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4H Red Bull Ring: Pre-Race Paddock Notes

New faces and older faces, Norma LMP3 sales healthy, Patterson's pic and LMP2 set for further boost in 2019

GG’s pit walk

You can watch a pit walk with the DSC Editor, which forms a preamble to today’s 4 Hours of Red Bull Ring, below:

LMP2 set for further boost

A number of teams are known by DSC to have active plans to enter LMP2 next season in the ELMS with at least three teams not currently competing in the class known to have cars on order for 2019.

Aurélien Panis Joins IDEC For Silverstone

The son of Olivier Paris tested the #27 IDEC Sport Ligier JS P217 at the Red Bull Ring this week.

“I am really impressed by the car” said the Frenchman. “It’s the first time I have driven an LMP2. I’m used to driving fast cars but I have to say I was impressed with driving a closed cockpit car. I’ve enjoyed myself and I’m starting to understand how the car works”.

Panis will drive the Ligier at the 4 Hours of Silverstone.

“It’s a track I know well. I haven’t been there in 2 years so I’m catching up on race simulators. It’s a great tool to revisit the track. I’m really happy to have my first ELMS race there”

Speed Factory Racing tests a Ligier LMP2, targets Asian Le Mans LMP3 campaign

Owner and Founder of Speed Factory Racing Dalius Steponavic confirmed that his team was aiming for the Asian Le Mans Series in 2019. “We should be there with a Ligier LMP3 next season. We would love to switch to the LMP2 in 2020 but we first need to do well in LMP3. We are most definitely committed to that objective. Timur Bogusavskiy actually tested an LMP2 Ligier three weeks ago [at Estoril] and it went very well”.

Duqueine Engineering aims for the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the 24 Hours of Daytona

In discussion with DSC, Duqueine’s general director Yann Belhomme shared some of Duqueine Engineering and Norma’s plans for the near future.

“We have sold 31 Norma M30s so far. I am hopeful we can have a few Norma M30s competing in the Asian Le Mans Series this season,” he said.

“We are actually going to implement a technical support office in Asia very soon. But the market is tough. The Asian Le Mans series offers one of the last playgrounds for the older pre-2017 LMP2s. Prices have come down so much that drivers are tempted by that option instead of racing in the LMP3 category.”

Regarding Duqueine Engineering plans, Belhomme confirmed that two 24 hour races are on the agenda: “We are obviously thinking about the 24 Hours Of Le Mans. I would also love at some point for us to compete in the 24 Hours of Daytona. I have to be realistic: we won’t do both next year but this is something we will be aiming at.”

Alain Ferte Added to #19 Norma

Alain Ferte is another late addition to the ELMS Red Bull Ring line-up, the now 62-year-old Frenchman replacing Nicolas Ferrer in the #19 M Racing YMR Norma.

Ferte started at Le Mans 14 times and won the French Formula Renault Championship back in 1979 and is back in the paddock with the current European Series!

Patterson Palettery

Mark Patterson’s racing career could be set to hit the buffers in dramatic fashion, Mark’s artistic talents, his semi-caricature artwork, are a firm favourite at autograph sessions.

His efforts before the drivers briefing to capture the essence of Race Director Eduardo Freitas though look set to earn him a hefty stop and hold penalty:

“In the circumstances, I think a stop and 3-season hold would be appropriate,” said a source close to Eduardo who was handed the artistic effort via, a barely able to conceal his mirth, Yannick Dalmas.

“I thought I captured all of the essential elements,” said Patterson later, “at least when I am released from the penalty box I will definitely be the oldest ever Le Mans starter!”

Ultimate Targets Africa eco race

Ultimate’s Mathieu Lahaye indicated to DSC that his team was considering an entry in the Africa Eco Race Rallye Raid 2019.

The Africa Eco Race rally welcomes amateurs and professionals. It crosses the territories of Morocco, Mauritania and Senegal with an arrival at Lake Rose in Dakar. Ultimate’s car should be a Buggy.

How to follow

Today’s 4 Hours of Red Bull Ring is set to get underway at 12:00 local time in Austria. You can follow along the live coverage, with DSC Editor Graham Goodwin and the returning Jonny Palmer in the booth for comms, on the ELMS YOUTUBE CHANNEL.