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Silverstone Preview: Brave New LMP2 World

Norma Arrive in LMP3 - 2016 GTEs Mix it with 2015 Porsche and Ferrari

The entry list for the opening round of the 2017 European Le Mans Series at Silverstone has been revealed and features 35 cars.

The LMP2 category will feature 12 cars, one car less than was announced this winter by the ACO. The missing car is the SMP Racing Dallara, which was also absent from the Monza Prologue.

It will be the inaugural race of the new 2017 spec-LMP2 cars in Europe, including the Gibson-powered Oreca 07, Ligier JSP217 and Dallara P217; only the Riley/Multimatic chassis will not feature. Six new teams will be joining the LMP2 category this season: Racing Team Nederland, United Autosport, Tockwith Motorsport, Graff Racing, Celtilar Villorbe Corse and High Class Racing.

The driver lineups are essentially identical to the ones that appeared in the Prologue at Monza. The only exception is the IDEC Ligier JS P217. As announced this past winter, David Zollinger will drive alongside Paul and Patrice Lafargue for this race and the 24 Hours of Le Mans only. FIA WEC Ford factory driver Olivier Pla will be the third driver for all the other ELMS races.

As for LMP3, three new teams will enter the category: Cool Racing by GPC, AT Racing and Oregon Team. This is the first race with at least two manufacturers (Norma and Oak Racing/Ligier) since the ELMS 4 Hours of Estoril back in 2015.

Despite concerns related to a massive shunt at Monza, Yvan Muller Racing will be present with the Norma M30 but minus driver Gwenael Delomier, who is still recovering from his injury. Taking his place for the weekend will be Formula Motorsport driver Erwin Creed.

The class’ other lineups unchanged since Monza except for Italian team Eurointernational which confirmed that Marco Jacobini and Ricardo Dona would be joining Andrea Dromedari on the #12 Ligier JSP3. Jacobini was already a driver for Eurointernational last season.

In the LMGTE category, two new teams will enter the competiton: Michelin Le Mans Cup champion TF Sport and Spirit of Race (aka AF Corse). The latter will enter two Ferrari 488 GTEs – a car that has never raced in the ELMS until now.

JMW will enter its Ferrari 458 Italia once more this season with recently confirmed Jody Fannin and 2016 ELMS LMGTE vice-champions Robert Smith and Rory Butcher.

Proton Competition meanwhile will only have one Porsche 911 RSR at Silverstone, for Matteo Cairoli, Christian Reid and Joël Camathias. This came as a surprise a two cars were initially announced on the first provisional list.

Finally, Beechdean Aston Martin will return to defend its title with a Vantage driven by AMR factory driver Darren Turner, Andrew Howard and young British GT graduate Ross Gunn who is set to impress further.