Focus On: The ELMS

With all of the Porsche and Webber ruckus surrounding the WEC this year it’s been all too easy to forget that there’s another, equally awesome championship happening around Europe’s best tracks in 2014. As a precursor to this weekend’s 4 Hour race at the legendary Imola circuit, we asked three of the drivers to tell us what’s so good about the European Le Mans Series.

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Stuart Hall - Gulf Racing

The ELMS in my eyes is just a baby version of the World Endurance Championship. The WEC is fantastic and I had the time of my life doing that last year with Aston Martin Racing, but because of time commitments and things like that we've decided to have a shot at the ELMS this year.

It's been through a period where it struggled but now it's in a massive boom; you can see by the strength in numbers in LMP2, GTE and GTC. It's really tough out there and the BoP is predominantly about Ferrari at the moment, but we love it and we're having a good time. Hopefully we'll get some good results and we might be back in the WEC next year.

At the front you've still got some really quick drivers; Bertolini, Griffin, Armindo, but there are also far more novices because It's a great learning platform for the WEC. It's strange having the GT3 cars out there because they're not that much slower than us and they're probably quicker in a straight line, so that's taken some getting used to. But like the WEC we all have the same right to be out there on the the tarmac so it's just trying to deal with the different situation.

It's going to be very difficult to get podiums and win races but if it was easy everyone would be doing it. You've just got to do your job, work hard, train hard, prepare well, and if you do that you'll give yourselves the best chance.

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Mike Lyons - AF Corse

Everyone that’s ever driven a sports car has had an eye on Le Mans from the moment they shut the door, and this is a way to open that door.

For me the ELMS is another rung up the ladder. I’ve been doing GT3 stuff in the Blancpain, GT Open, FIA GT3 etc. and for me going from GT3 to GTE is a big step forwards.

The WEC is the next step, and it’s not that far away; it would be easy to move up but it’s just getting the opportunity. A lot of the guys in the ELMS are doing both championships and the levels are all quite close, and the cars are basically the same.

We’ve come up to do the harder championship and so far the results have stayed the same, so on WEC race day I’ll be sitting in the garage trying to pick up information and learning as much as I can.

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Romain Brandela - New Blood by Morand

The ELMS is the best championship in the world for a guy like me; it’s a lot less expensive to run in because it’s only in Europe and I don’t have to spend so much time jetting around the world.

LMP2 is another level; I like GT but with LMP I’ve discovered something different, it’s like Formula 1 for me. There are a lot of amazing drivers like Christian (Klien), and for me to work with a guy like him is perfect.

Last year I was lucky to drive and I thought that I wouldn’t be able to drive in LMP2 this year because it’s so expensive, but with the ELMS and New Blood we found a solution; now I’m here with one of the best cars, in one of the best teams and with two of the best drivers.

I love the tracks we go to; Silverstone, Imola, Red Bull Ring, Le Castellet and Estoril, and while the WEC has only five LMP2 cars the ELMS has twelve, and all of them have a chance of winning the race.

The 4 Hours of Imola kicks off with practice sessions tomorrow before qualy and the race (green flag 3pm UK time) on Sunday. The whole race will be broadcast live on Motors TV with commentary from Radio Le Mans.