ELMS: Iron Dames Take the LMGT3 Win at Imola

#14 AO BY TF – USA – Oreca 07 – Gibson – European Le Mans Series – 4h of Imola – Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari – Italy –

The third round of the 2024 European Le Mans Series at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari produced four hours of action and excitement. The no65 Panis Racing Oreca took the chequered flag at the end of the race but a post-race penalty dropped the car to 5th and the win was awarded to the no14 AO by TF Oreca of Jonny Edgar, Robert Kubica and Louis Deletraz.

All eyes were on the battle in the LMGT3 category between the no85 Iron Dames Porsche and the no59 Racing Spirit of Leman Aston Martin.The last 30 minutes was a close quarters battle, with Michelle Gatting claiming the victory from Valentin Hasse Clot by just 0.7 seconds.

The LMP2 Pro/Am win was claimed by the no20 Algarve Pro Racing Oreca after starting from 8thon the grid, with Kriton Lentoudis becoming the first Greek driver to stand on the top step of an ELMS podium.

Matt Bell and Adam Ali claimed their second ELMS win in the no11 Eurointernational Ligier-Nissan, the Anglo Canadian pairing finishing well ahead of the rest of the LMP3 field after starting 8thon the grid four hours earlier.


The race was declared wet for the start of the race due to the chance of race later but the track was dry as the 42 cars taking the rolling start took to the track.The no43 Inter Europol Competition had a technical issue and had to take the start from the pitlane.

The race got underway with all cars making through the first few corners unscathed.The no65 Panis Racing Oreca of Manuel Maldonado holding off a determined challenge by the no10 Vector Sport of Ryan Cullen at the head of the field.

Maldonado was still leading in the no65 Oreca, with Cullen in the Vector Sport Oreca keeping within two seconds to keep the pressure on while he was in turn being challenged by the no37 COOL Racing Oreca of Lorenzo Fluxa.Luca Ghiotto in the no34 Inter Europol Competition Oreca was making its way towards the front as the platinum driver posted the fastest lap of the race several times.

The first of seven Full Course Yellow periods was declared in lap 12 when the no24 Nielsen Racing Oreca of John Falb went off into the gravel on its own.The car was quickly recovered after just three minutes and the race went back to green.

Ghiotto continued his drive towards the front, finally taking the lead from the no65 Panis Racing Oreca after 50 minutes of racing.

The second FCY period was declared the no27 Nielsen Racing Oreca which was beached in the gravel, and this allowed the no59 Aston Martin to go back into the lead of LMGT3.Bovy had pitted the lap before the FCY and Deboer was already in the pits when the rest of the field had to slow down. The Racing Spirit of Le Mans Vantage emerged with a slender lead.

However, Sarah Bovy was soon challenging for the lead again.She was looking to pass Deboer when the countdown began for another FCY.The no85 Porsche went ahead on the run into T14 before the countdown had finished, but she was judged to have not slowed down quickly enough and the team were later given a 10 second penalty that had to be added to the next pitstop.

#28 IDEC SPORT – Oreca 07 – Gibson – European Le Mans Series – 4h of Imola – Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari – Italy –

The no34 Inter Europol Competition was leading from the no65 Panis Racing and no14 AO by TF Oreca of Jonny Edgar.Giorgio Roda was still leading the LMP2 Pro/Am, ahead of Francois Perrodo in the no83 AF Corse.

The no35 Ultimate Ligier was leading LMP3 when the no47 COOL Racing Oreca and the no5 RLR MSport Ligier clashed, spinning both cars out and forcing another FCY.The no47 Oreca was later given a penalty for the collision and James Dayson in the no5 Ligier was also penalised for coming back on track right in front of an LMP2 car, whose driver took avoiding action and narrowly avoided an accident.

At the restart the Edgar moved up to second in the AO by TF Oreca, passing Maldonado and then took the lead after 95 minutes of racing, passing Ghiotto in the no34 Oreca.Edgar headed to the pits on the next lap to hand over to Robert Kubica.Sarah Bovy also headed to the pitlane to hand over the no85 Porsche to Rahel Frey.

Rene Binder was now in the no77 Proton Competition Oreca in the LMP2 Pro/Am lead, with Richard Bradley in the no20 APR Oreca, just 1.8 seconds behind in second.Paul Lanchere was leading LMP3 in the no35 Ultimate, with Matt Bell moving into the lead at the 2 hour mark with the no12 WTM by Rinaldi Racing Duqueine moving up to second 5.5 seconds behind.

The Virtual Safety Car was deployed with 1 hour, 53 minutes left on the clock when the no37 COOL Racing Oreca of Paul Loup Chatin went off heavily into the barriers at T5.Chatin emerged from the car on his own but the car was too badly damaged to continue.

This had the effect of closing up the field, with the no85 Porsche losing a 21 second lead in LMGT3 as a consequence.Just when the team thought it couldn’t get any worse they were handed the 10 second penalty at the next pitstop for the earlier FCY infringement.

#29 RICHARD MILLE BY TDS – FRA – Oreca 07 – Gibson – European Le Mans Series – 4h of Imola – Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari – Italy –

Racing resumes after 20-minutes with Robert Kubica pulling out a small lead in the no14 AO by TF from Reshad de Gerus in the no28 IDEC Sport, with Ollie Gray in the no34 IEC and Artur Leclerc in the no65 Panis Racing staying in touch.

Frey was now battling with Casper Stevenson in the no59 Aston Martin and Esteban Masson in the no57 Kessel Racing Ferrari, with just 1.5 seconds splitting the three cars.

Adam Ali was now in the no11 Ligier and had starting to pull away from the rest of the LMP3 field led by Jean-Baptiste Lahaye in the no35 Ligier and Gillian Henrion in the no8 Team Virage Ligier.

With an hour left on the clock the no14 Oreca was leading by 10 seconds with Louis Deletraz driving, the no10 Vector Sport Oreca of Felipe Drugovich in second and the no65 Panis Racing Oreca following closely with Charles Milesi at the wheel.

Rahel Frey came into the pits for the final stop to hand over to Michelle Gatting, with the team electing not to change tyres.The no85 Porsche emerged still in the LMGT3 lead, which was also helped by the no59 Aston Martin being held after Hasse Clot appeared to stall.The no97 Grid Motorsport by TF Aston Martin of Lorcan Hanafin was in third place and Daniel Serra was closing the gap with the leaders in the no57 Kessel Racing Ferrari.

The no77 Proton Competition Oreca of Bent Viscaal went off into the gravel at T7 after a clash with the no30 Duqueine Team. The sixth FCY was the result.

At the restart the Deletraz had a six second lead over Milesi for the lead of the race, with Job Van Uitert in the IDEC Sport Oreca in third 16 seconds further up the road.

The LMGT3 battle continued to rage with the no85 Porsche, the no59 and no97 Aston Martins racing nose to tail for lap after lap.Hasse Clot got a little too close to the leading Porsche with 20 minutes of the race remaining with Gatting having to use all of her skills to keep the 911 on the track after the Aston Martin made contact with the rear of her car.Not only did Gatting keep it on track, she also kept the lead.

The final pitstops for the LMP2 cars took place with Panis Racing turning Milesi’s car around quickly so he emerged just in front of Deletraz and in the lead.

#85 IRON DAMES- Porsche 911 R LMGT3 – European Le Mans Series – 4h of Imola – Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari – Italy –

The final 10 minutes after a final FCY saw a frantic run to the flag in all classes.The no65 Panis Racing Oreca started to pull away from the no14 AO by TF Oreca as the clock counted down, with Milesi crossing the line for the final time with just 2 seconds on the clock to begin the final lap.At the chequered flag the no65 Panis Racing Oreca was 11.3 seconds ahead of the no14 AO by TF of Louis Deletraz, with the no10 Vector Sport Oreca of Felipe Drugovich in third.

While the LMP2s were completing their final lap the battle in the LMGT3 class was still raging with Michelle Gatting holding off the strong challenge of Valentine Hasse Clot.Hanafin in the no97 Aston Martin had dropped back and had been overtaken by the no57 Ferrari driven by the charging Daniel Serra.

Serra caught Hasse Clot halfway around the last lap and attempted to overtake the no59 Aston Martin.The two cars touched, ripping off the rear bumper of the Vantage.Hasse Clot held on to his second place, but this relieved the challenge to the no85 Iron Dames Porsche and Michelle Gatting took the chequered flag.

Alex Quinn took the chequered flag in the no20 Algarve Pro Racing Oreca to win the LMP2 Pro/Am class, 3.6 seconds ahead of the no83 AF Corse of Matthieu Vaxiviere, with the no29 Richard Mille by TDS Oreca of Mathias Beche finishing third just 1.2 seconds behind Vaxiviere.

Adam Ali brought the no11 Eurointernational Ligier home 13.9 second s ahead of Gillian Henrion in the no8 Team Virage Ligier to take the LMP3 win.The podium was completed by the n035 Ultimate Ligier of Matthieu Lahaye.

However, post-race penalties were applied by the stewards which affected the result.

Charles Milesi was judged to have sped up too soon after a FCY and was given a drive thru penalty, which was converted to a 35 second penalty added to the race time (Stewards Decision no29). This dropped the no65 Panis Racing Oreca to 5thand promoted the no14 AO by TF Sport to the race win. Vector Sport moved up to second place and the no43 Inter Europol Competition Oreca was promoted to the final podium position.

There were also changes in the LMGT3 classification with the no57 Kessel Racing Ferrari being penalised for Daniel Serra overtaking under double yellow flags (Decision no27). The no97 Grid Motorsport by TF Aston Martin was also penalised for constantly abusing track limits (Decision no28), with both cars have 35 seconds added to their race time as a result.

The no57 Ferrari dropped from 3rd to 4th in LMGT3 and the no97 Aston Martin dropped from 4th to 5th. The no63 Iron Lynx Lamborghini Huracan was promoted to 3rd because of these penalties.

CLICK HERE for the final result from the 4 Hours of Imola.