This weekend, 15 ORECA LMP2 chassis and one “innovative car” hit the track at the Circuit Paul Ricard for the 4 Hours of Le Castellet, third round of the 2021 European Le Mans Series. Intense final laps culminated in a first win of the season for pole-sitter G-Drive Racing’s Aurus 01, now a contender in the championship.
After successful free practices, the team took the pole in 1:42.166 thanks to Nyck de Vries. On the heels of a stunning battle with Louis Delétraz, the young Dutch driver qualified 0.157 seconds faster than championship leader Team WRT’s #41 ORECA 07, and 0.312 seconds quicker than United Autosports’ #22. The top nine ORECA chassis all qualified within the same second!
On Sunday, the start was given at precisely 11:00. While Team WRT’s #41 ORECA dominated the first half of the round, G-Drive Racing’s #26 continued to fight off United Autosports, Duqueine Team and Panis Racing who had taken the start on the fifth row. The classification changed throughout the four-hour race as a result of strategies, neutralisations and safety car deployment.
One hour from the chequered flag, United Autosports’ two ORECA 07s, G-Drive Racing’s #26 and Team WRT’s #41 were nearly neck and neck. However, a penalty for failure to respect a start procedure took the #41 out of the running.
This turn of events paved for way for G-Drive Racing and Vries/Colapinto/Rusinov to vie for victory the first time this season. After a masterful final stint, Nyck de Vries crossed the finish line with a 6.3-second lead on United Autosports’ #22. The #32 sister car rounded out the podium.
Serving as technical support for G-Drive Racing’s Aurus 01, the Algarve Pro Racing team now has its first win in the ELMS.
Duqueine Team also delivered an impressive performance at the 4 Hours of Le Castellet. Tristan Gommendy, René Binder and Memo Rojas secured a well-deserved fourth place finish ahead of Team WRT, still the championship leader.
Sixth overall, Racing Team Turkey’s #34 ORECA 07 shared by Salih Yoluc, Logan Sargeant, Charlie Eastwood and Harry Tincknell clinched its first win in the Pro/Am class despite contact with another car in the first hour. G-Drive Racing’s #25 and Cool Racing #37 claimed the second and third steps on the podium, respectively.
Algarve Pro Racing’s #24, Panis Racing’s #65 (a contender before suffering a tyre punctured by debris), IDEC SPORT Racing’s #28 and G-Drive Racing’s #25 finished the round in the top 10 and all ORECA chassis made it to the chequered flag.
The SRT41 crossed the finish line for the second time in as many races. The “innovative car” developed by ORECA Technology was driven by Pierre Sancinéna and paraplegic drivers Takuma Aoti and Nigel Bailly.
The fourth round of the 2021 ELMS season is set for 11 July at the legendary Monza circuit in Italy.