A total of 40 cars will take part in the fourth round of the European Le Mans Series at Le Castellet in the south of France on August 28.
The increase of two from the previous round in Austria is caused by the return of IDEC Sport Racing to the LMP2 ranks and the debut of Tockwith Motorsports in LMP3.
After finishing ninth at the Paul Ricard 24 Hours, IDEC Sport Racing returns to the same 3.6 mile circuit with its Judd powered Ligier JSP2. Patrice Lafargue, Paul Lafargue and Dimitri Enjalbert were all part of that lineup, and will resume the team’s ELMS campaign at the same circuit.
One notable driver change to the LMP2 entry list concerns Thiriet by TDS Racing, winner of the two previous rounds with its ORECA 05-Nissan. Japanese protege Ryo Hirakawa, who has been a regular this season, is cup-tied with the Suzuka 1000 km Super GT event and will be off the card at Le Castellet.
In his place is listed Toyota LMP1 driver Mike Conway, whose last LMPLMP2 drive came in the 2013 World Endurance Championship with G-Drive Racing. Conway will partner Mathias Beche and Pierre Thiriet, as the French team aims to close the gap to G-Drive at the top of the overall standings.
Algarve Pro Racing is another LMP2 team sporting an altered driver lineup, as Italian Andrea Roda comes in to replace Britain’s Michael Munemann. Roda is no stranger to the Algarve Pro team, having raced the light blue Ligier JSP2-Nissan on three occasions in 2015.
In LMP3, the big news is the addition of a new entry to the championship, with British outfit Tockwith Motorsports committing to the final three rounds of the season.
The team had initially campaigned an Audi R8 in the ELMS-supporting Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup this season, but from Le Castellet onwards the focus will switch to prototypes, with a Ligier JSP3-Nissan listed for Nigel Moore and Philip Hanson.
Italian squad Eurointernational, which welcomed World Endurance Championship star Roman Rusinov to its ranks at the Red Bull Ring, will give a series debut to 18 year old Dutch driver Rik Breukers who has notched up race wins in the 2016 Lamborghini Super Trofeo. Breukers has also made a smattering of 24 hour race appearances; his most recent being at Paul Ricard in August.
All eight cars that started the LMGTE season will appear at Le Castellet, with three driver alterations to note.
The most significant change occurs in the AT Racing Ferrari 458 Italia, which leads the class championship. World Endurance Championship race winner and platinum driver Davide Rigon, who is vying for the GTE title with AF Corse team-mate Sam Bird, will join the Austrian squad for its visit to France. Rigon replaces fellow Italian Alessandro Pier Guidi in the roster, and will share the car with father/son duo Alexander Talkanitsa Sr and Jr.
Defending series champion and 4 Hours of Le Castellet winner Formula Racing has also made a swap, with Christina Nielsen unable to race owing to a clash with the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship event at Virginia International. Filling Nielsen’s shoes will be Formula Racing single seater protege Mikkel Jensen, who is currently plying his trade in the European Formula 3 Championship.
Also, in the Proton Competition camp, 25 year old German ADAC Masters driver David Jahn will make his ELMS debut with the team. Jahn will share the #88 Porsche 911 RSR with Gianluca Roda and Christian Ried.