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4H Le Castellet: Pre-Race Paddock Notes

Hot, hot, hot!

New temperature regulations enforeced

With temperatures soaring across the race meeting the Stewards have invoked a regulation to potentially restrict driving stint time for the LMP2 competitors if Saturday’s weather sees temperatures at concerning levels.

The move, which has come at the request of the teams will see a 90 minute stint restriction imposed if an official bulletin at 10am (for the first two hours of the race) and/ or at 12:00 (for the second half of the race) sees predicted temperatures exceed 32 degrees Celsius (or at the Stewards discretion).

F1 upgrades underway

The Paul Ricard circuit is already seeing upgrades to facilities ahead of the 2018 return of the French Grand Prix for the first time since 1990 (it has held the event 14 times).

Most notably the overspill car park (inside Signes Corner) has been fully paved, marked out for car parking and equipped with anchoring columns to support temporary structures for support races.

Double duty for Kapadia

Alex Kapadia had quite a day on Saturday, running at the front in Free Practice for the ELMS he then followed up by challenging for Pole position for the ELMS race, eventually finishing second in the order alongside fellow Radical racer Ross Kaiser (360 Racing) in an all-UK front row in LMP3.

The Michelin Le Mans Cup race saw Alex take the start, suffer a delay as he was caught up in an incident ahead of him on the grid, but fight bak from 14th position to challenge for the lead before the compulsory pit stops, handing the RLR MSport Ligier to Ross Warburton.

“He’s been fantastic,” said car owner Mike Smith. “It’s been a great effort all round but Alex has been a massive part in bringing this team from the middle of the grid to the front.”

Locals help out Rob Smith

JMW driver Rob Smith said thank you to a local restauranteur who had recovered a brand new bicycle stolen by local youths and owned by Rob’s wife, by presenting him with a bumper bundle of gifts, including a signed race suit. The gentleman concerned was astounded at the generosity of the gesture, even more so when informed by DSC that Rob was a reigning Champion at the Le Mans 24 Hours.

Airborne advertising

Saturday saw a respectable local crowd enjoying the combination of sunshine and on-track action, Paul Ricard always has good local support but there has been a push on publicity including airborne advertising!

Plenty of spares

In addition to the 43 LMP cars on the combined ELMS and Michelin Le Mans Cup entries there are a number of spare cars on site – Cool Racing, N’Race, Duqueine Engineering and Inter Europol all have spare LMP3s, Racing Team Nederland their second Dallara LMP2.

How to follow the race

You can watch today’s 4 Hours of Le Castellet live on the European Le Mans Series website with video and timing. The DSC editor and Johnny Palmer will be providing commentary for the race.

If you’re trackside or unable to get to a screen, the broadcast is also available on Radio Le Mans.

And of course check back here on DSC after the race for a post-race report and analysis.