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Picture © Jakob Ebrey Photography

Trail Blazing Youngsters in ELMS

ELMS - 10/10/2018 - Jeff CARTER

At the 2018 4 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps United Autosports driver Phil Hanson stood on the top step of the podium alongside teammate Filipe Albuquerque to celebrate his first victory in the European Le Mans Series.

At 19 years 2 months and 18 days, Phil Hanson became the youngest driver to take an overall win in the ELMS, beating the record set by Russian driver Matevos Isaakyan after the 4 Hours of Le Castellet in 2017.  Isaakyan who in turn had only just beaten the record set by Swiss driver Hugo de Sadeleer four months earlier at Silverstone.

Since 2013 seven drivers aged 22 or younger have stood on the top step of the LMP2 podium with two, Harry Tincknell and Léo Roussel, also going on to become ELMS champions. 

Ryo Hirakawa, who raced with Léo Roussel and Memo Rojas, did help G-Drive Racing win the 2017 team title, but missed a couple of races so couldn’t be crowned drivers champion alongside Roussel and Rojas. Australian James Allen was 21 years old when he took his first of two ELMS wins at Spa in 2017.

The title of youngest ELMS winner goes to Kay Van Berlo, the 17-year-old Dutch driver who scored his debut LMP3 win at Monza in May this season with his Italian teammate Giorgio Mondini.  The previous youngest driver was 2015 LMP3 Driver’s Champion Charlie Robertson, who won the very first LMP3 race at the 2015 4 Hours of Silverstone alongside fellow champion Olympian Sir Chris Hoy at the age of just 18. 

Thomas Laurent was also another 18 year old winner in the LMP3 category, the young French driver taking victory at the 2016 4 Hours of Estoril. The ELMS Rookie of the Year is now racing in the FIA World Endurance Championship and stood on the overall podium at the 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The youngest winner in the LMGTE category in recent times is Matteo Cairoli.  The Italian took his first win in the category at the 2016 4 Hours of Estoril and is also a regular in the FIA WEC.

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