Swiss team Race Performance is gearing up for its return to the European Le Mans Series with entries in the LMP2 and LMP3 classes.
The recently crowned Asian Le Mans Series champions took a break from the European championship last season, but this weekend at Silverstone marks their return with the intention of continuing the form built over the winter.
Nicolas Leutwiler, Franck Mailleux and James Winslow will be vying for LMP2 honours in the #34 Oreca 03R-Judd that claimed two wins in a victorious AsLMS campaign.
“Silverstone is one of my favourite tracks,” said Mailleux. “I had some good moments there especially back in 2014 with Race Performance when we had a shot for victory and eventually finished second.”
“I am sure that with our proven package, we will be able to be the most consistent and have an opportunity to achieve a great result to start the season. I am very thankful to Michel, Urs and Niki to offer me the opportunity to race there.”
In 2016 Race Performance is doubling its endurance stable with an entry into the LMP3 category. Bert Longin, Giorgio Maggi and Marcello Marateotto are the drivers listed for the #8 Ligier JS P3 – one of 20 such cars competing at the 4 Hours of Silverstone.
“The atmosphere is very good between us drivers and within the whole team, I felt immediately very welcome at the tests,” said 50 year old Belgian racer Longin. “Other teams might have done more testing and got more information and data, but we made a lot of progress during the two days and also learned a lot.”
“Now we have to continue this way. But the most imported in to put all the energy, all our one hundred percent motivation, into the team and into the race, so that we will learn even more. We need a clever strategy for Silverstone – and then build onto the experience of this weekend for the next races.”
Both cars were present at the Paul Ricard preseason test in March, but it was a tough weekend for Race Performance. The LMP2 squad struggled to get to grips with the new Dunlop tyres, finishing 2.5 seconds off the pace and 13th quickest overall. But despite the issues encountered in the south of France, team boss Michel Frey is confident that Race Performance can still achieve a result at Silverstone.
“In France we still had a few problems to adapt to the new Dunlop tyres,” he said. “But we managed to use the weeks after the tests intensively and I am convinced that we will be able to show our usual strength at Silverstone.”
“In 2014 we had a real tight race here and finished second in the end, so I hope we can go on from there.”
The 4 Hours of Silverstone takes place on Saturday, April 16 at 14:30 local time.