ELMS 4 Hours of Monza

ELMS 4 Hours of Monza

Algarve Pro Racing podium charge thwarted by Full Course Yellows at Monza

Algarve Pro Racing was on course for podium finishes in the European Le Mans Series (ELMS) 4 Hours of Monza (9-11 October).

Despite damp and slippery track conditions, the Algarve Pro Racing Team were in contention for silverware at the ‘Temple of Speed’, but the team’s strategy was thwarted by Full Course Yellows that enabled many of its rivals to pit with a minimal time-loss.

Jon Lancaster (#24 Algarve Pro Racing ORECA 07 LMP2): “It’s frustrating that we’ve been unable to reach our potential when we’ve been capable of fighting for the podium in practically every race this year, but it’s all down to bad luck. Henning (Enqvist) made a great start and drove superbly throughout his stints. Everything seemed to be going our way, until we were unable to capitalise on a badly timed Full Course Yellow that occurred just five minutes before Henning’s minimum drivetime was up. Whether to keep Henning in for another stint was a really tough call in the moment and we need look into how much of an impact that decision had on our final result.  We had a difficult start to the week, as testing on Thursday and free practice on Friday was plagued by a suspected engine issue and a rear damper problem. Everyone worked flat-out to find fixes and then get on top of the setup, but our balance work was speculative, and the car wasn’t quite perfect in qualifying or race trim. Algarve Pro Racing is doing all the right stuff and trophies were there for us today. We just don’t need any more bad luck, and I hope we can end on a high on the team’s home soil in Portimao.”

2020 Calendar
  • 4 Hours of Le Castellet - July 19 > 6th
  • 4 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps - August 9 > 12th
  • 4 Hours of Barcelona - August 29 > DNF
  • 4 Hours of Monza - October 11 > 9th
  • 4 Hours of Portimao - November 1

About The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company

Goodyear is one of the world’s largest tire companies. It employs about 63,000 people and manufactures its products in 47 facilities in 21 countries around the world. Its two Innovation Centers in Akron, Ohio, and Colmar-Berg, Luxembourg, strive to develop state-of-the-art products and services that set the technology and performance standard for the industry. For more information about Goodyear and its products, go to www.goodyear.com/corporate.

You can also follow us on Twitter @Goodyearpress.

ELMS 4 Hours of Spa

ELMS 4 Hours of Spa

Algarve Pro Racing denied top five result in dramatic ELMS 4 Hours of Spa

Algarve Pro Racing was on for a solid top five finish until its bold and daring race strategy was thwarted in the European Le Mans Series (ELMS) 4 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps (7-9 August).

The Portugal-based team ultimately ended a drama-filled race at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in 12th in the #24 car of Jon Lancaster, with Henning Enqvist and Loic Duval.

In testing on Wednesday (5 August), Algarve Pro Racing focused all its attention on optimising its long-run performance, although the same was true of free practice, because rather than pushing for headline times in FP1 and FP2, the Goodyear technical partner used the sessions to learn more about the slick tyres ahead of Sunday’s four-hour race. Everything went as anticipated; A qualifying lap of 2m 04.644s from Lancaster was good enough for seventh, although the Algarve Pro driver was third of the Goodyear runners limited to a single timed run.

Enqvist took the first stint in the #24 car, losing track position during the sensible opening laps, but Algarve Pro’s prospects looked strong. In eighth position, Enqvist’s attention was initially held by the pursuing #35 BHK Motorsport car, but the #31 Panis Racing entry soon emerged as the Swede’s main threat. Unfortunately, places were lost after a protracted Safety Car intervention, Enqvist falling to the outskirts of the top ten, where he faced a growing challenge from the #50 Graff and #39 entries. The intensifying fight ultimately cost Enqvist time and allowed the #25 ORECA to take over as the lead Algarve Pro Racing contender after the first round of fuel stops, having pitted out of sequence with the bulk of the LMP2 field on lap 18. However, the running order changed again when Algarve Pro switched the #24 crew to an alternate strategy by installing Lancaster and brimming the car with fuel much earlier than anticipated.

The spotlight was firmly on Lancaster, who lapped at roughly the same speed as the leaders, even in traffic, and seemed well-placed to pick off several rivals as pit strategies unfolded. Algarve Pro’s tactical gamble, combined with Lancaster’s sublime pace, saw the #24 crew go from 13th to fourth with an assailable deficit to the top three runners. In fact, Lancaster got to within eight seconds of the podium while eking out 19 laps on a tank of fuel as track temperatures soared to 50 Celsius, but opportunistic stops by other LMP2 teams during a Full Course Yellow (FCY) negated Algarve Pro’s strategic advantage. Wet Goodyear tyres were kept close at hand, but it wasn’t until later, that the heavens opened and a wet track was declared. Algarve Pro responded to the deteriorating grip levels by boxing Duval for grooved Goodyears, but to the team’s frustration, the rain dissipated quickly, and a stop for slicks and to fuel the #24 car to the finish was conducted with 40 minutes remaining. #24 enjoyed the cooler conditions and matched the leaders for pace in the 2m 08s to ultimately receive the chequered flag in 12th.

Jon Lancaster (#24 Algarve Pro Racing ORECA 07 LMP2): “A mixture of bad luck, misjudgements and a bit of risk-taking to make up for what we had lost at the start made for a frustrating race. There’s no reason why that couldn’t have reached the podium, so we’ll analyse the way the race panned out to hopefully do better next weekend in the FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Spa. We’re always learning and making positive things happen, so it’s a shame we haven’t been able to collect points. If we can qualify higher up the grid we should be capable of converting our pace into results in the remaining races. I’m very much looking forward to the FIA WEC at Spa, where we will apply what we’ve learnt to hopefully come away with something strong.”

2020 Calendar
  • 4 Hours of Le Castellet - July 19 > 6th
  • 4 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps - August 9 > 12th
  • 4 Hours of Barcelona - August 29 > DNF
  • 4 Hours of Monza - October 11 > 9th
  • 4 Hours of Portimao - November 1

About The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company

Goodyear is one of the world’s largest tire companies. It employs about 63,000 people and manufactures its products in 47 facilities in 21 countries around the world. Its two Innovation Centers in Akron, Ohio, and Colmar-Berg, Luxembourg, strive to develop state-of-the-art products and services that set the technology and performance standard for the industry. For more information about Goodyear and its products, go to www.goodyear.com/corporate.

You can also follow us on Twitter @Goodyearpress.

Partnership with XL Ltd

Partnership with XL Ltd

Partnership with XL Ltd for the month of August!

Jon: “Together we are chasing podiums all month in the @elms_official 4hours of Spa, the 4hours of Le Castellet Part 2, and, the @fiawec_official 6hours of Spa…Extremely professional vehicle leasing for anyone, and true petrol heads! Give them a follow!”

Website: www.xlltd.com / @xllimited Responsive Vehicle Leasing…

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2020 Calendar
  • 4 Hours of Le Castellet - July 19 > 6th
  • 4 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps - August 9 > 12th
  • 4 Hours of Barcelona - August 29 > DNF
  • 4 Hours of Monza - October 11 > 9th
  • 4 Hours of Portimao - November 1

About The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company

Goodyear is one of the world’s largest tire companies. It employs about 63,000 people and manufactures its products in 47 facilities in 21 countries around the world. Its two Innovation Centers in Akron, Ohio, and Colmar-Berg, Luxembourg, strive to develop state-of-the-art products and services that set the technology and performance standard for the industry. For more information about Goodyear and its products, go to www.goodyear.com/corporate.

You can also follow us on Twitter @Goodyearpress.

6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps

6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps

Algarve Pro set to intensify Le Mans preparations with back-to-back races at Spa

Algarve Pro Racing will enter the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps (13-15 August) with John Falb, Simon Trummer and Jon Lancaster.

The Portugal-based team is set to race at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on consecutive weekends, starting with the second instalment of the 2020 European Le Mans Series (7-9 August) and finishing with the Belgian leg of the WEC (13-15 August), which serves as the precursor to the 88th 24 Hours of Le Mans (19-20 September).

As in Le Castellet, Lancaster will share the #24 ORECA 07 LMP2 with Henning Enqvist and Loic Duval, with Falb, Trummer and Gabriel Aubry in the #25 car for the ELMS 4 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps.

However, Algarve Pro’s driver roster will be shuffled for the WEC weekend, as Falb and Trummer will be joined by Lancaster in the team’s solitary entry with its predominantly white Goodyear and B.R.M Chronographes livery.

Crucially, the back-to-back race meetings will not only provide drivers with more track time before Le Mans, but will also enable Algarve Pro to gather reams of invaluable data for tyre technical partner Goodyear, and there’s a strong belief within the camp that the extra mileage will yield results at Spa.

Jon Lancaster (Algarve Pro Racing ORECA 07 LMP2): “I’m delighted to have been asked by Algarve Pro Racing to compete in the FIA World Endurance Championship at Spa. As it’s only one week after the European Le Mans Series round, it’s a great opportunity to complete more track time and clock up more miles on the Goodyear tyres, which will be important for the remainder of the 2020 season. It’s also another opportunity to display more of the speed and race-craft we showed in Le Castellet, but I just hope we manage to convert it into a result this time. I’m thrilled to be back in a WEC race for the first time since 2013 when I finished in third position, and I’m super excited to be sharing a car with John (Falb) and Simon (Trummer), as I believe it’s a strong enough line-up to reach the podium if we have clean races. We’ll have had plenty of track time after the ELMS weekend and we should have the car exactly where we want it going into the WEC. Hopefully we will achieve a proper result, because we deserve a break after the unfortunate events of Circuit Paul Ricard.”

For more on Algarve Pro Racing Team, please visit the official www.algarveproracingteam.com website, ‘like’ the team’s Facebook page or follow @APRacingTeam on Twitter and Instagram.

2020 Calendar
  • 4 Hours of Le Castellet - July 19 > 6th
  • 4 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps - August 9 > 12th
  • 4 Hours of Barcelona - August 29 > DNF
  • 4 Hours of Monza - October 11 > 9th
  • 4 Hours of Portimao - November 1

About The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company

Goodyear is one of the world’s largest tire companies. It employs about 63,000 people and manufactures its products in 47 facilities in 21 countries around the world. Its two Innovation Centers in Akron, Ohio, and Colmar-Berg, Luxembourg, strive to develop state-of-the-art products and services that set the technology and performance standard for the industry. For more information about Goodyear and its products, go to www.goodyear.com/corporate.

You can also follow us on Twitter @Goodyearpress.

ELMS Podium Contender

ELMS Podium Contender

Algarve Pro Racing emerges as podium contender in ELMS 4 Hours of Le Castellet

Algarve Pro Racing emerged as a keen threat for European Le Mans Series (ELMS) podiums in the 4 Hours of Le Castellet, but had its charge for a top three result thwarted by a series of unfortunate events at Circuit Paul Ricard (17-19 July). Jon Lancaster, Henning Enqvist and Loic Duval brought the #24 Algarve Pro ORECA 07 LMP2 home in sixth overall.

Two days of official testing (14-15 July) were primarily used by Algarve Pro to understand the new-for-2020 Goodyear tyres, and consecutive race runs suggested the #24 crews would be able to push harder than their Michelin-shod rivals across a double stint.

The drivers blew away the cobwebs after a protracted off-season, extended by the COVID-19 pandemic, and they were very evenly matched with high averages during their long free practice runs, which inspired confidence for the race proper.

Clouds rolled in during the build-up to LMP2 Qualifying on Saturday (17 July), but temperatures held up with Duval in #24 ending the quickfire session in eighth, recording 1m39.4s.

Lancaster was selected to start the ELMS 4 Hours of Le Castellet at midday on Sunday (19 July). British racer Lancaster kept his nose clean and ascended from eighth to fourth during the first hour, stretching his advantage over an intense five-way fight for fifth. In fact, a swift turnaround in the first pit stop put him on the tail of the third-placed #26 G-Drive Racing car of Roman Rusinov, and while a couple of passing attempts were thwarted by lapped traffic, the Algarve Pro driver quickly found an opening. Frustratingly, a front-left puncture forced Lancaster back to the pits for an unscheduled stop, although Algarve Pro took the opportunity to install Enqvist in the #24.

A Safety Car intervention bunched up the field, and the #24 Algarve Pro machine was back on terms with the main LMP2 pack in ninth and 11th respectively. On the run to the chequered flag, Duval showed his class by getting close to the fastest lap of the race in the 1m40s, extinguishing an impending attack from Inter Europol Competition and consolidating eighth position, which became sixth when rivals were disqualified or penalised.

Jon Lancaster (#24 Algarve Pro Racing ORECA 07 LMP2): “It’s a bittersweet result because our pace was very promising and I had a comfortable margin over the car that ultimately finished second, and we were just very unlucky to sustain a puncture that cost us a lot of time. Testing was positive, as we improved everyday with only a few small things to sort out to understand the new Goodyear tyres. My teammates and I all used the time to blow away the cobwebs and we showed in the race that we can definitely fight for podiums this season, which is exciting.”

Henning Enqvist (#24 Algarve Pro Racing ORECA 07 LMP2): “We may not have been able to run at the front in qualifying, but our long-run pace and our ability to keep the tyres over a double stint was brilliant. Jon (Lancaster) and Loic (Duval) flew during their stints and I hit my target lap times, and it’s really amazing to see we are in a position to fight for podiums this year. We were unlucky in Le Castellet, but everything is getting better and better with each session, and it’s nice for me to be able to drive alongside such experienced and professional drivers. I’m learning constantly and my goal is to be breathing down Jon and Loic’s necks before the end of the season.”

For more on Algarve Pro Racing Team, please visit the official www.algarveproracingteam.com website, ‘like’ the team’s Facebook page or follow @APRacingTeam on Twitter and Instagram.

2020 Calendar
  • 4 Hours of Le Castellet - July 19 > 6th
  • 4 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps - August 9 > 12th
  • 4 Hours of Barcelona - August 29 > DNF
  • 4 Hours of Monza - October 11 > 9th
  • 4 Hours of Portimao - November 1

About The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company

Goodyear is one of the world’s largest tire companies. It employs about 63,000 people and manufactures its products in 47 facilities in 21 countries around the world. Its two Innovation Centers in Akron, Ohio, and Colmar-Berg, Luxembourg, strive to develop state-of-the-art products and services that set the technology and performance standard for the industry. For more information about Goodyear and its products, go to www.goodyear.com/corporate.

You can also follow us on Twitter @Goodyearpress.

Five year wilderness

Five year wilderness

Five year wilderness

The British GP2 race-winner returning from five years in the wilderness.

Instead of the platform for bigger things, winning the 2015 European Le Mans Series title turned into a dead-end for Britain’s Jon Lancaster. Now he’s back racing again and determined to make up for lost time in the category he conquered five years ago. Winning any championship is always a special moment for a driver, especially for one who has fought endlessly to even make it onto the grid. For Jon Lancaster, winning the 2015 European Le Mans Series was the highlight of a career which had been plagued by the never-ending search for a budget and curtailed campaigns year after year.

That title success was supposed to be his big break, reigniting a career which had begun to stall and allow him to move onto bigger and better things. But while the 31-year-old will return to the series where he had his greatest success this weekend, he will do so having not competitively raced in almost five years.

Jon: “I was kind of hoping for more regular things [after 2015] and to be honest my prayers were answered temporarily as I got a phone call from a race team in America to go and do DPi,” recalls Lancaster. “I thought that was it, here we go I’ve finally managed to crack it, I’m going to get to go and race in America on a full salary and everything else. I was over the moon.”

As Lancaster puts it “to this day, I’m not entirely sure what happened”, but the Brit was never given the chance to race the car – dropped from the unnamed IMSA Sportscar Championship team despite signing a contract – and he was once again left out in the wilderness. A V de V race at Mugello in 2016 aboard a Ginetta G57 aside, Lancaster has spent the last five years not racing but acting as a driver coach as well as developing machinery owned by private clients. But his biggest role has been developing tyres for Dunlop and Goodyear having been asked to become the tyre manufacturers’ official tester. With Goodyear becoming primary sponsor to reigning Asian Le Mans Series Championship winners Algarve Pro Racing, Lancaster’s name was put forward to compete with the squad in the upcoming ELMS season and with it a return to competitive racing.

“It’s something obviously that I’ve wanted to happen and something that I was always angling towards,” he says. “But when it actually became a reality, as you can imagine, I was over the moon and jumping for joy having been on the sidelines and doing everything that you can do in a car at a race track apart from actually race it!”

Lancaster has come full circle in the last five years, which included picking himself back up after the crushing blow of losing the IMSA seat, but battling through adversity is nothing new for the Yorkshireman.

“It always has been a struggle, I can go all the way back to the points when things were extremely bad, where it was pasta with oil and a couple of bits in it to eat for a week because there was literally no spare money.”

It was in single-seaters where Lancaster first made his mark, finishing second to Red Bull junior Brendon Hartley in the 2007 Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup and placing third at the 2008 Masters of Formula 3 – joining future Formula 1 drivers Jules Bianchi and Nico Hulkenberg on the podium (below) – before winning a race in the highly competitive Formula Renault 3.5 series at the Algarve circuit in 2009. Further progress would prove a struggle however, and by the time the move to GP2 came in 2012, finances were being pushed to the limit.

“It always has been a struggle, I can go all the way back to the points when things were extremely bad where it was pasta with oil and a couple of bits in it to eat for a week because there was literally no spare money to go shopping, to do anything,” says Lancaster.“It’s been a hell of a ride. I’ve seen every aspect now of what can be possible, but to get there and beat these guys when you’ve got all of that going on, it does almost make it even sweeter.”

Victory in front of his home crowd at Silverstone in 2013 with Hilmer Motorsport in the sprint race was one such highlight, before repeating the feat at the next round at the Nurburgring. By the end of the season the Brit had bagged 11th in the standings, despite missing the opening two rounds at Sepang and Bahrain as well as the Spa event later in the season. The reason was familiar: lack of budget. Another part-time GP2 campaign with Hilmer followed in 2014, a charge from 23rd on the grid to fifth at Hockenheim the main highlight, but it was clear that any chance of a career in motorsport was only going to come by exploring routes outside single-seaters. Lancaster had already contested the 2014 Le Mans 24 Hours with Swiss outfit Race Performance – finishing eighth in class – and it gave him a taster of racing sportscars that would lead to an ELMS drive with Greaves Motorsport in 2015.

“[The 2015 season] is one of my fondest memories, it was one of the few times where I actually did a complete season, so it was nice to get that opportunity,” recalls Lancaster. “I can never thank Tim [Greaves] enough for keeping me in the car all through that. It was quite eventful, I think sometimes we got a little bit of extra attention on a few issues but at the end of the day we managed to rise above whatever it was.”

On a race-by-race deal, he made his mark from the opening round, taking victory alongside Bjorn Wirdheim and Gary Hirsch at Silverstone – but only after a controversial late-race collision with Thiriet by TDS Racing driver Tristan Gommendy. Two fourth places followed at Imola and the Red Bull Ring, before the trio managed to grab their second win of the campaign at Paul Ricard. That gave them a shot of the title heading into the final round at Estoril. When the Jota Sport Gibson of championship leaders Filipe Albuquerque, Simon Dolan and Harry Tincknell spun in a rain shower, second place was enough for Lancaster, Wirdheim and Hirsch to claim the title by just two points. Fast forward five years and Lancaster is on the cusp of making his ELMS return this weekend at Paul Ricard. Alongside him at AFP will be 2013 Le Mans 24 Hours winner and Audi DTM racer Loic Duval as well as Swedish 26-year-old Henning Enqvist. Despite not having gone wheel to wheel for almost five years, Lancaster only has one objective in mind.

“We’re here to win it, there’s no other goal, no other aspirations in mind,” he says. “That was one of the things why Loic wanted to be involved, he could see from literally the first day on track that we had a good package, he could see my strengths in helping develop the car especially around the tyre, he enjoyed and was quick with that tyre and package and we’ve developed it since.To actually jump into something with some preparation and understand the car, understand what it needs and to understand the tyre as well, it is a huge benefit” Jon Lancaster

Despite the long layoff Lancaster believes himself to be a “more complete” driver now than ever having spent the time honing his development skills.

“I’ve been very active and to be honest I feel more complete as a driver than I ever have. I’ve always been quick, I’ve always had poles, I’ve always won races, but sometimes experience has not always been there because I’ve always jumped into seats last minute on a bit of a free deal or whatever it is and not really had the time to prepare. So to actually jump into something with some preparation and understand the car, understand what it needs and to understand the tyre as well, it is a huge benefit.”

With the new LM Hypercar and LMDh regulations both coming into effect by 2022, Lancaster is hoping this season can be the catalyst to put him in contention for new opportunities in endurance racing over the next few years.

“I’m hoping I’ll be in a position to be considered for one of those drives, that’s sort of my long-term goal,” he says. “The LMDh regulations to me, as soon as I saw them, I just thought that is finally the lightbulb moment for me from what I’ve seen. It should attract a good amount of manufacturers who then hopefully open up a lot of seats available to guys who are like me, have got experience in these [prototype machines], experience at Le Mans. ‘To have a proper world championship where you can actually compete at Daytona, Sebring, Le Mans, all the big three races all in the same car – they couldn’t have done it much better really.”

It may have come later than expected, but Lancaster is determined to make sure this chance to reignite his career doesn’t go to waste. Whatever the outcome this season, he will be doing everything he can to ensure there won’t be another five-year spell without racing.

2020 Calendar
  • 4 Hours of Le Castellet - July 19 > 6th
  • 4 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps - August 9 > 12th
  • 4 Hours of Barcelona - August 29 > DNF
  • 4 Hours of Monza - October 11 > 9th
  • 4 Hours of Portimao - November 1

About The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company

Goodyear is one of the world’s largest tire companies. It employs about 63,000 people and manufactures its products in 47 facilities in 21 countries around the world. Its two Innovation Centers in Akron, Ohio, and Colmar-Berg, Luxembourg, strive to develop state-of-the-art products and services that set the technology and performance standard for the industry. For more information about Goodyear and its products, go to www.goodyear.com/corporate.

You can also follow us on Twitter @Goodyearpress.