Picture © ELMS Adrenal Media
LM P3 - 25/11/2015 - Gaëlle CHOUTEAU
It is not very often that a new class of race car comes along and creates such an impact in its first season. The LMP3 class was introduced to the world at the Red Bull Ring in July 2014 and in April 2015 the new cars made their race debut at Silverstone.
British manufacturer Ginetta were the first to commit to new breed of Le Mans Prototypes and had five Nissan powered cars ready for the first race of the 2015 ELMS season. A second manufacturer, Ligier, unveiled their LMP3 contender at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with French team Graff giving the new chassis a stunning debut at the final race of the season in Estoril by finishing second.
In total 20 drivers and seven cars took part in the LMP3 category in 2015, which is set to grow in 2016.
No 3 Team LNT Ginetta-Nissan – 2015 Champions (93 Points)
Scottish duo Sir Chris Hoy and Charlie Robertson took four podium finishes from five races, including three wins at Silverstone, Red Bull Ring and Le Castellet, to take the inaugural LMP3 European title after just four races. Cycling’s golden boy Chris Hoy switched to car racing in 2014 after retiring from international cycling that saw the Scot win six Olympic gold medals and multiple world titles. His ambition is to race at Le Mans and the 2015 season in LMP3 was an important step on the road to racing in the world’s great motor race by 2017.
Along with his young teammate, Hoy was able to add the title of European Champion to his impressive sporting CV. Robertson’s first season in endurance racing was equally impressive and was awarded the ‘Rookie of the Year’ title at the end of season awards ceremony.
No 2 Team LNT Ginetta-Nissan – 2nd Overall (58 Points)
Team LNT were the only two car team in the LMP3 category with French driver, and Nissan GT Academy winner, Gaetan Paletou finishing his first year racing cars as Vice Champion. He shared the driving duties with Michael Simpson (Silverstone, Imola, Le Castellet and Estoril) and fellow GT Academy winner Mark Shulzhitskiy at Red Bull Ring. The result was three podium finishes including victory in the final race of the year in Portugal.
No15 SVK By Speed Factory Ginetta-Nissan – 3rd Overall (57 Points)
Spanish team SVK by Speed Factory narrowly missed out on the Vice Champions position by just one point. Konstantin Calko and Dainius Matijosaitis competed in all five races with Jesus Fuster joining them at every event with the exception of Le Castellet where his place was taken by Mirco Van Oostrum. The best placed finish for the Spanish team was 2nd in Italy followed by another podium in France and two 4th place finishes in the UK and Portugal.
No7 University of Bolton Ginetta-Nissan – 4th Overall (40 Points)
The British team run by students at the University of Bolton competed in two races in 2015. Rob Garofall and Jens Petersen scored a podium finish at Silverstone and the team then celebrated a win in Imola when Rob Garofall and Morten Dons took the chequered flag.
No5 Villorba Corse Ginetta-Nissan – 5th Overall (36 Points)
All Italian team Villorba Corse joined the LMP3 grid in Imola and Giorgio Sernagiotto and Roberto Lacorte took two second places at the Red Bull Ring and Le Castellet from the four races they competed in to finish 5th overall in the teams’ championship and 7th in the drivers’ classification.
No9 Graff Ligier JS P3-Nissan – 6th Overall (18 Points)
An impressive debut for the new Ligier JS P3 at the final round of the 2015 European La Mans Series in Portugal saw French team Graff, along with drivers Eric Trouillet, Garry Findlay and Thomas Accary, step onto the second step of the podium between the two Team LNT entries and ahead of newly crowned champions Chris Hoy and Charlie Robertson. Undoubtedly the Ligier will be a strong contender in 2016 with chassis builder Onroak reporting a lot of interest in the chassis from teams for next season.
No11 Lanan Racing Ginetta-Nissan – 7th Overall (16 Points)
Another British team that raced in the opening two events of the 2015 season with some success. Charlie Hollings put the car on pole position at Silverstone but the car failed to finish the 4-Hour race on home soil. There was better luck in Italy with Alex Craven and Mark Shulzhitskiy taking a hard fought third place finish.
LMP3 champions were offered a Nissan LMP2 test by the ACO. Sir Chris Hoy and Charlie Robertson drove the LMP2 winning car of Greaves Motorsport on November 2nd and 3rd in Estoril Portugal.
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