– Thiriet By TDS Racing wins 4 Hours of Le Castellet
- JMW Motorsport wins LM GTE class
The Paul Ricard circuit in southern France hosted the fourth round of the European Le Mans Series (ELMS). The race result was a repeat of the last round, with Thiriet By TDS Racing and JMW Motorsport winning the race and GTE class respectively. The difference today was the change in championship positions with both teams moving into the lead of their categories.
Even pit-stops didn’t affect Thiriet By TDS Racing’s statistics with every one of the 124 laps being led by the French squad of Thiriet, Beche and Conway. A little luck benefitted the team when they were able to take advantage of a pit-stop during a full course yellow period, but it was the team’s flawless drive for the Oreca-Nissan that won the race. The team also took the point for pole position and Mike Conway set the fastest lap of the race. The BR01 of Coletti, Leal and Wirth finished in second place, one lap behind but it was third place that was the most closely contested. In the last hour both G-Drive Racing and Eurasia Motorsport held the slot, but at the line it was DragonSpeed’s Oreca that claimed the podium finish, the trio being separated by just seven seconds. Dunlop’s eight teams occupied the top eight in the classification, including the top two Ligier cars, which also set the fastest Ligier laps.
Four different teams led the GTE class, but it was JMW Motorsport (Ferrari 458 Italia) that led 90 of 111. The team conceded the lead as pit-stop strategies differed and it was only in the closing minutes when the Formula Racing Ferrari also needed a short fuel stop that JMW claimed the lead for the final time. Racing was so close that after four hours, all six finishers were on the same lap.
Teams opted for a mix of strategies to get the best performance in the heat and on the changeable track. Teams used medium, medium-plus and combinations, with LMP2 teams double stinting the tyres.
David Billingham, Dunlop Event Manager : « We had some very fast and consistent teams racing today and we couldn’t ask for more than the top eight in LMP2 and all our one-brand GTE finishers on the same lap at the end of the race. Apart from the drivers keeping it tidy and trouble free running, the differences between the teams came down to fuel strategies and we were able to provide different tyre combinations to suit each chassis and strategy choice. The championships are as close as ever so the next round could be key to deciding the title. »