After an exciting season in the Asian Le Mans Series (ALMS), which ended in February with the championship title for the G-Drive Racing team, which we wrote about in a special text, it became clear already in March 2020 that we were facing an unusual year, to say the least.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the calendar has been revised from the standard seven months to four months. The 4 Hours of Silverstone race was dropped from the championship calendar due to unfavourable conditions – and a new competition schedule was announced in April.
The G-Drive Racing team welcomed the new ELMS season in a refreshed line-up: experienced drivers Jean-Éric Vergne and Roman Rusinov were joined by two young and promising drivers – Dane Mikkel Jensen and Dutchman Nyck De Vries.
In addition to the driving team, the looks of the Aurus 01has been refreshed before the new season, which we can safely say now looks in line with our slogan – #sopowerful. After all, see for yourself.
As we already wrote in the headline, this was a quite unusual season – which was somewhat expected given the whole of 2020. All the races of the European Le Mans Series, as well as the season finale itself – the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans race has been held without an audience, thus setting an historic precedent.
Sports car racing, like most other sports, was not in the limelight this year. For example, the 4 Hours of Barcelona race was cancelled due to an increase in the number of Covid-19 patients in Spain, and instead the Le Castellet 240 race was held in France.
The refreshed G-Drive Racing team line-up after winning the championship title in the ALMS started the European Le Mans Series with the highest ambitions. The season ended relatively successfully – at 24 Hours of Le Mans race they won 5th place with the highest average speed recorded, while the 3rd place was won in the ELMS general classification.
The result is as follows: in five extremely exciting races of the European Le Mans Series, three podiums have been won along with two unfinished races and, more importantly, several important lessons have been learned that will mean a lot to the whole team in preparing for the future challenges.
But let’s start from the very beginning of the season.
4 Hours of Le Castellet: fast, faster – Nyck De Vries
The young Dutchman Nyck De Vries, a newcomer to the G-Drive Racing team, has shown from the very start of the season that he will be a great asset to the team – especially in qualifying races, but also in situations when the team needs to catch up and overtake rivals. Nyck “The Quick”, as some commentators called him, drove the second-best qualifying time and provided the Russian team with a front row start.
After three hours of exciting driving with a lot of uncertainty and twists and turns, the G-Drive Racing team dropped even to the 8th position in the LMP2 category, but then we had the opportunity to see in action the sumptuous talent of a young Dutchman who managed to make it to the 2nd position at the end of the race with almost perfect driving.
The first position in Le Castellet was won by United Autosports with its car number 32, and the same team and their car number 22 came in third in this category. The time has come to bid farewell to The Paul Ricard Circuit and prepare for the legendary the 4 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps race at the Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium.
4 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps: A good start for the G-Drive Racing team, and then – bad luck!
The legendary Spa-Francorchamps Circuit is known to the world as an extremely unpredictable and dangerous circuit, and traditionally an important role in the 4 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps race is played by weather conditions, which G-Drive Racing team drivers have had the opportunity to see firsthand. Unfortunately.
The weekend started nicely, by winning third place in the qualifying races. If the first race of The European Le Mans Series was marked by Nyck De Vries, we can safely say that the second race was marked by Mikkel Jensen. A young Dane managed to win the leading position for the G-Drive Racing team with exceptionally courageous ride and showed that he has great potential. If the weather conditions had been a little different and it hadn’t started to rain, he would have deserved to be praised.
Unfortunately, the rain started and after three hours of exciting ride, in one bend Mikkel Jensen’s car slipped, he lost control of the car and hit the guardrail. The G-Drive Racing team finished the second ELMS race without winning a single point, allowing rivals from the United Autosports team to move up the scoreboard.
Due to news of an increase in the number of Covid-19 patients in Spain, it was decided that instead of Barcelona, the next race would be held again in France, at Le Castellet – and our team was looking forward to another chance to demonstrate its champion quality on The Paul RicardCircuit.
Le Castellet 240: Second time in Le Castellet – second place for G-Drive Racing!
Status quo. The G-Drive Racing team returned to France eager to prove themselves and win – and young Nyck De Vries was replaced at the Le Castellet 240 by the experienced Frenchman Jean-Éric Vergne, who missed out on pole position by only a hundredth of a second. Of course, this outcome at the qualifying races was only an extra motivation for the guys just before the race.
After 240 minutes of exciting driving and strategic outsmarting, the victory in France went to the brilliant tandem of drivers of the British team United Autosports – Filipe Albuquerque and Philip Hanson, while the G-Drive Racing team again had to settle for “only” second place.
Even if there was a slight disappointment due to the missed opportunity to win first position, the guys had to quickly overcome it and focus on the next challenge – the culmination of the season, the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mansrace.
24 Hours of Le Mans: Notable Result of the G-Drive Racing Team in the Race of the Season
For those of you who have not by any chance heard of this race, although we believe there are not many of them, here is a brief introduction that should explain why this race is so important and why drivers around the world dream of being part of this car spectacle.
24 Hours of Le Mans is the world’s oldest and most prestigious active sports car race in endurance racing, held annually since 1923. During 24 hours of exhausting driving, which is a great test for both drivers and their cars – three drivers take turns behind the wheel, and each of them must drive the vehicle for at least six hours.
The G-Drive Racing team has been a traditional participant in the 24 Hours of Le Mansrace for several years now, and has earned this year’s participation as the current champion of the Asian Le Mans Series (ALMS). You can read more about this championship season in this text.
After 24 hours of extraordinary effort, the victory in the LMP2 category in which the G-Drive Racing team competes went to the British team United Autosports and a car driven by the Portuguese Filipe Albuquerque and Britons Philip Hanson and Paul Di Resta – while our team successfully finished the race
4 Hours of Monza: The incident at the start of the race undermines the champions ambitions of the G-Drive Racing team
When announcing the 4 hours of Monza race on the G-Drive Serbia Instagram page (link), we noted that Monza is one of the fastest, most dangerous and most exciting circuits in motorsports. After a great impression in qualifying race and pole position that the G-Drive Racing team missed by one tenth of a second, Roman Rusinov started the race in the front row. At the first bend the cars crowded and an experienced Russian driver found himself off the circuit, stranded on a guardrail.
This incident resulted in damage requiring the intervention of mechanics in pit stop, and this delay was later absolutely impossible to compensate. That leaves us with a sentiment of regret and gives us extra motivation to end up on the podium for the next 4 Hours of Monza race.
4 Hours of Portimão: First win for the G-Drive Racing team and 3rd place in the ELMS general classification
This unusual season of the European Le Mans Series (ELMS) has reached its grand finale on November 1st in the far west of Europe, in Portugal. The G-Drive Racing team, despite the excellent impression our drivers made throughout the season, reached this final race with no chance of winning the champions title due to two misfortunes.
The whole team was eager to win – which was more than obvious, especially after the Monza incident. Fortunately, all the pieces finally come together and after four hours of great driving by Mikkel Jensen, Nyck De Vries and experienced champion Roman Rusinov on the Algarve circuit in Portimão – the podium finally belonged to the orange-black Aurus 01 car with number 26.
New Year and new challenges for the G-Drive Racing team
Just as it has greatly influenced the calendar of the European Le Mans Series (ELMS), the pandemic has changed this year’s season of the Asian Le Mans Series, so the entire championship this year will be held from February 5th to February 20th in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
As our faithful companions are already accustomed to, we will follow all the new challenges of the G-Drive Racing team on the Instagram page of G-Drive Serbia, so we recommend that all fans of endurance races who have not yet done so follow our page.
Until some new opportunity, sports greetings!