The new European Le Mans Series season gets underway this weekend at Paul Ricard in the south of France. Nissan driver, Lucas Ordonez, makes his debut for the championship-winning Greaves Motorsport team, alongside Alex Brundle and Tom Kimber-Smith.
The LMP2 category is the premier class in the 2012 European Le Mans Series so the race is on for the overall series title. With seven teams running with Nissan power and stiff competition coming from five further LMP2 teams, the scene is set for some hard fought racing.
“ELMS is going to be a very competitive championship this year,” said Lucas. “There will be a big grid of LMP2 cars fighting for the victory but I think we have a strong line-up at Greaves Motorsport. The team are the current champions so there is no other objective than to win. Tom (Kimber-Smith) is a fast, experienced driver, Alex (Brundle) is a young, fast single-seater racer and I now have a full year of LMP2 experience so I think we have a good chance. I have had the opportunity to spend time with my new team now and I feel very much at home here. I’m delighted to be with them for ELMS and of course for the Le Mans 24 Hours.”
“We had a good pre-season test at Paul Ricard a couple of weeks ago,” continued Lucas. “I raced the Oreca-Nissan last year and now I am in the Zytek-Nissan so it has been interesting for me to compare the handling of the two cars. The Greaves car feels good though and I’m excited to see how we get on at the first race. I am sure we have a good season ahead of us.”
The other new addition to the Greaves driving squad this year is Alex Brundle who is racing in the ELMS alongside a GP3 single-seater programme.
“All of the team at Nissan and at Greaves Motorsport have been great,” said Alex. “I immediately felt comfortable in the team and we have a really good working relationship already. I have total faith in my team-mates for this year. Tom needs no introduction. He is the benchmark in the series. I look forward to gaining from his experience of sportscar racing. I have heard Lucas’ previous team mates expressing positive surprise about his performance and it is clear that he has had to give his all over the last few years. At the Ricard test he surpassed my expectations; he’s the real deal!”“As for my own performance at the test I am pretty happy,” he explained. “I was able to mix it at top of the time sheets against some big names in all my runs and deliver a time good enough for P2 at the conclusion of the test in the afternoon of day two. I still think I can move forward a lot though and it’s great to have the potential to improve. I still need to learn but it’s coming quickly and that’s good.”
With LMP2 being the top class in the European Le Mans Series this year it is important for us to get a good result in this championship,” commented Darren Cox, General Manager, Nissan in Europe. “We've placed Lucas with the Greaves team to continue his development programme and put him in a position where he can go for an outright championship win. The fact that there are six further customer teams running with Nissan power in ELMS is the best illustration of the strength and success of our engine.”
CATCH THE ACTION
LMP2 qualifying takes place this Saturday at 1550hrs local time with the main race getting underway on Sunday at 1200hrs. Race updates will be available on twitter via @nissan_ontrackThe race will be shown live on Motors TV across Europe (please check listings on the day)Live timing and live streaming is also available at europeanlemansseries.comAnd all the action will be live as always on radiolemans.com.
2012 EUROPEAN LE MANS SERIES CALENDAR
R1 April 1: Paul Ricard, France
R2 May 20: Zolder, Belgium
R3 July 15: Donington Park
R4 September 9: Brno, Czech Republic
R5 November 4: Portimao, Portugal