Highly competitive European Le Mans moves to Belgium for penultimate round
- Close competition has seen only one car take more than one pole position & only one car take more than one win in LMP2 & GTE
- Dunlop using WEC learnings to specify compounds
- Lap times expected to be significantly faster than 2016
- Race set to narrow down title contenders
- Dunlop seeking 16th consecutive win
With just two races remaining, all eyes are on the title battles in the European Le Mans Series (ELMS). Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium hosts the fifth round of six in the series on 24th September. Sixteen cars will again be competing on Dunlop tyres in the four-hour race.
In the top LMP2 class, seven of the 12 contenders are still in the title race, six choosing to race on Dunlop tyres. Only United Autosports has so far this season won more than one race, with six different squads having shared the podium. For this race the teams will have the choice of the soft and medium-plus compounds. Dunlop LMP2 cars have already competed at the track this season in the World Endurance Championship (WEC) and the tyre engineers were able to use the performance to specify the most appropriate specifications for the ELMS round. The options both have wide operating windows and the allocation optimises tyre strategies for the track renowned for varied weather conditions. The same two compounds performed at track temperatures of 50 degrees in Texas last weekend in the WEC and have already shown strong performance at Spa in the same series earlier this year at lower temperatures.
G-Drive Racing (Oreca) is currently leading the standings with United Autosports (Ligier) and the #39 Graff (Oreca) the closest challengers. The 2016 race was won by Dragonspeed, a car which has claimed two pole positions this year but is yet to score a 2017 victory.
The all-Dunlop LMGTE class is still wide open too, with all six contenders capable of claiming the title. Only the #55 Spirit of Race Ferrari has claimed more than one win but it is the TF Sport Aston Martin that tops the standings as the only squad to have scored a podium finish at all four rounds to date. JMW Motorsport, currently second in the standings, were winners in 2016. The same soft and medium option tyres will be available at Spa as were nominated at Paul Ricard last month.
Lap times are expected to be faster than last year with the new cars and development tyre specifications in LMP2 and the cascaded development/ confidential tyre range now specified in the LM GTE class.
A Dunlop win at Spa would continue a winning-streak, with 15 consecutive Dunlop ELMS victories to date.
The European Le Mans Series 4 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps starts at midday local time on Sunday 24th September.
Entry list including Dunlop teams can be found here
James BaileyEMEAUnited Kingdomjames@clivereeves.com44 790 4114 414