The ELMS has again gathered a healthy looking grid of GT cars, though the GT3 based GTC class has taken a nose dive this year, in part after some Balance of Performance complaints from last season.
Nevertheless close competition is assured, and not just because of the numerical dominance of Ferrari 6 in GTE, 3 in GTC.
Both classes feature one make Dunlop rubber this year with the boys in yellow preparing to bring new tyres to Slverstone after the Paul Ricard tests saw the GTC cars all too often top the GTEs, Was it just possible that nobody told the new tyre supplier that Michelin (who supplied all of the GTC cars last year) with different rubber for either class?)
LMGTE : 9 Cars
51 D AF Corse Peter Mann/ Raffaele Giammaria/ Matteo Cressoni Ferrari 458 Italia
52 D BMW Team Marc VDS Andy Priaulx/ Henry Hassid/ Jesse Krohn BMW Z4 GTE
55 D AF Corse Duncan Cameron/Matt Griffin/ Aaron Scott Ferrari 458 Italia
56 D AT Racing Alexander Talkanitsa/ Alexander Talkanitsa Jr/ Alessandro Pier Guidi Ferrari 458 Italia
60 D Formula Racing Johnny Laursen/ Mikkel Mac/ Andrea Rizzoli Ferrari 458 Italia
66 D JMW Motorsport George Richardson/ Robert Smith/ Sam Tordoff Ferrari 458 Italia
81 D AF Corse Stephen Wyatt/ Michele Rugolo/ Rui Aguas Ferrari 458 Italia
86 D Gulf Racing UK Michael Wainwright/ Adam Carroll/ Phil Keen Porsche 911 RSR
88 D Proton Competition Christian Ried/ Khaled Al Qubaisi/ Klaus Bachler Porsche 911 RSR
AF Corse field five of the six Ferraris on the GTE grid, three under the team name, plus the Formula Racing and AT Racing efforts.
Amato Ferrari’s regular roster of ridiculously rapid Pro drivers are evenly spread amongst the five with Matt Griffin again providing spice to the #55 car together with Duncan Cameron and the addition in 2015 of the rapid and reliable Aaron Scott, this is a trio to watch.
So too is the #81 crew of Aussie Steve Wyatt and his regular pro partner Michele Rugolo. Rui Aguas makes up the trio and this car will surely be in the mix.
The Talkanitsa father and son combo together with the very rapid Alessandro Pier Guidi will likely feature well up the points order too.
So too though might the Formula Racing boys, the Danish double stepping up from GTC in 2015 and joined at Silverstone not by the promised Andrea Piccini but instead Andrea Rizzoli.
JMW Motorsport are back again in 2015 with Jim McWhirter’s #66 Ferrari sporting a tweaked livery and a different looking driver line-up with 2014 man George Richardson joined by Touring Car racer Sam Tordoff and ex Carrera Cup GB man Robert Smith.
Beyond the teams fielding a Prancing Horse there are a trio of other full season GTE entrants:
The BMW Z4 GTE makes its European racing debut in the hands of BMW Sports Trophy Marc VDS team with Andy Priaulx bringing pace and star quality, Jesse Krohn adding further speed to the Guernseyman’s proven pace and Henry Hassid completing the trio in the race fresh Beemer, the #52 car an ex test car.
Gulf Racing UK returns with a single GTE car after Roald Goethe again opted for a WEC run in his Aston Martin V8 Vantage GTE.
Mike Wainwright though again brings his Porsche 911 RSR to the Series, and the #86 car is set to be a fan favourite once again. The car owner drives again and is joined once again by the mightily rapid Adam Carroll together with DSC favourite Phil Keen, Phil making his return to the ELMS after LMPC runs with Neil Garner Engineering and before that with Rollcentre Racing in an LMP1 Pescarolo! The two pros will be quick, much will depend on how much Mike Wainwright can squeeze out of his stints.
Last but fundamentally not lest is the #88 Proton Porsche of Messrs Ried, Al Qubaisi and Bachler, the trio doing double duty for both ELMS and FIA WEC at Silverstone, we’re waiting for confirmation as to whether this is with the same car or a second (or rather third) chassis!
GTC : 6 Cars
59 D TDS Racing Eric Dermont/ Dino Lunardi/ Franck Perera BMW Z4 GT3
62 D AF Corse Thomas Flohr/ Stuart Hall/Francisco Castellacci Ferrari 458 Italia GT3
63 D AF Corse Giorgio Roda/ Ilya Melnikov/ Marco Cioci Ferrari 458 Italia GT3
64 D AF Corse Mads Radsmussen/ Felipe Barreiros/ Francisco Guedes Ferrari 458 Italia GT3
68 D Massive Motorsport Casper Elgaard/ Kristian Poulsen/ Simon Moller Aston Martin Vantage GT3
85 D Gulf Racing UK Roald Goethe/ Daniel Brown/ Archie Hamilton Lamborghini Gallardo LP560 GT3
The sextet for Silverstone sees a trio of Ferraris matched against not only each other but also solo representatives of the BMW, Aston Martin and Lamborghini marques.
And again its AF Corse that fields the Ferraris, all three of them, making a total of 10 cars on the ELMS grid fielded nominally and/ or actually by this extraordinary team!
Perhaps the most interesting driver combination of the trio sees Thomas Flohr joined by a pair of drivers that will also feature in the FIA WEC, ex FIA GT3 drivers Champ. Francesco Castellacci and Stuart Hall doubling up in the #62 Ferrari and the Gulf Racing Aston in the WEC.
The #63 AF Corse car too looks likely to be pacey, Marco Cioci the Pro hand in the trio.
Alongside their LMP2 Oreca 05 TDS Racing will also field a GT3 spec BMW for Eric Dermont, Franck Perera and DIno Lunardi, Perera a rapid ex single seater racer, and Lunardi a long time GT3 racer with race wins and the 2011 ADAC GT Masters title on his racing cv.
Massive Motorsport are a new name, the all Danish squad fielding their Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 for ex historic racer Simon Moller alongside experienced hands Kristian Poulsen and Casper Elgaard.
For Silverstone there’s the addition of Gulf Racing UK’s GT3 spec Lamborghini Gallardo, Roald Goethe taking the opportunity to get more track time and circuit knowledge to boost his chances in the WEC race, the German joined by rapid Brits Dan Brown and Archie Hamilton.