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Monza: Sunday Paddock Notes

DSC's news and notes from the pre-ELMS race action at Autodromo Nazionale Monza

YMR absentees

Yann Erlacher is not driving in the #19 M. Racing YMR Norma M30 this weekend, the Frenchman on WTCC driving duties aboard a Lada Vesta with RC Motorsport. His uncle/team principal Yvan Müller has also been absent from the ELMS meeting up until today, Müller also present in Hungary for the WTCC meeting, the four-time WTCC Champion currently works for the Polestar Cyan Racing as development driver and senior advisor for its factory Volvo programme.

#BillyWhizz on show at Monza

Multiple teams, including Optimum Motorsport and Nielsen Racing, in the Le Mans Cup paddock have been showing their support for F4 racer Billy Monger, who has just been released from hospital after his accident at Donington Park.

At the time of writing, the fund to raise money for his medical care has totalled an incredible £811,020 from 18764 donations.

Norma flexes its muscles

DSC believes that the M. Racing YMR Norma M30 was 6km faster in a straight line than its sister Ligier JS P3. A snippet of information heartily endorsed by a number of drivers in yesterday’s Michelin Le Mans Cup race, where the DKR Engineering Norma (above), proved mightily tough to pass.

“Even with the perfect exit from Parabolica, and a perfect tow, the Norma was pulling away from me in a straight line,” observed Alex Kapadia, from RLR M. Sport, as he tried and tried again to take the lead of the race from Jean Glorieux.

In addition to that, despite it coming close and eventually finishing second, the Norma M30 has had a successful weekend thus far at Monza in terms of results, racing in the Michelin Le Mans Cup. DKR Engineering scored the car’s first Pole Position in Europe on Friday and its first podium finish anywhere in the world in the race yesterday.

Mazzanti on display

LMP2 team Scuderia Villorba Corse has been showcasing a concept Mazzanti hypercar in the paddock this weekend as part of its technical partnership with the Italian automotive brand for this season.

The Mazzanti on display is a new Eventra, which is a development of the original Eventra from 2013.

Double duty

Two drivers are doing double duty this weekend, racing in the European Le Mans Series and Michelin Le Mans Cup. Alex Kapadia, is racing RLR MSport in both, yesterday finishing seventh after running as high as second in his stint after starting the race 14th.

Today’s race will mean that Wells’ last three LMP3 races have all been for different teams. United Autosports at Donington Park, Nielsen Racing in the Le Mans Cup and 360 Racing in today’s race.

Triple win for Nielsen

Nielsen Racing made it three LMP3 wins in a row yesterday, the British team winning the Le Mans Cup opener, and prior to that the pair of British LMP3 Cup races at Donington Park earlier this month (with the same car).

Colin Noble was driving for the team in its three wins too.

32 LMP3s descend on the Autodromo

This weekend’s paddock at Monza features the most LMP3 cars ever assembled at a race meeting, with 29 Ligier JS P3s and three Norma M30s across the Michelin Le Mans Cup and European Le Mans Series entries.

The still young prototype category continues to prove more and more popular around the world.

More on the Le Mans Cup penalty controversy

The Michelin Le Mans Cup season opener yesterday saw a number of teams dealt penalties during the race. Most controversially, the then GT3 race-leading #75 Optimum Motorsport Audi, which led from Turn 1 on Lap 1 onwards, until six minutes before the end, was handed a drive-through for a pit stop infirigment which had happened 54 minutes previously.

The team’s penalty was dealt for the team utilising the pit gantry and air bottles for the host team in the pit lane (the Le Mans Cup cars pitting outside ELMS garages). It was a move not permitted under regulations. In this case it provided no performance advantage, with a minimum pit-stop time of two minutes.

When asked by DSC why the penalty had taken so long to be communicated, a series spokesman replied that communication from local pit marshals had been slow. The British team’s irritation was principally down to the fact that its second driver Joe Osborne had spent his entire stint prior to the penalty, managing the gap to the chasing Phil Keen, with no indication that an infringement was even under investigation.

GTE BoP sees Aston Martin pegged back

For this weekend, the only BoP change in the GTE change went to the pair of Aston Martin Vantages, TF Sport and Beechdean AMR. Both cars received a 5kg weight break (1238kg), but a 1mm smaller air restrictor.

This after TF Sport dominated both Qualifying and the Race at Silverstone, taking its first ELMS class win in the process.

Corvette returns

Larbre Competition, which in recent years has competed in the World Endurance Championship’s GTE class, will become the first team to race a Corvette in the European Le Mans Series since Luc Alphand Adventures competed in the final season of GT1 at Spa Francorchamps back in 2010 (above) with a C6.R. That weekend the French fan favourite finished third in class with Julien Jousse, Stéphan Grégoire and David Hart.

This meeting also marks the first appearance for Fernando Rees with the Larbre team since the WEC finale back in 2013 at Bahrain. Rees was also part of the GTE Am championship-winning squad in the WEC the previous year.