Gustavo Menezes Confirmed In #21 DragonSpeed Oreca For Red Bull Ring
Confirmed now in the revised entry list is Gustavo Menezes at DragonSpeed as their guest driver for the Red Bull Ring alongside Henrik Hedman and Ben Hanley, this Menezes’s first ELMS start since 2018.
The intention is for a different star driver to guest in the #21 at each race this season with Austria welcoming the Californian, 2016 WEC Champion and Le Mans 24 Hours winner in LMP2 and three times overall race winner for Rebellion Racing in the FIA WEC.
Menezes will race this season for Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus before moving to the new Peugeot Sport Hypercar effort in 2023.
Merhi Replaces Fittipaldi At G-Drive Racing by Algarve Pro
Pietro Fittipaldi will be replaced for the remainder of the 2021 European Le Mans Series, and at the Le Mans 24 Hours, starting from this weekend’s R2 at Red Bull Ring by Roberto Merhi.
Fittipaldi, grandson of two-time Formula 1 World Champion Emerson Fittipaldi, originally joined the Algarve Pro Racing roster for the entirety of the 2021 ELMS and Le Mans but with the condensed calendars for motorsport in 2021, courtesy of the continuing COVID19 response, the demands of his other racing commitments have made continuing in the #25 Aurus 01 impossible.
That has included changes in his schedule as official test and reserve driver at Haas F1 Team with additional IndyCar Series commitments as travel restrictions and isolation protocols continue to bite hard.
Roberto Merhi will, therefore, join John Falb and Rui Andrade in the #25 G-Drive Racing operated by Algarve Pro Racing Aurus 01 from this weekend.
“Unfortunately, I’m unable to continue racing with G-Drive Racing operated by Algarve Pro Racing because of conflicting dates,” said Fittipaldi. “The 24 Hours of Le Mans was moved to conflict with my IndyCar commitments, and the frequent date changes coupled with travel restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have made it difficult to continue with the ELMS and Le Mans.
“It’s disappointing and I wish I could carry on because we finished P2 in class in Barcelona, and I’m sure there’s more to come. It was great to work with John (Falb) and Rui (Andrade), but let’s see what happens in the future, because I’d love to have another opportunity to work with them and Algarve Pro Racing.”
Algarve Pro Racing Team Principal, Stewart Cox, said: “We’re naturally very disappointed to see Pietro (Fittipaldi) go because he’s been a pleasure to work with, he has already brought a lot to the team and I have no doubt he would have made a significant contribution to our overall 2021 European Le Mans season. We completely understand and respect the need to streamline his programme due to recent changes in the motorsport calendar. We’re currently living in very unusual, challenging times when you have to be adaptable and international travel is difficult, and there’s no workable solution in this instance. We wish Pietro all the best with his Haas F1 and IndyCar commitments and hope we have a chance to work with him again in the future.”
Grinbergas Back In The Driving Seat
News came yesterday afternoon of another late change for this weekend with Lithuanian 18 year old Gustas Grinbergas drafted in to substitute for fellow Lithuanian Julius Adomavicius in the #14 Inter Europol Competition Ligier JS P320 after Julius returned a positive PCR test result for COVID19.
For Grinbergas its a return to the ELMS paddock for the third time in a year after one-off appearances for BHK Motorsport and RLR MSport in 2020!