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ELMS – 4 Hours of Silverstone

66 Ferrari 458 GT2 s/n 2808 JMW Motorsport Yellow-Black-Red Met' R. Smith _  J. Fanin _  R. Butcher 28th 5th

66 Ferrari 458 GT2 s/n 2808 JMW Motorsport Yellow-Black-Red Met' R. Smith _ J. Fanin _ R. Butcher 28th 5th


Silverstone, 15 April, 2017

The first round of the 2017 European Le Mans Series was held on a bright but blustery Saturday afternoon at the Silverstone circuit, with the title 4 Hours of Silverstone. It was part of a seven race programme, which also included FIA F3 and World Series Formula V8 3.5 races in the schedule as a prelude to the main FIA WEC 6 Hours of Silverstone race on the Sunday afternoon. There were 12 entries in the LMP2 class, 17 in the LMP3 class and 6 in the LMGTE class, the latter comprising of a trio of Ferraris, a pair of Aston Martins and a single Porsche.

The qualifying sessions saw the # 21 DragonSpeed entered Oreca 07-Gibson of Hedman / Lapierre / Hanley claim the overall and LMP2 pole position, just 0.274sec quicker than the # 32 United Autosports entered Ligier JSP217 of Owen / De Sadeleer / Albuquerque. In the LMP3 division the class it was the # 9 AT Racing entered Ligier JS P3-Nissan of Talkanitsa / Talkanitsa Jr. / Jensen that claimed pole position, with the similar # 2 United Autosports entry of Falb / Rayhall 2nd quickest. In the LMGTE division the pair of Aston Martin V8 Vantage models locked out the front row of the class, with the # 90 TF Sport entry of Yoluc / Hankey / Thim just 0.197sec quicker than the # 99 Beachdean AMR entry of Howard / Gunn / Turner.

The pole sitting # 21 DragonSpeed Oreca started by Ben Hanley led the early part of the race, and set the fastest lap of the race during his stint with a lap in 1min 47.474secs, which was a new LMP2 lap record for Silverstone. Unfortunately, shortly after handing the car over to Henrik Hedman he had a spin and dropped down the order. The real star of the early part of the race was Richard Bradley in the # 40 Graff Oreca, as qualifying problems had seen the car start 28th on the grid, but within the first hour of the race he was in the lead. He handed the car over to Franck Matelli, who couldn’t fend off the attentions of first Matt McMurray in the # 25 Algarve Pro Racing Ligier-Gibson, and then Leo Roussel in the # 22 G-Drive Racing Gibson, who then passed McMurray to take the lead on the 60th lap. At around half distance the positions in the other classes were a 1-2 for United Autosports in the LMP3 category, with Sean Rayhall in the # 2 car leading Christian England in the # 3 car comfortably. The LMGTE class leader was the # 77 Proton Porsche, after the previously leading # 90 TF Sport Aston Martin was clipped into a spin by the # 51 Ferrari, which also spun in unison

There were fraught battles throughout the race right through the field, but none more so than in the closing stages, when the leading # 22 G-Drive Racing Oreca driven by Ryo Hirakawa was being hunted down relentlessly by the Ligier JSP217-Gibson driven by Filipe Albuquerque, which was some 30secs behind with around 15mins remaining. However, the G-Drive car’s tyres were past their sell-by date, and the gap was tumbling lap by lap, such that starting the penultimate lap the Ligier was right with the Oreca and there was nothing that Hirokawa had left in reserve to fend off Albuquerque who made a clean pass and went on to victory by 6.339secs. The final podium spot went to the # 49 High Class Racing entry of Andersen / Fjordbach, in the Danish team’s first race in the series.

Victory in the LMP3 class went to the # 2 United Autosports Ligier JS P3-Nissan of Sean Rayhall and John Falb, who, despite a spin by the latter in the latter stages of the race, finished 41secs ahead of the 360 Racing entered example of Woodward / Wells / Kaiser. However, after the race the 360 Racing Ligier was given a time penalty by the stewards for not respecting the driving time, when Anthony Wells didn’t drive for long enough as a bronze driver. This promoted the # 17 Ultimate entered Ligier of Lahaye / Lahaye / Heriau into 2nd place, with the # 3 United Autosports Ligier of Patterson / Boyd England being awarded the final podium spot.

The LMGTE class win eventually went to ELMS debutants TF Sport with their # 99 Aston Martin, driven by Yoluc / Hankey / Thim. Despite its earlier contretemps with the Ferrari, it took a comfortable victory by a full lap from the # 77 Proton Porsche of Ried / Camathias / Cairoli, with the second Aston Martin from Beachdean AMR driven by Howard / Gunn / Turner taking the final podium spot.


Race Results

Overall & LMP2 Class

1st         # 32, Ligier JSP217-Gibson, United Autosports, W. Owen / H. De Sadeleer / F. Albuquerque
2nd        # 22, Oreca07-Gibson, G-Drive Racing, M. Rojas / R. Hirakawa / L. Roussel
3rd        # 49, Dallara P217-Gibson, High Class Racing, D. Andersen / A. Fjordbach

LMP3 Class

1st         # 2, Ligier JS P3-Nissan, United Autosports, J. Falb / S. Rayhall
2nd        # 17, Ligier JS P3-Nissan, J. Lahaye / M. Lahaye / F. Heriou
3rd        # 3, Ligier JS P3-Nissan, United Autosports, M. Patterson / W. Boyd / C. England


1st         #90, Aston Martin Vantage V8, TF Sport, S. Yoluc / E. Hankey / N. Thim
2nd        # 77, Porsche 911 RSR 991, Proton Competition, C. Reid / J. Camathias / M. Cairoli
3rd        # 99, Aston Martin V8 Vantage, Beachdean AMR, A. Howard / R. Gunn / D. Turner


Keith Bluemel


Race #


Chassis #













Class GTE




Ferrari 488 GTE


Spirit of Race

Dk Green Met’- White

D. Cameron / M. Griffin /
A. Scott




Ferrari 458 GT2


JMW Motorsport

Yellow-Black-Red Met’

R. Smith /
J. Fanin /
R. Butcher




Ferrari 488 GTE


Spirit of Race

Red-RWG St’s

A. Bertolini/
Roda Gianluca & Giorgio