On the 3 Hours of the Red Bull Ring, no less than ten ORECA chassis will be in action.
Following a month of June dedicated to the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the European Le Mans Series returns to action in Austria for the third round : the 3 Hours of the Red Bull Ring, where no less than ten ORECA chassis will be in action !
Expectations will be high for Thiriet by TDS Racing, current points leader, Race Performance, in close pursuit, and also Boutsen Ginion Racing, Murphy Prototypes, SMP Racing and Signatech-Alpine.
In the LM PC class, four ORECA-FLM 09 are entered, three for Team Endurance Challenge and one for new entrant, Algarve Pro Racing Team.
Thiriet by TDS Racing and Race Performance running up front…
With a third place finish at Silverstone and win at Imola, Thiriet by TDS Racing leads the European Le Mans Series. After a difficult 24 Hours of Le Mans, with accidents in qualifying and in the race, the French team will be looking to rebound with their title defense. Pierre Thiriet, sole leader in the Drivers points standings, will be joined by Mathias Beche.
"Naturally, I’m happy to be rejoining the team" explains the Swiss driver who took part in the 24 Hours of Le Mans with REBELLION Racing. "We had a good performance at Imola, but we haven’t had as much running time compared to our direct competitors. We’ll have to be very efficient when it comes to the car’s setup : we found a few interesting avenues during the last race meeting, it’s now up to us to capitalise on them.
We’re up against solid driving squads and we’re expecting a very competitive race. As for us, I’m convinced that we still have some progression to make. As always, we’re going into this race with one objective : the win !"
Currently second in the championship, with second and fourth place finishes in the ELMS and a top 10 at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Race Performance will be looking to conserve its place in the top three in the general classification. The Swiss team, currently even in points with Signatech-Alpine, will stay with a 100% Swiss driver lineup composed of Michel Frey and Patric Niederhauser – a mix of experience and youth that has paid off since the start of the season.
Boutsen Ginion Racing : The Austrian advantage with Dominik Kraihamer
Currently fifth in the championship, Boutsen Ginion Racing will be using a new driving squad: German racer Thomas Holzer will join Austrian driver Dominik Kraihamer. Teammates in the FIA World Endurance Championship, the two men will be looking to race up front.
For Dominik Kraihamer, who will be racing on home soil, it will be somewhat of a return to the source since he drove the ORECA 03 for the same Belgian team in 2011, with several podiums to show for it.
"I’m happy to be racing in my own country and, ironically, it will be one of the first times » explains Dominik. « I’ve never driven at the Red Bull Ring, a circuit where the traffic will be difficult to manage and where the start will certainly be exciting.
I know Boutsen Ginion Racing and the ORECA 03 well. I know how competitive the car can be, and Thomas is a very good driver. We’re capable of putting in good laptimes, and it will be up to us to find the right settings to get an excellent result."
Objective win for Murphy Prototypes
Consistently competitive since the start of the season, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans where the team had an impressive climb back through the running order, Murphy Prototypes is looking ahead to the third round of the ELMS with ambition and a pair of drivers who will likely be included in the list of favorites.
New Zealander Brendon Hartley, test driver for Mercedes F1, will join Swiss driver Jonathan Hirschi. "We are truly excited to arrive at the Red Bull Ring" declares Greg Murphy, the team boss. "As planned, Mark Patterson is held up by his professional duties. So we’ve replaced him with Jonathan, who is a good driver, who was highly recommended to me.
As for Brendon, he’s simply the best. With this driver lineup, we’re looking for the win and we have a good chance to be fighting for the top spot. I’m hoping that our unlucky streak is behind us and that we’ll be in a position to capitalise on the speed and performance that we’ve shown so far."
SMP Racing in discovery mode
Already present in the GTC class, with a win at Imola, SMP Racing will also be racing in LM P2. The team entered under the Russian banner will be entering one ORECA 03 for drivers Serguey Zlobin and Maurizio Mediani. The team will be discovering the top class of the ELMS.
"We want to gain experience in the LM P2 class in order to prepare for the future. We want to race in the 24 Hours of Le Mans" explains Serguey Zlobin. "Our wish is to take part in the remaining races while testing several different drivers. We had two days of testing at Vallelunga and I think the ORECA 03 is a fantastic car. I’m very happy. Like all the drivers at the start, we’ll be looking to win."