Racing Spirit takes first Le Mans Cup round of the year


The length of the Michelin Le Mans Cup races might have changed this season, the opening round at Le Castellet certainly provided plenty of action and drama for every single one of the 110 minutes.

No. 10, RACING SPIRIT OF LEMAN, CHE, Ligier JS P320 – Nissan, Alexander Mattschull (DEU), Tom Dillmann (FRA) 2022 Michelin Le Mans Cup, Le Castellet, France. Photo © John D Stevens.

The early part of the race saw the no11 WTM Racing Duqueine of Torsten Kratz make the most of starting at the front as the no29 MV2S Ligier of Jerome de Sadeleer and the no10 Ligier of Alexander Mattschull squabbled over second, with Charles Crews in the no17 IDEC Sport Ligier also get involved in the battle for the minor podium places.

A Full Course Yellow period early on to clear debris at T5 presented Mattschull with an opportunity at the restart to get ahead of de Sadeleer, but the places swapped back a few laps later just ahead of the pitstops.

After the pitstops the no10 Ligier of Tom Dillmann emerged behind the no11 Duqueine of Leo Weiss, with Dillmann quickly getting on to terms and passing Weiss for the position. The no29 MV2S Ligier had pitted one lap later and emerged from the pitlane just infront of Dillmann’s Ligier with Louis Rousset at the wheel. Dillmann swept past the leader at T3 just before the second FCY was declared to recover the no69 Cool Racing Ligier of Malthe Jakobsen, which had stopped on track between Turns 5 and 6.

The restart saw Dillmann pull away from the chasing pack and open up a comfortable lead, which he held until the chequered flag was shown.

The no11 WTM Racing Duqueine faded away and was passed by the no17 IDEC Sport Ligier of Dino Lunardi and the no53 RLR MSport Ligier of Tommy Foster. Lunardi closed the gap to the no29 MV2S Ligier but had to settle for third place at the chequered flag.

Tom Dillmann in the no10 Racing Spirit of Leman Ligier took the chequered flag 18 seconds ahead of Louis Rousset in the no29 MV2S Forestier Racing Ligier, with Dino Lunardi’s IDEC Sport Ligier 3.4 seconds further back in third. Tommy Foster pushed Lunardi all the way to the line and missed a podium finish by just 0.7 seconds at the end of the 110-minute race.

However, the no17 Ligier was given a 16 second penalty after the race for overtaking car no11 during the Full Course Yellow procedure (Stewards Decision No20). This dropped the no17 IDEC Sport Ligier to 5th place and promoted the no53 RLR MSport Ligier of Tommy Foster and Martin Rich into 3rd place and the no11 WTM Racing Duqueine into 4th in the final classifications.

No. 88, GMB MOTORSPORT, DNK, Honda NSX GT3, Mikkel O. Pedersen (DNK), Lars Engelbreckt Pedersen (DNK) 2022 Michelin Le Mans Cup, Le Castellet, France. Photo © John D Stevens.

GMB Motorsport Claim 1-2 Finish in GT3 on MLMC Debut

The GT3 class saw the GMB Motorsport team take a 1-2 finish on their Michelin Le Mans Cup debut, the Danish team also claiming a historic victory with the first win anywhere in the world for the Honda NSX GT3.Kristian Poulsen and Kasper Jensen brought the no55 Honda home, nearly a minute ahead of the pole sitting no44 Honda of Jens Moller and Gustav Birch after Moller was handed a drive through penalty for jumping the start, as did the no88 Honda of Lars Pedersen.

Third place went to the no61 AF Corse Ferrari of Gino Forgione, one place ahead of the No. 99 Bullitt Racing Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Stephen Pattrick and Théo Nouet.

This fourth place is an excellent result for the Spanish team as the Aston Martin Vantage was completely rebuilt following a collision with an LMP3 during testing earlier this week.

The next round of the 2022 Michelin Le Mans Cup will be held in Italy at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari in Imola on Saturday 14 May.