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Wednesday Paddock Notes, From ELMS & Michelin Le Mans Cup

RLR Add Third Driver

Ryan Harper-Ellam has joined Malthe Jakobsen and James Dayson in the #15 RLR Sport Ligier JS P320 LMP3 car for this weekend’s 4 Hours of Le Castellet.

Silver-graded Harper-Ellam from the UK has seen gaps in his racing career due to a lack of funding but had a breakthrough via the 2018 Radical Sportscars Scholarship, taking every pole position and pole positions and winning eight of the 12 races he contested.

After an aborted GT Cup campaign in 2019, he joins the team for a current one-off effort.

“To have an opportunity to race in the European Le Mans Series is very exciting and I’m so grateful to RLR MSport and my partners,” said Harper-Ellam. “It will be amazing to be back in a car and feel pre-race nerves and excitement, and I’m looking forward to blowing off the cobwebs, particularly after this period of lockdown.

“Getting to this point has been hard work, but I’m going into this weekend with an open mind and a focus on doing a good job for RLR MSport. My new teammates, Malthe (Jakobsen) and James (Dayson), have been doing so well in testing thus far, suggesting we will be capable of achieving a good result here in Le Castellet.”

RLR MSport Director of Motorsport Operations, Nick Reynolds, said: “As things stand this will be a one-off outing for Ryan, but we sincerely hope he’s able to find the support to remain with us for the duration of the 2020 season.”

Potential Longer 2020 ELMS Race Rejected by Teams

A proposal from a number of ELMS teams for the 2020 Series to feature a longer race during the season, to partially offset track time lost with the reduction from the initial calendar of 6 x 4-hour races was rejected in a vote by Team Managers on Wednesday evening DSC understands.

Sources suggest that to make the change LMEM would have required a unanimous decision, the vote apparently produced a majority against the proposal.

New Colours For Proton Porsches

Amongst the new colours seen on track for the first time at Paul Ricard yesterday were the 2020 liveries of the #77 Dempsey-Proton and #93 Proton Competition 911 RSRs.

Michelin Le Mans Cup Runners Arrive

Wednesday morning at Paul Ricard and the 2020 Michelin Le Mans Cup runners are setting up ahead of their test day tomorrow.

Amongst the early arrivals were new to LMP3 Rinaldi Racing with their pair of Duqueine D08s and Muehlner Motorsport with one car slated to race and a second unbranded car available for any willing customer.

Cool Racing and United Autosports were early arrivals too with two Ligier JS P320s apiece (plus the now withdrawn #22 United car).

On the GT front, the trio of Iron Lynx Ferraris were lined up ready to go.

o too was the very brightly liveried IDEC Sport AMG GT3 and the recently announced Porsche Centre Oberer Zürichsee/ TFT Porsche.

Multiple drivers will be contesting both the ELMS and Michelin Le Mans Cup this weekend: Claudio Schiavoni and Andrea Piccini at Iron Lynx, Tony Wells and Colin Noble, Rob Hodes and Garett Grist at Nielsen Racing, and Wayne Boyd at United Autosports

Whilst Cool Racing, Nielsen Racing, United Autosports, Kessel racing, Iron Lynx, Graff and IDEC Sport are all contesting both the ELMS and Michelin Le Mans Cup this weekend, Cool Racing has also added a single car effort in the Ligier European Series.

Newcomer team M2VS meanwhile has representation in Le Mans Cup and the Ligier Series as do returning Le Mans Cup equip CD Sport (pictured top).

Erdos back In The Saddle

Thomas Erdos was expecting to sit out the season after finding no seat at United this year.

After months of domestic lockdown, the now bronze-ranked over 50 year old was stunned to get the call up from EuroInternational’s Antonio Ferrari for his title-defending LMP3 effort.

“The call came on Saturday and whilst I’d had a few conversations the signs really weren’t there that I would be called up, I’m pretty amazed actually, this looks likely to be a full season seat if things go well.”

The ex-double LMS and Le Mans 24 Hours class Champion got his first laps in a 2020 spec LMP3 yesterday:

“It’s a fundamentally better car, I just need to get as fit as possible and train hard for the rest of the year.”

News Awaited On Plan For Richard Mille Racing

There’s no news yet of the plan for the coming weekend for Richard Mille Racing in the wake of the serious accident that befell Katherine Legge in the morning session.

Katherine is in hospital in Toulon with surgery required on a broken left leg. The initial report of a broken right wrist happily incorrect, Katherine herself feeding back that it is badly sprained.

The #50 Oreca will need to be replaced if the team is to race, terminal damage was done to the chassis to allow the extraction team to remove Katherine safely from the car.

Reports suggest that team boss Philippe Sinault has a plan to get the team to the grid, though it is not yet clear whether that involves a replacement driver for Katherine and/ or a change of plans for Sophia Floersch, who will race at all other ELMS rounds (plus Le Mans) with the squad this season, but has a clashing race with FIA F3 in Hungary this weekend.