Franco Colapinto has added the European Le Mans Series (ELMS) to his 2021 programme in LMP2. The 17-year-old will be the youngest driver at the 24 Hours of Le Mans for G-Drive Racing. The team also added the 2021 Asian Le Mans Series 'Rookie of the Year' to the FIA World Championship race in the 6 Hours of Spa. The news comes after the announcement that Franco will race in the inaugural Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine season with MP Motorsport.
The Argentinean youngster started the 2021 season in the Middle East, making his LMP2 debut in ASLMS by taking three pole positions, three fastest laps, and three podiums in four races. His sensational performance´s in Asia impressed not only the sports-car scene but also G-Drive Racing by APR so much, that the Russian outfit has offered him a full-time ELMS drive. He will be sharing the Aurus 01 car with FIA WEC and ELMS champion Roman Rusinov (RU). The second teammate will be Formula 2 champion and current Formula E championship leader Nyck de Vries (NL), who is also the current AMG-Mercedes F1 reserve driver.
“I am super excited to race with G-Drive Racing by Algarve Pro in ELMS and pick up where we left off in Abu Dhabi. They made my first LMP2 experience unforgettable, providing me with the perfect car and everything I needed to feel comfortable in a new environment. We took pole positions and podiums together, but a win is still missing from the list for me and I am sure that with Roman and Nyck, we will achieve that as well.’’
In addition, Franco will enter the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the greatest motor race in the world. The 17-year-old will be the youngest driver on the grid of 62 cars and 186 drivers.
“Racing at Le Mans at my age, is something I couldn’t even dream of” – said the ROFGO supported driver. "I had my first taste of Le Mans last year at the virtual event, where I had the fastest average lap time amongst the real-life racers and now, I am ready to do it for real. I have never competed at a race longer than 4 hours, what better way to make my 24-hour race debut than doing it at the greatest race of all with a top team and teammates.“
Franco will also contest the opening round of the 2021 FIA World Endurance Championship season at Spa-Francorchamps alongside Rusinov and ex-Formula 1 driver Roberto Merhi (ESP). This will be his first time racing at FIA World Championship level.
‘’If I look at the names on the 6hr of Spa entry list, it’s hard to believe that I will race against some of the best drivers in the world, including multiple world champions. This won´t change my approach to the race, we go there to win and we have the right ingredients to make it happen.’’
“I am extremely thankful to G-Drive Racing by APR for this amazing opportunity. I will give my all to do them proud and learn as much as I can from my experienced teammates. I can’t thank Bullet enough for everything they do for me; without them, I wouldn’t be where I am now. I’d also like to say thanks to my partners ROFGO Racing, Campos Academy, Cockpit Simuladores, and Arai for their continuous support.”
Bullet Director María Catarineu said: "After Franco´s superlative performance in Asia, we are truly grateful to G-Drive Racing by APR and Roman for giving Franco this opportunity of a lifetime. To be able to compete at Le Mans and the ELMS with great teammates will be a fantastic learning experience for Franco. We must also thank Sam (Cox), Stewart (Cox), and David Leach for ultimately choosing him for this seat, in one of the most competitive cars on the grid. We look forward to a successful season together."
The 2021 ELMS calendar consists of six rounds and commences on April 18 at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spain.