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4H Red Bull Ring: Pre-Race Notes

LMP2 plans, Le Mans hopes, Hayden remembered and potential storms!

Belicchi on the pace of the ORECAs

DSC caught up with Cetilar Villorba Corse driver Andrea Bellichi ahead of today’s race, to see how the Dallara has been this weekend at the Red Bull Ring.

“What we see here is that the Orecas are in a league of their own,” he said. “They are much, much quicker than all of us. They make a difference in the fast speed corners while we struggle with understear.

“With that said, in the Dallara we have an identical pace to the one of the Ligiers. I believe that if we are able to deliver a solid race while paying attention to our tyre degradation, then we have a good chance of standing on the podium or of ending in the top five positions.”

DragonSpeed pays tribute to Hayden

This weekend the #21 10Star DragonSpeed ORECA is sporting a tribute to the late Moto GP champion Nicky Hayden.

Team Principal Elton Julian decided to put the ‘Kentucky Kid’s #69 on the car because “he was just a beautiful human”.

Record-breaking Roussel

G-Drive Racing by DragonSpeed’s Léo Roussel became the youngest-ever ELMS Pole-setter in yesterday’s Qualifying session.

The 21-year-old Frenchman set a 1:18.435 in the #22 ORECA 07 Gibson, which broke the ELMS Pole record and remarkably was just six and a half seconds off Felipe Massa’s 1:11.977 set in 2016 F1 Qualifying at the Red Bull Ring. Massa’s lap – which was the slowest time of the three sessions – was in Q3 and put the Brazilian 10th on the grid.

Duqueine Engineering promotes Lundberg from karting to LMP3

Team manager Yann Belhomme confirmed to DSC that today’s 4 Hours of Red Bull Ring is driver Douglas Lundberg’s first in a car.

Lundberg’s only experience comes from Go-Karting last season prior to driving the #8 Ligier JSP3.

“They reach an incredible level of preparation in go-karting nowadays” said Belhomme. “Douglas discovered the car a little less than a week ago. He is up to the challenge after testing on our track in Ales (France) and also after going through 14 hours of training simulator.”

His teammate Lucas Legeret was also driving Go-Karts last season. The Swiss was granted the right to drive a car on his 16th birthday two months ago. He won his first LMP3 race last month at the VdeV 4 hours of Dijon alongside Gilles Duqueine and Nelson Panciatici.

Eurointernational considering LMP2 for 2018

Eurointernational’s team manager Antonio Ferrari has told DSC that the American team is considering an entry in the LMP2 category of the ELMS next season.

“The Ligiers JSP3 are no longer the best cars in LMP3. Rather than investing into new LMP3 cars, we are considering the purchase of an LMP2. This is something we should be able to confirm next September. We would race it in the European Le Mans Series and Le Mans. I am still talking with various manufacturers but our lead case is an Oreca 07. Our plan is to start testing it next fall while in the meantime, we would have our JSP3s race in America.”

Ultimate evaluating Le Mans debut as early as 2018

Mathieu and Jean-Baptiste Lahaye of LMP3 team Ultimate have always said they would race in the ELMS with the ultimate goal of driving together, one day, in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

“We are still working on that project,” Mathieu said. “We are considering an entry in 2018 or in 2019. We want to do things right and not rush. 2018 still looks achievable. Right now, we are looking at the possibility of entering a car in the 36 Hours of Florida next season – that would be a perfect training ground for us.

“We are also considering a full-season entry in an international championship but this is depending upon the budget we will get”

Storms on the horizon?

The weather this week in Spielberg has been up and down to say the least, with multiple rain and thunderstorms hitting the local area. So far the on-track action has all been in the dry, though that looks set to change today.

At the time of writing, the weather forecast for the local area shows scattered thunderstorms, with the chances of rain increasing from 20 percent to 80 towards the end of the race.

“The weather is really an enigma for the race,” DragonSpeed’s Nicolas Lapierre told DSC. “We know that things can change fast here – it will be complex to manage. What we will do is to wait till’ the very last minute to figure out our setup on the car.”

How to follow the race

Today’s 4 Hours of Red Bull Ring is set to get underway at 13:00 local time. You can stream it live HERE or listen to the audio live at radiolemans.co.