BMW Sports Trophy Team Marc VDS will race in the European Le Mans Series (ELMS) at Estoril in Portugal, on October 18 and 19. The Belgian squad will enter one BMW Z4 GT3 in the GTC class, with Bas Leinders and Markus Palttala to be joined by a third, as yet undecided, pilot.
The ELMS features multi class racing closely related to the famous Le Mans 24 Hours event. There are three classes – one prototype class and two GT classes. The GTC class is based around GT3 machinery, a perfect fit for the team’s BMW Z4 GT3. The race will be four hours in duration.
However, in GTC at least one amateur driver – rated bronze in the series’ driver classification – must drive. With that in mind, the team are still to finalise their line up as they investigate the possibilities at hand.
The team last took part in Le Mans racing in 2010, racing in the Le Mans Series – a precursor to the current ELMS. In their single race in the series, the team won at Spa with the Ford GT GT1. They have also made two starts at Le Mans, in 2010 with the Ford GT and then one year later with an Aston Martin LMP1 car.
Since then, the team have largely concentrated on GT3 racing, building a strong relationship with BMW Motorsport. The team’s last race was the 24 Hours of Spa, where they scored a second placed finish.
“I raced in this series a lot between 2005 and 2010, back when it was the Le Mans Series, and going back is awesome,” says Palttala. “It’s great to see the ELMS doing well after a couple of very dry seasons and I’m interested to see how the level compares to the races we experienced this year. It’s great to race at Estoril – it’s an old school circuit. There’s also the added bonus that this race is right next to the sea, and it’s not a bad place to spend a weekend in October!”
“Obviously it’s important to continue racing with the team, as we would have had a huge gap before our next activities if we had not raced after the 24 Hours of Spa!” believes Leinders, who temporarily stepped aside from driving duties at Spa. “We’re still considering our options for 2015, so it makes sense to get a taste of ELMS right now. It appears to be a very strong series, so I’m looking forward to it. On the driver front, it’s very important that we find the right bronze rated driver, as we want to be competitive. The standard of the grid in the GTC class is very high.”