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Category: European Le Mans Series – LMP2

Greaves MotorsportGreaves Motorsport has completed a successful programme at the Official Test for the 2014 European Le Mans Series, held over the past two days at the Circuit Paul Ricard. Tom Kimber-Smith posted the second fastest time in the #41 car on day two with a lap time of 1:49.452. This bodes well for the season as traditionally the Le Castellet track is not favourable to the Nissan powered Zytek chassis that is run by the team. Joining Tom in the #41 entry was 2013 Greaves Motorsport driver and former ALMS Champion, Chris Dyson. Third seat in the car was occupied by fellow American, Matt McMurry, who was making his European sportscar debut. Matt also drove the #28 sister car to give him maximum seat time and his performance in both cars reflected his potential. An announcement about his possible future programme with the team will be made in due course.

Also making their first appearance with the team were 2012 Radical Endurance Champions, Tony Wells and James Littlejohn, and the pair turned in a competitive performance over the two days of testing. Assisting them in the #28 Zytek was leading GP2 driver, Jon Lancaster, who helped to set a baseline for the car’s setup.

The team open their 2014 race campaign at Silverstone in two weeks with the first round of the 2014 European Le Mans Series, further details of this will be announced in due course.

Team Manger, Jacob Greaves. “It has been a good couple of days here in France, we came with a programme to get both the drivers and the cars in the best possible shape for what promises to be a very competitive season. Tom’s lap time in the car reflects the progress that we have made over the winter. Add to that strong performances from Chris, James, Matt and Tony and we have reason to be optimistic about the year ahead.”

Kicking off their European pre-season programme, Greaves Motorsport will be at Circuit Paul Ricard for the Official Test of the 2014 European Le Mans Series, Tuesday and Wednesday (1st/2nd April). The team’s 2014 drivers, Tom Kimber-Smith and Chris Dyson will be leading the team’s extensive test programme. They will be joined at the Test in the #41 car by the young American, Matt McMurry, making his European motorsport debut. In the #28 entry will be ex-Radical SR8 Champions, Tony Wells and James Littlejohn, also making their first appearance in the LM P2 class of endurance racing.

A window of opportunity has arisen for a suitably qualified driver to join the team at the test and any interested parties should contact the Team Manager, Jacob Greaves, at either jacob.greaves@greavesmotorsport.com or +44 7817 645 408

In addition to the previously announced programmes at Le Mans and in the European Le Mans Series, the team is considering a further campaign in either the Asian Le Mans Series or the Tudor United SportsCar Championship. Any enquiries should be made to the above contact.

Turvey joins Jota SportJota Sport will welcome one of Britain’s most exciting young racing talents into its fold for the 2013 season after inking a deal with McLaren development driver Oliver Turvey.

The 25-year-old will join Jota Sport regular Simon Dolan in the team’s Zytek-Nissan LMP2 for the full European Le Mans Series campaign while also contesting selected rounds of the FIA World Endurance Championship, including a planned assault on the Le Mans 24 Hours pending invitation from the ACO.

Penrith-born Turvey first rose to prominence in 2006 by winning the prestigious McLaren Autosport BRDC Award, marking him out as one of the most promising talents in motorsport and securing a test with the multiple world title-winning Formula 1 squad. Backed by the Racing Steps Foundation, his progress continued with a runner-up finish in the 2008 British F3 championship before race-winning campaigns in F1 feeder series Formula Renault 3.5 and GP2.

2011 saw Turvey take on an increased role at McLaren as he formed part of the development driver line-up for the MP4-12C GT3 project. In 2012 he was appointed a reserve driver for the British marque’s iconic Formula 1 squad, testing the grand prix-winning MP4-27 in Abu Dhabi, while also continuing to undertake selected GT races in the MP4-12C.

Turvey joins Jota following a promising 2012 season for the British squad which saw a memorable LMP2 class victory at the 6 Hours of Spa and a spirited run at the Le Mans 24 Hours.

Sam Hignett, Jota Sport Team Principal: “We are thrilled to start 2013 by announcing the signing of Oliver Turvey. Needless to say, it’s fantastic to have secured a driver of his undoubted ability and pedigree.

“In particular, we are delighted to have gained Oliver’s superb engineering knowledge and acumen. Despite his young age he can teach us a great deal, and I know that Simon as well as the technical team are eager to begin working with him.

“What’s more, signing Oliver is a clear indication of Jota’s ambition to succeed at the highest levels of world motorsport. By securing one of the most promising young talents available, we have made it clear that our goal for this year is to fight at the very front from the opening race and challenge for the championship.”

Oliver Turvey: “I am thrilled and delighted to be joining Jota Sport for the 2013 season. I am extremely excited to begin working with the team and can’t wait to get behind the wheel of the LMP2 car. I would like to thank Simon and Sam for putting their trust and support behind me. I look forward to a successful season with Jota Sport.

“I have been very impressed with both the facilities and preparation that Jota Sport have put towards the 2013 season and believe that we have a winning team ready to compete at the highest level.

“I would also like to thank Vodafone McLaren Mercedes for their continued support and allowing me to pursue this opportunity alongside my test driver role with the team. I am confident the experience I have working with one of the most successful teams in Formula 1 will benefit me in my preparations for LMP2.”

Jota Sport remain in discussions with potential drivers for the third seat at the team and will make an announcement in due course. Their first racing engagement of the season will come on home turf when the European Le Mans Series opens at Silverstone on April 13.

For further press information please contact Laura Hanson: l.hanson@jotagroup.com.

To keep up to date with the Jota Sport team follow them on Twitter: @JotaSport.

Bertrand BaguettePetit Le Mans will bring the curtain down on both the European and American Le Mans Series seasons in the United States this Saturday (October 20), with OAK Racing and its #35 Morgan-Nissan 2012 LM P2 aiming to capture the ELMS title.

LM P2 is the European championship’s premier class and one that the French team has high hopes of conquering. Indeed, it currently occupies second in the standings ahead of the 10-hour/1000-mile, double points finale after scoring victory at the 6 Hours of Donington last time out. The race nevertheless promises to be extremely competitive with over forty cars, including eight LM P2s, battling around Road Atlanta’s demanding four kilometre-long circuit.

Team owner and ‘silver’ grade driver Jacques Nicolet shares the wheel of #35, which will again carry the iconic blue and orange racing livery of Gulf Oil International, with fellow Frenchman Olivier Pla. The pair scored a podium together in the FIA World Endurance Championship round at Fuji last weekend and are now joined by Belgian ace Bertrand Baguette. All three, as well as the team, have travelled to the US between contesting the final two FIA WEC rounds in Asia. But despite the inevitable strain on logistics, the squad retains great enthusiasm for the event.

Petit Le Mans also offers an opportunity to meet up with Conquest Endurance, which has achieved great success and many podium finishes with their #37 Morgan 2012 LM P2 in the ALMS this year. Conquest is also the official North American importer of the prototype designed and built by OAK Racing’s manufacturing department Onroak Automotive.

Sébastien Philippe, Team Principal: “Our goal for the final round of the ELMS at Petit Le Mans is clear: to win the title and score our second victory following the 6 Hours of Donington. Olivier and Bertrand also have every chance of doing well in the drivers’ championship so we’re hopeful that both scenarios will play out favourably. This will be our third consecutive appearance at the race where we scored an LM P2 class podium in 2010. We are delighted to be returning to a circuit that remains very popular with drivers and fans, likely because of the many safety car periods that create uncertainty and force teams to adopt a specific strategy for this type of event. The atmosphere at the American circuits is also very special and it’s very exciting to race in front of such an enthusiastic crowd.”

Bertrand Baguette, #35 Morgan 2012 LM P2: “I want to thank OAK Racing for offering me the opportunity to participate in this great event, Petit Le Mans. It is always a special feeling for me to compete in the US following my cherished memories from racing in IndyCar. I don’t know the Road Atlanta track but am confident of forming a strong crew with Olivier and Jacques. It bodes well for the race.”

Petit Le Mans schedule (local time):

Thursday 18 October:
10:15 – 11:15: Free Practice 1
15:20 – 16:20: Free Practice 2
19:00 – 21:00: Free Practice 3

Friday 19 October:
10:30 – 11:30: Free Practice 4
14:00 – 15:15: Qualifying

Saturday 20 October:
09:15 – 09:40: Warm-up
11:30: Race (10 hours or 1000 miles)

Photo by DPPI/Florent Gooden.

Jota SportJota Sport is evaluating the possibility of expanding its sportscar programme next season with the addition of a second LMP2 prototype.

The Kent-based squad, which had planned to contest the full European Le Mans Series campaign before the championship curtailed its calendar, enjoyed much success after graduating to the FIA World Endurance Championship where it scored an incredible class victory on debut at Spa against the established full-season WEC entries.

Further strong outings at the Le Mans 24 Hours in June and then Silverstone in late August again demonstrated the potential of its #38 Zytek Z11SN Nissan, which has proven a potent weapon in a class widely-regarded as the championship’s most competitive.

The scale of success throughout this year has therefore prompted the team to expand further in 2013 by potentially adding a second LMP2 car to its roster. No championship has yet been decided upon, with the WEC and ELMS both still under consideration.

The team worked miracles to be ready for the season-opening ELMS round in March after receiving their new Zytek chassis less than a week before the race. Jota Sport has therefore opted to skip the rescheduled ELMS finale at Petit Le Mans this October in favour of conducting further detailed development work closer to home in order to be fully prepared for 2013.

Meanwhile, plans to hold a driver evaluation test at the end of this season are currently under discussion, with those looking to further their careers in sportscar racing invited to contact the team.

Sam Hignett, Jota Sport Team Principal: “We’ve enjoyed some incredible success considering this was our first year back in the prototype ranks since Le Mans 2008, and that’s given us the confidence to expand the team’s commitment in 2013. The Zytek-Nissan package offers a great platform from which to be competitive right away, something that was seen after no testing prior to Paul Ricard and against the WEC field at Spa where we won, so our preference would be to run a second chassis next year.

“Simon Dolan’s staggering progression from novice to World Championship LMP race winner inside four years also demonstrates that the team and car are perfectly suited to helping gentleman drivers develop into professionals. We are fully committed to continuing our prototype programme in 2013 and would be delighted to hear from all of those interested in testing with us later this year.”

For further information about the end-of-season test please contact the team directly by emailing s.hignett@jotagroup.com.

To keep up to date with the Jota Sport team follow them on Twitter: @JotaSport.

OAK RacingOAK Racing will be looking to build on their successful start to 2012 when the team’s attention switches to the opening round of this year’s European Le Mans Series – the 6 Hours of Le Castellet – at Paul Ricard this weekend (April 1).

The French outfit will field an Onroak Automotive-designed and built Morgan 2012 LMP2 on home turf after demonstrating its potential during the opening FIA World Endurance Championship round at Sebring less than two weeks ago where the car qualified on pole position, set fastest race lap and finished second in class.

As well as carrying over its good form from Sebring, OAK Racing can also look to the recent official ELMS test at Paul Ricard, where it finished top of the timesheets, as further reason to be confident of making a strong start to the European season.

Team Owner Jacques Nicolet, who was part of that podium-finishing driver line-up in Florida, will be joined at the wheel of the #24 car by Guillaume Moreau and Dominik Kraihamer. Two-thirds of OAK Racing’s WEC LMP1 crew, they also appeared well set for a strong result at Sebring before engine problems forced their retirement after nine hours.

In addition, the squad will revert to its traditional black and pink livery for the opening round of the ELMS, which for the first time sees LMP2 machinery represent the premier prototype category.

Sebastien Philippe, Team Principal: “OAK Racing returns to the European Le Mans Series hoping to shine at the 6 Hours of Le Castellet thanks to the combination of an excellent car and engine. That was demonstrated with strong performances at the official test day and Sebring where we took pole position and an LMP2 class podium after just missing out on victory. We’ve put together a fast and reliable crew in the #24 Morgan 2012 LMP2 for the opening round in the form of Jacques Nicolet, Guillaume Moreau and Dominik Kraihamer. We will be doing everything possible to challenge for victory.”

Jacques Nicolet, Team Owner and driver: “I would like to congratulate Series organisers for making LMP2 its premier category. It’s finally a form of acknowledgement the private teams had been waiting for. It’s the most well represented class in the Series, as well as at the Le Mans 24 Hours. Competition will be very open between all the teams which should increase public interest and allow the ELMS to establish itself as a major endurance championship at a time when the economy is not favourable for organising new series.”

Guillaume Moreau: “I am delighted to be contesting the European Le Mans Series, especially as it will be the first time I will have raced with Jacques. This will be my fourth season with OAK Racing, a team to whom I partly owe my endurance racing career, so it’s an event that will hold special meaning. It’s also an opportunity to race alongside my new WEC team-mate Dominik so together we form a very strong trio for this opening ELMS race. Sebring demonstrated the Morgan 2012 LMP2’s potential so I am looking forward to achieving a good result on Sunday, which will erase some of the frustration I felt in America. Nevertheless, we must still be wary of our rivals as the level of competition on the entry list is quite high.”

Dominik Kraihamer: “It’s great to be part of this ELMS adventure, especially as it offers an opportunity to accumulate more seat time with OAK Racing. Joining up with my WEC team-mate Guillaume can only be beneficial on all levels, as it will be with Jacques. In addition, the Morgan 2012 LMP2 is performing well as we saw during official testing at Le Castellet and in Sebring, which offers reasons to hope for a good result. I know Le Castellet well having driven there a lot and feel at home there. I cannot wait to arrive.”

Catch live pan-European ELMS coverage on Motors TV throughout 2012 with streaming and timing from every round also available on www.europeanlemansseries.com.

6 Hours of Le Castellet timetable:

Saturday 31 March
09:15 – 10:45: Free Practice 1
13:00 – 14:30: Free Practice 2
15:50 – 16:10: Qualifying (LMP2/FLM)

Sunday 1 April
08:15 – 08:35: Warm-up
12:00 – 18:00: Race

Photo by DPPI/Le Meur