
5. Estoril, Portugal 18/19 October