New season, same high goals for Belén García

Published on Wednesday, April 10, 2024

New season, same high goals for Belén García

The countdown is drawing to a close, and Belén García is set to continue her rise in endurance racing. After impressing in the Asian Le Mans Series and Michelin Le Mans Cup, the 24-year-old Spaniard will make her European Le Mans Series debut this weekend on home soil at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

As soon as the 2023 season ended, Belén García turned her attention to the future. The day after her first full campaign in Endurance, the Ametlla del Vallès native got behind the wheel of a DKR Engineering’s Duqueine M30 - D08 for the Portimão rookie tests. During this productive day concluded with the best time in LMP3, the Spaniard and the Luxembourg-based team quickly agreed to link their fates at the next level.

"I want to compete with the best in our sport, and the European Le Mans Series is the right step towards this goal," says Belén, who also joined the Synergy Driver Performance structure ranks during the off-season. “I’m delighted to do it with DKR Engineering. I was delighted to do the rookie tests with them. They have such a solid reputation and experience, winning Road to Le Mans three times and winning many titles in the Michelin Le Mans Cup, Asian Le Mans Series, and the LMP3 class of European Le Mans Series in 2021. I felt at home immediately, and they know what they were doing. The Duqueine is a different car from the one I drove last year, but I was able to adapt and get comfortable quite fast, which is always a very good thing.”

Belén García now takes the next step after a season marked by solid performances, including impressive progress in the Michelin Le Mans Cup. A diligent and hard-working driver, the telematics student made her mark as a member of the only crew to score three consecutive top-five finishes in the Michelin Le Mans Cup. Tenth in the final general classification, the Catalan was second in the back half of the season, enough to make her one of the drivers to watch this year. After a 23-week winter break, the Catalan is now excited to return to racing!

"The winter break has been so long – 23 weeks! - and I can’t wait for everything to begin again and start another season”, adds Belén. “I love competition, and I missed it so much. Since Portimão last year, I never stopped training. As soon as the 2023 season closed, this new season started. It's non-stop, and I've been preparing so much physically and mentally. It’s the same category but at a higher level, and it’s fantastic to have the opportunity to race in such an amazing championship. Last year, I aimed to earn a drive in ELMS, and we did it. It's an achievement, but I take nothing for granted, and I'm ready to put in all the work needed to perform there and fight for wins. I will also enjoy the longer races, so I’m absolutely looking forward to them!”

Belén García will be joined this year by two experienced endurance drivers: Germany's Alexander Mattschull, who won the 2022 Michelin Le Mans Cup, and American Wyatt Brichacek, who scored two LMP3 podiums last year in the European Le Mans Series. This trio will share the #4 Duqueine M30 - D08 run by DKR Engineering, a veritable reference in the category under the leadership of Kendy Janclaes.

"I met my teammates for the first time a few weeks ago at Paul Ricard”, continues Belén. “We are all focused on the same goal, so everything is progressing nicely. It's easy to find common points and gel as a crew when people work towards the same target, so it bodes well for this season. That being said, testing is one thing, but the races will be the only verdict, so I can’t wait to keep working with them and the team throughout the season to achieve our ambitious goals.”

Although Belén García is no stranger to the LMP3 category, the European Le Mans Series is a much tougher field, with more experienced competitors and longer events, with four-hour races. Despite these changes, the driver supported by the RACC Mobility Club and the Centre d'Alt Rendiment in Sant Cugat del Vallès is up for the challenge.

"My target is the same as always: win," affirms Belén. “I know everyone on the grid has the same goal, so it won’t be easy, but I believe we are a strong team and can achieve big things. I feel prepared for the challenge, and I will gain even more experience in Endurance. For now, let's see where we are as I’m definitely ready to go!”

The calendar includes six races across Europe. Belén García kicks off the season on home soil with the 4 Hours of Barcelona before heading to Circuit Paul Ricard and the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari in Imola. After the summer break, the championship will resume at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps before heading to Mugello and the season finale at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve in Portimão.

Forty-three cars, including ten LMP3s, will be on track at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. During the European Le Mans Series Official Tests, the field got back into the swing of things on Monday and Tuesday. The trio in the #4 car put in a total of 195 laps throughout the five day and night sessions to get as ready as possible and has since begun their in-depth work, combing through the data collected and fine-tuning their set-up and strategic options before returning to the track on Friday. The season's first race starts at 11:30 am on Sunday.

"Testing is over, and we've done our homework before race week, but that's not what was most important yesterday", concludes Belen. "It's been such a tragic and sad day in Barcelona, and I would like to offer my heartfelt condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Gerhard Freundorfer, who lost his life in the paddock. All the members of the Proton Huber Competition team, as well as the Michelin Le Mans Cup and European Le Mans Series families who worked with him, are in my thoughts."

Timetable

Friday 12 April
11:50-13:20 Free Practice 1

Saturday 13 April
10:10-11:40 Free Practice 2
15:05-15:20 LMP3 Qualifying

Sunday 14 April
11:30-15:30 Race

 

Watch the race live here 

Qualifying Saturday 13 April: 4 Hours of Barcelona 2024 (English)

Race Sunday 14 April: 4 Hours of Barcelona 2024 (English)

2024 calendar
14 April 2024: 4 Hours of Barcelona (Spain)
5 May 2024: 4 Hours of Castellet (France)
7 July 2024: 4 Hours of Imola (Italy)
25 August 2024: 4 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium)
29 September 2024: 4 Hours of Mugello (Italy)
19 October 2024: 4 Hours of Portimão (Portugal)

 

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