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ELMS 4 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps 2018

The 5th round of the European Le Mans Series, took place at Spa-Francorchamps, with an attendance of 40 cars racing in the LMP2, LMP3 and GTE classes. Although Qualifying remained dry, rain was present throughout the weekend. On race-day a storm bringing extreme weather joined the party, which is why the race organizers decided to bring the race forward by 2 hours in a hope to avoid the worst.

The race started under a constant drizzle and with the safety car leading the pack to give the drivers a chance to familiarize themselves with the extreme conditions. After 4 laps under the safety car, they were released to find their own pace. After 100 minutes of racing and the 3rd safety car of the day out on track, the rain kept increasing. LMP3 driver Martin Hippe: "you could not even follow the Safety car, it was that slippery at the end" (GT-Eins)

The logical consequence was a red flag which was shown after 125 minutes of racing and would mean half points for all point scoring teams if the race was not resumed. Half an hour after the break it was announced that the race would not be restarted.

With this signaling the end of the race, the United Autosport Ligier duo of Phil Hansson and Filipe Albuquerque #22 takes the win before the Dragonspeed of Hendrik Hedman, Nicolas Lapierre and Ben Hanley and the Panis-Barthez Competition Ligier of Timothé Buret, Julien Canal and Will Stevens.

In the LMP3 class it was also a United Autosports team that took the win with the duo John Falb and Scott Andrews in the #2 Ligier in front of the #15 RLR Msport Ligier of Job van Uitert, John Farano and Robert Garofall. Third on the podium is the British 360 Racing Ligier team driven by Terrence Woodward and Ross Kaiser.

In the GTE class, the victory goes to the Ebimotors Porsche trio Fabio Babini, Riccardo Pera and Bret Curtis ahead of the #55 Spirit of Race Ferrari driven by Duncan Cameron, Matt Griffin and Aaron Scott and the #88 Proton Porsche driven by Gianluca Roda, Giorgio Roda and Matteo Cairoli.

With 55% of the race completed only half points were handed out. Under these circumstances, the 11th placed G-Drive (LMP2) trio of Roman Rusinov, Andrea Pizzitola and Jean-Eric Vergne were able to secure the 2018 ELMS championship title.

WEC 6 Hours of Silverstone 2018

As a big endurance racing fan, I watch all FIA WEC races, have been to the 24 Hours of Le Mans since the early 90s and even followed endurance racing through the 80s. So, when the request came through to photograph the Silverstone World Endurance Championship (WEC) event, I did not hesitate and took up this opportunity without blinking an eye.

It is a personal highlight in my photography career to cover such a high-level racing event and with F1 world champions such as Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button taking part it does feel really special.

The series features multiple classes of cars competing in 4 different categories. The LMP1 and LMP2 prototype classes are sure to provide plenty of action with high quality driver line-ups and fiercely fast cars.

The world class GTE Pro category is the playground of Porsche, Aston Martin, Ferrari, Ford and BMW and provides world class competitive racing too. Add to this a very strong LMGTE Am class with entries from Aston Martin, Ferrari and Porsche and things could not get any better!

I had a great weekend and enjoyed watching and documenting the race from close by. Pure adrenaline!

I am happy to share some of my photography from the 2018 Super Season Silverstone race and I hope you enjoy looking at them as much as I enjoyed taking them…

ELMS 4 Hours Silverstone 2018

Rendezvous at Silverstone Circuit for the ELMS and the FIA WEC Super Season weekend double header. This is the only time in the season that both series meet and in doing so provide a total of 10 hours of race action in one weekend (4 hours of ELMS and 6 Hours of WEC).

The 4 hours of Silverstone European Le Mans Series race took place on Saturday and was won by the G-Drive Racing (26) trio Roman Rusinov, Andrea Pizzitola and Jean-Eric Vergne. They proved once again to be unbeatable after their third victory in four races, strengthening their lead in the championship as their rivals struggled around them. Their closest rival Racing Engineering (24) crashed out due to a mechanical failure with half an hour to go promoting the Dragonspeed (21) trio Hendrik Hedman, Ben Hanley and Nicolas Lapierre to second place. The IDEC Sports (28) trio Paul Lafargue, Paul Loup-Chatin and Memo Rojas slipped to third place due to a splash & dash in the closing stages of the race.

In the LMP3 category, United Autosports (3) trio Anthony Wells, Garret Grist and Matthew Bell took the win, followed by the Ecurie Ecosse/Nielsen Team (7) of Colin Noble, Alex Kapadia and Christian Stubbe-Olsen. Third was the Ultimate Racing Norma M30 (17) of Matthieu and Jean-Baptiste Lahaye with François Heriau.

The GTE class delivered a dramatic finish, determined by 10 second time penalties for the two leading Ferraris and a collision in the last corner for the pursuing Proton Porsche driven by Matteo Cairoli. In the end the Proton Competition (88) Matteo Cairoli, Gianluca Roda and Giorgio Roda were beaten to the finish line by the British JMW Motorsport (66) Ferrari trio Miguel Molina, Liam Griffin and Alex MacDowall by a meager 0.124s.

Enjoy some of the race action from the ELMS weekend with a selection of photos captured throughout the weekend.

Also, stay tuned for a photo-reportage of the FIA WEC race that will be featured in a separate Blog Post.

 

 

ELMS 4 Hours of the Red Bull Ring

Set in the idyllic mountains of the Steiermark, the Red Bull Ring was host to the third round of the 2018 European Le Mans Series championship. This historic circuit (known as Zeltweg in the 70s) got a major revamp in recent years and is now an ultramodern and stunning racetrack with all the state-of-the-art facilities a racetrack can dream of.

Breath-taking views and ever-changing weather conditions added to the drama throughout the weekend and was a guarantee for exciting racing.

Top spot went to G-Drive Racing (26, Roman Rusinov, Jean-Eric Vergne, Andrea Pizzitola) followed by Racing Engineering (24, Norman Nato, Olivier Pla, Paul Petit) and United Autosports (22, Philip Hanson, Filipe Albuquerque) in third place. Winners in the LMP3 category were RLR MSport (15, John Farano, Job van Uitert, Rob Garofall) and Proton Competition (88, Gian Luca Roda, Giorgio Roda, Matteo Cairoli) took the LMGTE Class victory.

It has been more than 35 years since I last visited this circuit, and just like then, this weekend will remain etched in my memory. Fantastic!

The time-machine that is Le Mans Classic

Le Mans Classic is a real trip down memory lane in which all participants and spectators can live in the past for a few days. Each ‘Plateau’ represents a period of racing (20s through to the 70s) and joined together they create an impressive retrospective of the iconic 24 hours of Le Mans.

In addition to these old-timers, there was a strong representation of cars that have only recently vanished from our racetracks, like the Group Cs (1982 and 1993) and Global Endurance Legends (1990s and 2000s). This event showcases progress through time and seems to add bits of future to the past in an effortless manner. Whatever category you are watching, the sights and sounds are guaranteed to stir emotions and recall memories of a time gone by.

The Le Mans Classic event has been growing ever since its creation in 2002 and this year saw an attendance of 135 000 spectators, more than 700 historic racing cars and over 1000 drivers from 30 nationalities including 10 former winners of the 24-hour race. Two of the many highlights at this year’s event were the celebrations of Porsche’s 70th anniversary and the 40th anniversary of Alpine’s outright victory in the Le Mans 24-hour race.

To top it all off, the Sarthe region was blessed with beautiful weather all weekend. It really felt like you had stepped into a time-machine to relive each period in all its intensity making the dream that is Le Mans Classic perfect.