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The Le Mans Cup Ladder of Success

LMC - 09/03/2019 - Jeff CARTER

The Michelin Le Mans Cup provides the best starting platform for drivers looking to climb the Endurance Racing career ladder. With the FIA World Endurance Championship Super Season resuming on the 15th March at Sebring in Florida, it is worth noting that five of the current drivers and one team in the LMGTE Am category took part in the inaugural season of the Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup back in 2016.

Turkish driver Salih Yoluc drove for TF Sport in 2016, helping the British outfit to the 2016 team title, while he and Euan Hankey took the Vice Champions position in the driver’s title race. In 2017 Yoluc and Hankey moved up to the ELMS with TF Sport, finishing the year as Vice Champions in the LMGTE category with five podiums, including a win alongside Aston Martin works driver Nicki Thiim. 

In 2018 TF Sport moved up again, this time to the FIA WEC in the LMGTE Am category.  With five races of the 2018/19 season completed TF Sport and Salih Yoluc are currently 3rd in the class, with three second place finishes. This year Salih Yoluc is partnered with Charlie Eastwood, with Jonny Adam replacing Euan Hankey in the last three races. The 2017 LMGTE Pro 24 Hours of Le Mans winner will Also race for TF Sport alongside Yoluc and Eastwood in the USA.

Egidio Perfetti raced for Dutch team Mentos Racing in the 2016 Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup, finishing third in the series after securing five podium finishes and two pole positions alongside Austrian Klaus Bachler.  Bachler was forced to miss the race in Le Castellet, with another FIA WEC driver Ben Barker, who will race for Gulf Racing in Sebring.

A move to the FIA WEC in 2018 with Team Project 1 alongside German GT veteran Jörg Bergmeister and American Patrick Lindsey has proven to be very lucrative, with four podiums, including a win in Japan, which has propelled the team to the top of the LMGTE Am category with a 20 point lead going into the 1000 mile race at Sebring.

Thomas Flohr and Francesco Castellacci raced together for AF Corse in the 2016 Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup, with the Swiss / Italian pairing racking up 34 points during the season.  The partnership continued in 2017 when they moved up to the FIA WEC securing four podium finishes with Spain’s Miguel Molina including their first victory at Fuji Speedway in Japan.

In the 2018/19 Super Season Flohr and Castellacci have been joined by former F1 star Giancarlo Fisichella and highlight of the season so far was a trip to the podium at the 24 Hours of Le Mans last June.

In addition to the five drivers on the LMGTE Am grid in Florida, LMP2 racer Matthieu Vaxivière, who is driving the no28 TDS Racing Oreca 07-Gibson, also took part in the 2016 Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup.  The French driver took part in three races, finishing on the podium alongside Nicolas Misslin at the opening race at Imola driving the no26 Classic and Modern Ferrari.

The 1000 miles of Sebring will take place in Florida on Friday 15 March and is Round 6 of the 2018/19 FIA World Endurance Championship.  The 2019 Michelin Le Mans Cup will get underway at Le Castellet with the first 2-hour race of the year taking place on Saturday 13 April.

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