G-Drive Racing Changes Controversial ELMS Line-up Amid Backlash

G-Drive Racing will field a silver-rated driver in 2018 alongside Vergne and Rusinov
Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography

G-Drive Racing has announced they have dropped Matthieu Vaxiviere from their driver line-up for the 2018 European Le Mans Series season in favour of a silver-rated driver ‘for the good of the championship’.

The team had initially announced Vaxiviere alongside Jean-Eric Vergne and Roman Rusinov, with all three drivers either gold or platinum-rated, while ELMS rules require at least one silver or bronze-rated driver per car.

G-Drive had been looking to exploit one of the new rules within the sporting regulations in 2018, which allows teams to request special dispensation to run driver line-ups outside those regulations, but following criticism from many of their rivals, they have now backtracked on their decision.

“In the interests of everyone, we have agreed with the ACO and the ELMS that we will run a silver,” said G-Drive technical director David Leach to Motorsport.com.

“The regulation is there and as a team you always want to do what is best for you, but there is a bigger story. G-Drive has been committed to ACO championships since 2012 and we want to do what is best for everyone and have a healthy relationship with our competitors.”

The team are now looking into their silver driver options, and rumours that Giuliano Alesi, the son of former Formula 1 racer Jean and a current star of GP3 Series, is in contention having tested G-Drive’s Oreca-Gibson 07 LMP2 earlier this week.

“He’s a young kid with a lot of potential, he went very well considering his level of experience and that it was his first time in a car with that level of performance,” said Leach. “He’s a candidate for the ELMS, along with anyone else who is a silver or a potential silver.”