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2017: DragonSpeed’s year of glory

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The finale of the European Le Mans Series this past Sunday in Portimão, Portugal highlighted the American team DragonSpeed, winning its very first title in the championship, represented by G-Drive Racing. For its second European campaign, the outfit led by Elton Julian entered two ORECA 07s, including one under the Russian flag (G-Drive Racing’s #07 ORECA). Yesterday, the team was crowned, demonstrating the continued progress that propels it to the forefront more and more with each race. The team is driven by shared motivation, passion and its motto “one team, one dream.” Beyond customer support, this is the measure of the bond that has been forged over the years between the ORECA teams and this multi-faceted outfit…

A long history with ORECA

Formed in the U.S., DragonSpeed is no newcomer to the discipline of Endurance racing. In 2016, the team decided to enter an ORECA 05 in the European Le Mans Series for the first time. In 2017, it entered two cars in the championship as well as the 24 Hours of Le Mans, for a first participation. For this tight-knit team, the simple fact of taking part in the legendary Endurance race was quite the dream come true, having had to settle for the waiting list in 2016.

Before that, the team from Florida competed in LM PC with an ORECA FLM-09, the genesis of its involvement with ORECA.

Choosing to move into LM P2, Elton Julian did not hesitate in opting for the ORECA 05. It was this level of confidence he repeated in 2017 when DragonSpeed became the first team to order – sight unseen – the ORECA 07.

The most French of the American teams

What also characterizes DragonSpeed is its international dimension. Though most team members are U.S.-born, one is in fact French. Paul is a mechanic and the right-hand man of “Noaksie,” the head mechanic who needs no introduction. On the driver side, Nicolas Lapierre has been a member of the team for two seasons. Nico brings his experience in the LM P2 class and relative to the ORECA chassis to the #21 car daily. Lastly, as of this season, the most of Marseille of sporting directors, Nicolas Minassian, also hails from Endurance racing and is a renowned former driver. Elton Julian himself is exceedingly familiar with France and its culture.

In terms of the drivers, the 2017 crew is representative of this international dimension: French, Swedish, Japanese and Mexican. As is its norm in selecting drivers, DragonSpeed chooses to bring together a variety of backgrounds and put its trust in youth. At the wheel of the #22 ORECA 07, Leo Roussel is the perfect example. At just 22, nothing predicted the young Frenchman would prove himself this year in LM P2. But that was without considering Elton Julian’s other assets! With two experienced drivers at his side, Leo gained momentum throughout the season, demonstrating his speed at each race and finishing on the top step of the podium.

If one was to summarize in a few sentences this new season for DragonSpeed, one could look no further than those expressed by Elton and Noaskie, last night, full of emotion after raising the trophy: “In any relationship, there are ups and downs, but it’s the long-run that counts. The car has been top-notch, the support throughout the season as well.”

What a wonderful way to sum up the season and express the remarkable passion, often unrelenting, that drives each member of the outfit. Without a doubt, the team will have new dreams for 2018, always in partnership with ORECA!