Present on the very first World Series by Renault calendar, Circuit Bugatti Le Mans renews its relationship with the Renault Sport Technologies organized event for a weekend that promises to be crucial ! On the narrow Sarthe based track, the contenders will have to put in an impeccable showing to have a chance to shine or clinch their titles.
In between the races, the Renault Sport Show stunt drivers, accompanied by Jean Ragnotti and New Mégane GT, will keep the excitement going ! The highlight of the on-track activities will be the Infiniti Red Bull Racing F1 Show led by the reserve driver for the Austrian constructor Sébastien Buemi, who also competes for the Renault e.dams team in Formula E.
Over at the Renault Village, spectators in search of thrills can take on the Bag Jump and the rock climbing wall. For the others, there will be several activities and displays on offer alongside test drives of the Renault Zoé, Twizy, Twingo and Kadjar. And, Michel Vaillant will be on hand for the sneak preview of his latest comic book !
Formula Renault 3.5 Series : Rowland and Fortec aim for the title
With a 50-point lead, Oliver Rowland (Fortec Motorsports) arrives in France with the opportunity of clinching the title. Following his sixth win of the year at the Nürburgring, the Englishman will be eyeing the record for most victories in a season held by Carlos Sainz. Facing him, Matthieu Vaxiviere (Lotus) will have to finish ahead of his rival to keep his hopes alive.
Fortec Motorsports can also wrap up the team title with Oliver Rowland and fourth overall, Jazeman Jaafar. Matthieu Vaxiviere and Marlon Stockinger (Lotus) will have to take a large point tally to reduce the gap. Very close to its headquarters, the DAMS team is still in contention and will aim for a first victory this year for their rookie, Nyck de Vries and Dean Stoneman
Double winner since the summer break, Tio Ellinas (Strakka Racing) will be out to make it three to close in on third place in the general classification and pull away from Tom Dillmann (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin), who will be chasing after the win in his native France. Returning to the podium at the Nürburgring, Gustav Malja (Strakka Racing) will want to add to his string of eight consecutive point scoring results to put some distance between himself and Egor Orudzhev (Arden Motorsport). Nicholas Latifi (Arden Motorsport), Aurélien Panis (Tech 1 Racing) and Roy Nissany (Tech 1 Racing) will give it their all to rejoin the top ten in points.
Following his best finish obtained in Germany, Alfonso Celis (AVF) will want to finally taste the champagne, while Sean Gelael (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin) and Beitske Visser (AVF) will hope to create an exploit. After his encouraging debut at the Nürburgring, Yu Kanamaru will be back with Pons Racing alongside Nikita Zlobin who will make his debut in France.
Race 1 : Saturday 26 September at 13h30
Race 2 : Sunday 27 September at 13h30
Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 : who’s next ?
Once again this year, the Eurocup Renault 2.0 has shown its immense competitiveness with eight different winners since the start of the season. Not on the podium since Budapest, Louis Delétraz (Josef Kaufmann Racing) still leads the way but five drivers want to overtake him in France.
Facing the Swiss driver is his team mate Kevin Jörg (Josef Kaufmann Racing), Jack Aitken (Koiranen GP), winner at the least three rounds, Jake Hughes (Koiranen GP), in the points in the last nine races, Anthoine Hubert (Tech 1 Racing) and Ben Barnicoat (Fortec Motorsports), who won for the first time in Germany. Ukyo Sasahara (ART Junior Team) and Matevos Isaakyan (JD Motorsport) both finished on the podium at the Nürburgring and they will be worth keeping an eye on as will Dennis Olsen (Manor MP Motorsport) who has nothing to lose.
The battle for tenth place will also be intense. The highest place rookie in the general classification, Harrison Scott (AVF) has the position, but Martin Kodrić (Fortec Motorsports) has closed right in on the Briton with his top-three at the Nürburgring. After failing to score points last time out, Darius Oskoui (ART Junior Team), Callan O’Keeffe (Fortec Motorsports), Thiago Vivacqua (JD Motorsport) and Ignazio D’Agosto (Manor MP Motorsport) all want to bounce back.
At the bottom end of the standings, James Allen (ARTA Engineering), Simon Gachet (Tech 1 Racing) and Anton De Pasquale (Koiranen GP) will all hope to surprise. Amaury Richard (ARTA Engineering), Hugo de Sadeleer (Tech 1 Racing), Valentin Hasse-Clot (Fortec Motorsports), Bruno Baptista (Manor MP Motorsport), Christopher Anthony (Manor MP Motorsport) and Nikita Troitskiy (JD Motorsport) hope to score their first points in the category, while Denis Bulatov (AVF) will be the lone wild-card entry at Le Mans.
Race 1 : Saturday 26 September at 15h05
Race 2 : Sunday 27 September at 15h00
Renault Sport Trophy : the first champions ?
With one victory and three runner-up finishes in four Endurance races, the David Fumanelli - Dario Capitanio (Oregon Team) duo come to Le Mans as the solid leaders. If another win would be synonymous with the title, their stable mates Luciano Bacheta and Niccolò Nalio (Oregon Team) will do all they can to stop them. Still in the hunt, the Art Junior Team tandems of Andrea Pizzitola - Richard Gonda and Indy Donje - Toni Forné will aim for their maiden win, especially as the ladder pair was overtaken by the V8 Racing #4 in the points with their triumph in Germany. The other teams are now eliminated but they will aim for their first podium.
The Prestige drivers will be charged with the qualifying duties for the Endurance race. In this category, Dario Capitanio also occupies the top spot. Following his win at the Nürburgring, the Italian native leads the way ahead of team mate Niccolò Nalio and Diederik Sijthoff (V8 Racing). Behind the top three, Max Braams will try for another podium after his first in Germany. And to maintain their championship hopes, Toni Forné and Richard Gonda will have the same objective. Out of title contention, Philippe Bourgois (Zele Racing), Andres Mendez (Zele Racing), Jeroen Schothorst (Equipe Verschuur) and Adalberto Baptista (Oregon Team) will all try to create a surprise.
Following his German triumph in Elite, Andrea Pizzitola will try to overtake Steijn Schothorst (Equipe Verschuur) before the season finale at Jerez. The two have pulled away from the rest of the field, but some like David Fumanelli or Indy Dontje will attack to pick up their first wins in Sprint Elite. Luciano Bacheta will have to come up with the goods if he is to stay in the race for the crown. Trailing in the general classification, Nicky Pastorelli (V8 Racing), Bas Schothorst (Zele Racing) and Alan Hellmeister (Oregon Team) will have to put on a show in the field where Silverstone race winner Pieter Schothorst (Equipe Verschuur), will make his return. Last but not least, former Formula 1 driver Christian Klien will star at the wheel of the Zele Racing #9, shared with Philippe Bourgeois.
Endurance Race : Saturday 26 September at 16h15
Sprint Race 1 : Sunday 27 September at 12h10
Sprint Race 2 : Sunday 27 September at 16h15
TV programming / Qualifying on Youtube
All the weekend action will be televised live on the Eurosport Player. The Formula Renault 3.5 Series will be shown live on Eurosport International, Eurosport UK and Eurosport 2 France. The Eurosport group will also broadcast the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 on a delayed basis. Motors TV will air the Renault Sport Trophy Endurance and Prestige Sprint races live and will provide delayed coverage of the Elite Sprint. Qualifying for the three categories will be available on the Renault Sport Youtube channel.
Jean-Pascal Dauce, Renault Sport Technologies Director of Motorsport : “This September has been very busy with our visits to three motor racing monuments : Silverstone, the Nürburgring and Le Mans. It is a true pleasure to return to the Sarthe after such a long pause. The atmosphere should be exceptional and there will be tension in the air with several competitors having a chance to clinch titles this weekend. On this tight track, qualifying will be crucial and even the smallest errors will have to be avoided while scrupulously respecting the track limits ! While the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 competitors had the chance to learn the circuit during the pre-season collective tests, the current crop of Formula Renault 3.5 Series and Renault Sport R.S. 01 drivers are in for something new. What a way to promise a great show !”
Formula Renault 3.5 Series
Qualifying : J. Lancaster (GBR) 1’25’’677.
Race 1 : 1. B. Baguette (BEL) – 2. P. Di Sabatino (ITA) – 3. O. Turvey (GBR)
Race 2 : 1. B. Baguette (BEL) – 2. M. Molina (ESP) – 3. J. Alguersuari (ESP)
Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0
Qualifying : J.E. Vergne (FRA) 1’35’’205.
Race 1 : 1. J.E. Vergne (FRA) – 2. A. Costa (ESP) – 3. A.F. da Costa (POR)
Race 2 : 1. J.E. Vergne (FRA) – 2. A.F. da Costa (POR) – 3. K. Magnussen (DEN)