Saturday, February 9, 2013

Single Audi R8 LMS ultra in European Le Mans Series

By Tarek Ramchani

The 2013 European Le Mans Series entry list was released by the ACO and Le Mans Endurance management. 29 cars have applied as full season competitors. The Audi brand will be back in the series for the first time since the R10 TDI era, this time in the GT division.

After a disastrous 2012 season with some races being cancelled and very poor grid numbers, the ELMS seems to be heading in the right direction again. One of the major changes for the competition this year is the addition of FIA GT3 cars. This category has long since been disallowed in Le Mans style racing, but now the GT3 cars will finally debut in the ELMS, racing in a special GTC class. Five GT3 cars have committed and will fight for the title, among them a single Audi R8 LMS ultra from Momo Megatron DF1. The Austrian team are debuting with Audi in international sportscar racing. The driver line-up is yet to be known. The rivals are two Ferrari 458, a Lamborghini Gallardo and a Porsche 911 GT3 R. The GTC series winner will be awarded by an automatic entry for the 2014 Le Mans 24 Hours in GTE Am class.

Five rounds are planned for 2013, with a new three hour race format. The season opener will be at Silverstone. Another Audi team has also shown interest in the British round. DragonSpeed from America are expected to field their Audi R8 LMS ultra, but this is yet to be confirmed. We also regret that the European Le Mans Series opener is clashing with another major series, the Blancpain Endurance Series at Monza. A clash preventing more possible Audi R8 LMS cars to join.

Photo credit: Downforce1