- The 2023 season kicks off this weekend (24, 25, and 26 March) at the Circuit Paul Ricard
- The 5th anniversary round of the Ultimate Cup Series welcomes its six disciplines
The 2023 season marks the 5th anniversary of the Ultimate Cup Series, which has fully found its place in the motorsport landscape for four seasons now. A five-star calendar, a growing field, renowned drivers, exceptional formats and a reinforced organisation… All the indicators are green!
The Endurance Prototype Challenge in full swing
The provisional grid of the sport-prototype discipline has never been as full as at the beginning of the year with no less than 27 cars expected in the Var, including 12 LMP3s, the flagship category, and 10 NP02s from French manufacturer Nova Proto.
A number of renowned teams will be on track in LMP3, including reigning champions Graff Racing, as well as the British team Nielsen Racing, Yvan Muller’s team M Racing, CD Sport and Pegasus Racing. This new season also marks the return of well-known teams from the Ultimate Cup Series and European and international competitions such as Team Virage, TS Corse and of course Inter Europol Competiton, but also the arrival of new teams – T2 Racing and BHK Motorsport. The French team Zosh Compétition will make its debut in LMP3 with two cars.
Three major manufacturers will be represented in LMP3, Duqueine, Ligier and Ginetta. MG Sound Studio is back again and will enter its Ginetta G61-LT-P3 against the Duqueine D08 and Ligier JS P320 of the various teams.
After winning everything in 2022, ANS Motorsport is back in force with a mixed programme of CN and NP02. The champions of the CN category for the team managed by Nicolas Schatz, Frédéric Crouillet and Mathys Jaubert, are taking the plunge and will team up on an NP02. The sport-prototype introduced at the beginning of 2021 continues to attract drivers to the ideal playground of the Ultimate Cup Series.
On the driver’s side, there will also be some great drivers with a certain Yann Ehrlacher, multiple WTCR Touring Car World Champion, without forgetting the Monegasque Stéphane Ortelli, winner of the 1998 Le Mans 24 Hours, among others. These great drivers do not make us forget the other protagonists, all of whom are motivated by the desire to shine, especially within such a strong field.
The first race of the season, lasting 4 hours, will take place on Saturday 25 March, entirely at night.
Entry list: https://bit.ly/entry-list-proto.
Diversity in the Endurance GT-Touring Challenge
Emblematic brands such as Ferrari, Porsche, BMW, Ligier, Alpine and Renault will be represented in the four categories that make up the Endurance GT-Touring Challenge.
The reigning champions of the overall drivers’ classification, Jean-Paul Pagny, Jean-Bernard Bouvet and the artist-driver David Hallyday, are putting their crown back on the line. The trio of the Visiom team will try to shine in the general classification, at the wheel of the Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo, but will have to play with the competition, starting with the Renault RS01 of AB Sport Auto driven by Rémy Kirscdörffer and Jonathan Cochet.
The Porsche Cup category will undoubtedly be very competitive with six cars in the running, three of which will be driven by Martinet by Alméras, with the champions of the category in 2022, Joffrey Dorchy and Julien Froment. They will be accompanied for the occasion by Mathieu Martins. The emblematic boss of the eponymous company, Pierre Martinet, will continue to team up with his faithful teammate Gérard Tremblay. This category also sees the arrival of the Italian team GDL67 Racing, facing 2B Autosport and GP Racing Team.
ANS Motorsport will not be satisfied with a sport prototype programme, as the team will enter a Ligier JS2 R, which will be driven by the team’s driver boss.
In addition to the additional teams expected this season and which have already confirmed their intention to enter, two new French structures are joining the ranks of the Endurance GT-Touring Challenge, XP Racing with a Ferrari 488 Challenge and L’Espace Bienvenue with a BMW M4 GT4.
The 4-hour race will be held on Sunday 26 March.
Entry list: https://bit.ly/entry-list-gt-endurance.
The Sprint GT-Touring Challenge, a winning formula in 2023
The format of the Sprint GT-Touring Challenge initiated last year has proved its worth and has allowed the drivers to combine pleasure and competition. With two races of 25 minutes and one of 50 minutes, there is no room for error, otherwise hopes of victory are immediately dashed.
The grid for the first round at the Circuit Paul Ricard is looking good with at least 28 GTs expected to be on track throughout the weekend with a wide variety of makes. Alpine, Audi, Bentley, BMW, Corvette, Ferrari, Ginetta, Lamborghini, Opel, Porsche, Renault. They will all be there, in the different categories constituting as many playgrounds favourable to competition and driving sensations.
The 3A category, which is dedicated to GT3 homologated cars, will be contested by at least six cars, a Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo (SR&R), two Bentley Continental GT3 (CMR), two Renault RS01 (AB Sport Auto) and a Corvette C7 GT3-R (JRM Racing Team). The Italian team SR&R, which won the class classification, is planning to make the trip with four other cars; Italian cars of course.
The French team CMR, based in Alès, reigning champion of the general classification, all categories included, will line up, in addition to its British GT3s, a Ferrari 488 Challenge in the 3B category reserved for single-brand cup cars, where we will also find three Lamborghini Super Trofeo under the BDR Competition Grupo Prom banner.
The BMW M4 GT4, Alpine A110 GT4 and Audi R8 LMS GT4 will be racing in the race to try and take the honours in the category dedicated to them.
The three races of the Sprint GT-Touring Challenge will take place on Saturday 25 March.
Entry list: https://bit.ly/entry-list-gt-sprint.
Who will succeed Nicolas Prost in the Monoplace Challenge?
The two-time defending champion of the Monoplace Challenge, Nicolas Prost, will not be challenging for the title, leaving the field open to the drivers of this 2023 vintage.
Three types of single-seaters – F3R, FR2.0 and F4 – will compete for the victory of their category with a diversity of drivers, between the Gentlemen and the young talents in search of success. There will be eleven drivers who want to succeed the illustrious Franco-Swiss driver on the starting grid of the first round in Var.
The format of the Monoplace Challenge remains unchanged with three 20-minute races.
List of entrants: https://bit.ly/entry-list-singleseater