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4H Spa-Francorchamps: Friday Paddock Notes

News and notes ahead of the first on-track action in Belgium

Second GT3 withdrawal in Le Mans Cup

There’s been a further withdrawal from the Michelin Le Mans Cup, the Ram Racing Mercedes AMG GT3 not making the trip. Driver Ramon Vos is unable to race after an unavoidable last-minute commitment. Efforts to find a late replacement for the car owner, have proved unsuccessful.

This leaves just four cars in the GT3 class, after Optimum Motorsport announced that it would not be taking part in the remaining rounds of the season due to health issues for driver Flick Haigh prior to the event.

Hirschi back in a P2

Johnathan Hirschi is set to race the #39 GRAFF ORECA, replacing Eric Trouillet. It will be the first race in the ELMS for Hirschi since last year, when he raced with Algarve Pro Racing, three times in the season.

This year, Hirschi has been racing in the WEC with CEFC TRS Manor Racing in the LMP2 class, though the Swiss has not raced with the team since the round at the Nürburgring. Since then the team has been racing with a new line-up in its #24 07 Gibson, with ex-Alpine pilot Matt Rao, Ben Hanley and Jean-Eric Vergne taking the wheel at Mexico City and Circuit of The Americas.

This means that this year he will have raced in all three ACO-sanctioned series’ featuring LMP2 machinery. He also competed with Algarve Pro Racing in the 2016/17 Asian Le Mans Series season.

Another man in multiple ACO series here this weekend, is William Lok, team principal of WIN Racing, all set for a full season of the Asian Le Mans Series in his Asian Le Mans Sprint Cup-winning Ligier JS P3. He joins the Michelin Le Mans Cup field for the second time this year – racing with Richard Bradley at GRAFF – after taking part in the Road To Le Mans earlier this year.

Minassian returns to sporting director role

Nic Minassian is present once again as sporting director at DragonSpeed after stepping back in the driving seat of the #22 G-Drive Racing by DragonSpeed ORECA at Red Bull Ring and Paul Ricard in place of Super GT-tied Ryo Hirakawa.

This will be his second weekend in a row at Spa, after a successful trip to Francorchamps for the pilot Endurance Legends series last weekend, where he raced an ex-factory Peugeot 908 once again.

The meeting featured LMP1, LMP900, LMP2, GT1 and GT2 cars, Sean Doyle in a Murphy Prototypes ORECA 03 winning the race. Also on the grid was ELMS contestant Morten Dons, who raced a Ferrari 575 GTC owned by Mike Smith, the owner of the Ligier JSP3 which he races with Alex Kapadia and John Farano in the current series.

There will be a full race report on DSC later today.

Facebook live

DSC editor Graham Goodwin caught up with Matt Griffin, Wayne Boyd and Georgio Sernagiotto ahead of this weekend’s event on Facebook live, discussing all manor of things to do with the race to come.

You can watch it below:

Pit layout

The ELMS grid is pitted in the F1 pits this weekend, with the Michelin Le Mans Cup contenders in the lower pit lane.

Featured image courtesy of European Le Mans Series