Sunday night in Portimao saw the 2018 Champions in the European Le Mans Series and Michelin Le Mans Cup crowned, receive their trophies and the plaudits of their competitors in the end of season Gala.
LMP2 and Overall Champions G-Drive Racing plus full-season drivers Roman Rusinov and Andrea Pizzitola received the teams and drivers trophies respectively. They’re now also assured of an entry in LMP2 at the 2019 Le Mans 24 Hours.
So too are the 2018 ELMS LMP3 Champions, Nick Reynold’s RLR MSport and full season drivers Job van Uitert, John Farano and Rob Garofall, with their new ORECA 07 already testing the team from Bolton are already planning their 2019 ELMS and Le Mans campaigns, plus a likely outing at the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona.
GTE saw the #88 Proton Competition Porsche 911 RSR take the title, together with new Drivers Champions Gianluca and Giorgio Roda, the first ever Father and son combo to take an ELMS title.
With a pair of WEC entries, plus another auto entry for the 24 Hours of Le Mans class win this year in GTE AM already in the bag, could Christian Reid and co be set to enter all four of their 911 RSRs at Le Mans?
Second in GTE meanwhile, together with another coveted entry for Le Mans went to Jim McWhirter’s JMW Motorsport squad. Beyond the Champions (with DKR Engineering and Kessel Racing also receiving their Trophies for the Michelin Le Mans Cup Championships in LMP3 and GT3 (The GT3 winners another recipient of an Auto Le Mans entry) there were a number of special awards to announce:
The 2018 Team of the Year award went to Spanish ELMS Racing Engineering.
Racing Engineering took a win on their LMP2 debut at Le Castellet. With French trio Olivier Pla, Norman Nato and Paul Petit. A further podium followed in Austria with the #24 squad in title contention until the final race.
Rookie of the Year deservedly went to Dutch driver Job Van Uitert. In his first ELMS season Van Uitert helped steer RLR MSport to the 2018 LMP3 title with two victories and a second place at Spa along the way plus some standout performances in the Michelin Le Mans Cup. he’s set to be seen in LMP2 in 2019 with a number of teams interested in getting his signature on a contract!
The Gentleman of the Year award went to 360 Racing’s Terrence Woodward who, alongside fellow British driver Ross Kaiser, challenged for the LMP3 title all season, taking two podium finishes in 2018.
Woman of the Year award went to Ultimate’s race engineer Marie-Alice Lahaye. The French engineer an essential part of the young team’s three pole positions and podium finishes in LMP3.
The Man of the Year award for 2018 was presented to Gilles Duqueine of Duqueine Engineering, the team’s first year LMP2 effort a standout across the season, plus their investment in the Norma LMP3 project.