- Seven grids and nearly a hundred and fifty cars will compete in the Super Final of the Ultimate Cup Series European in the Var region.
- Renowned drivers such as Sébastien Loeb, Stéphane Ortelli, and David Hallyday, along with prestigious teams, will face off.
The sixth act of the 2023 season of the Ultimate Cup Series European will take place this weekend (November 24, 25, and 26) at the Circuit Paul Ricard. Serving as the venue for the super final of the 5th season of the championship promoted by GP Motors Sport Series, the Var circuit will be used in its 5.8-kilometer configuration, identical to that of the Formula 1 French Grand Prix (from 2018 to 2022).
In the lineup for this super final, three days of intense competition for the seven categories: Endurance Prototype Challenge, Endurance GT-Touring Challenge by KENNOL, Sprint GT-Touring Challenge, Single-seater, Legends Cars Cup, 208 Racing Cup, and Relay 208. It is in Castellet that the last titles still up for grabs will be contested in the various disciplines. All races on Saturday and Sunday will be broadcast live on the championship’s digital platforms.
Endurance Prototype Challenge: Record number of entries with 35 prototypes on the grid for the super final at Castellet.
With no less than 35 cars entered next weekend at the Paul Ricard Circuit, the Endurance Prototype Challenge sets a record for entries since the inaugural race in March 2019. The discipline continues to attract teams and drivers from around the world, representing 17 nationalities among the 35 crews, spread across the LMP3, NP02, and CN prototype categories. The flagship LMP3 category will not be the only one to make a strong impression with 16 cars – 13 Ligier JS P320, 2 Duqueine D08, and 1 Ginetta G61-LT-P3 – while 15 Nova Proto NP02 will compete alongside four CN.
Thanks to its third victory of the season in the previous race at Magny-Cours, George King, accompanied by Manuel Espirito Santo and Viacheslav Gutkak in Team Virage’s Ligier JS P320 No. 14, secured the overall titles in the Endurance Prototype Challenge and in the LMP3 category. The trio of the No. 14 Ligier, on a positive streak with two consecutive victories since the break, aims to finish the season on the top step of the podium but will face unprecedented competition, starting with the regulars of the TS Corse’s Duqueine D08 No. 27, led throughout the season by Ayrton Simmons. He will be supported in the Var by the young Danish hopeful Theodor Peter Roos Jensen, who will make his very first LMP3 race, as well as by the Australian Nathan Kuma.
- Team Virage will strengthen its presence with two additional Ligier JS P320s, No. 44 for Mexicans Diego de la Torre and Raul Guzman, accompanied by the team’s co-manager and 2023 Michelin Le Mans Cup champion, Julien Gerbi, and No. 92 for Jamie Falvey, Jacopo Faccioni, and Axel Gnos.
- Inter Europol Competition, the victorious team of the 2023 Le Mans 24 Hours in the LMP2 category, returns to the Ultimate Cup Series European for the first time since 2019. The Polish team will field two Ligier JS P320s (No. 15 and No. 88), with the notable presence of Romain Favre on the first one.
- Graff Racing returns with its two LMP3s. No. 16 will be entrusted to Greek drivers Georgios Kolovos and Panagiotis Kaitatzis, as well as former motorcycle rider Louis Rossi, who made his LMP3 debut at Castellet last year. No. 65 will be shared by a pair of Australians, Fraser Ross and George Nakas.
- Racing Spirit of Léman, present throughout the season with an NP02, will also compete with an LMP3, entrusted to Jean-Ludovic Foubert and Marius Fossard.
- Dutch driver Beitske Visser will make her debut in the Ultimate Cup Series European on BHK Motorsport’s Ligier JS 320 No. 35, alongside the team’s owner, Francesco Dracone.
- After participating in the first three races of the season, Zosh Compétition returns for this final with its two Ligier JS P320s.
- Konrad Motorsport and Reiter Engineering will each enter a Ligier JS P320, while MG Sound Studio will field its Ginetta G61-LT-P3. A Duqueine D08 will be entered by T2 Racing.
The category reserved for NP02 prototypes developed by Nova Proto is booming with 15 chassis lined up at Castellet. The quality of the proposed lineups is the best argument for this category, where four teams are still mathematically in the running for the title. Each of the five contested confrontations has been won by different teams.
At the start of the final, Nicolas Maulini and Jacques Wolff, victorious in Navarra and authors of two other podiums at Estoril and Magny-Cours, are the best placed in the NP02 title race. The duo in Racing Spirit of Léman’s No. 51 has only a one-point lead over Frédéric Crouillet, on NP02 No. 72 (ANS Motorsport). Pierre Courroye (DB Autosport No. 20), as well as the duo of DIMAB Motorsport by ANS No. 11 formed by Grégory de Sybourg and Karen Gaillard, have a capital of 84 points, 15.5 points behind.
Despite their promising lineup on paper, Daniel Bassora and Philippe Yschard, accompanied by Mathias Beche (DB Autosport No. 21), are still looking for their first success this season.
- Nerguti Competition returns with its trio composed of the winner of the 1998 Le Mans 24 Hours, Stéphane Ortelli, as well as Dylan and Alban Nerguti, as does Cogemo with its NP02 shared by Sébastien Morales, Philippe Thirion, and Denis Caillon.
- CD Sport doubles in the Var by entering its second NP02 for the first time, bearing No. 28, for James Sweetnam and the young Frenchmen Willyam Gosselin and Thomas Imbourg.
- Renowned in the LMP3 category, Graff Racing adds another level by entering an NP02 for the first time, which it will entrust to its “house” drivers, Eric Trouillet, Luis Sanjuan, and David Droux.
- The Semspeed team from the Belgian Semoulin family will also enter its NP02 after being forced to retire early in the meeting last March.
- After successful hours in single-seaters, particularly in 2019 in the Ultimate Cup Series European, LAMO Racing arrives in the prototype category with two brand-new NP02s.
Four crews will vie for the final victory in the CN category, with the participation of two Norma M20 FCs: No. 73 from ANS Motorsport and the newcomers from T2 Racing. In addition, Wolf Racing France will field two Wolf GB08s.
The ultimate confrontation of the season promises to be one of the most exciting in the last five seasons, culminating in the Var weekend, scheduled for Sunday, November 26
Endurance GT-Touring Challenge by KENNOL: Sébastien Loeb at the Start, AF Corse, Akkodis ASP, and Racing Spirit of Léman Join UGT3 Category
The 2023 season of the Endurance GT-Touring Challenge by KENNOL will conclude in grand style this weekend at the Paul Ricard Circuit. With twenty-two cars on the grid, the arrival of prestigious teams such as AF Corse and Akkodis ASP, and the participation of French WRT legend Sébastien Loeb, this ultimate event promises to be thrilling.
With the overall and UGT3A category titles already secured by drivers Jean-Paul Pagny, David Hallyday, and Jean-Bernard Bouvet in the Visiom team’s Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo No. 1, victory will be the sole objective shared by all contenders. The most prestigious among them is none other than the nine-time World Rally Champion, Sébastien Loeb, who will drive the Renault RS01 for Krafft Racing, alongside Laurène Godey and Grégory Launier.
The premier category of the discipline also sees the entry of the prestigious Italian team AF Corse, with a Ferrari 488 GT3 entrusted to Franck, Henri, and Simon Dezoteux. The battle will be fierce as the French team Akkodis ASP Team will field a Mercedes-AMG GT3 for Christophe Bourret and Pascal Gibon, facing the Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3 entered for the first time this season by Racing Spirit of Léman, with Derek DeBoer, Florent Grizaud, and Erwan Bastard.
- The suspense continues in the UGT3B category, but with a 22-point lead at the start of the weekend, Miguel Moiola (Vortex No. 701) will have favorable winds against Roland Marchix (Ferrari 488 Challenge No. 74/XP Racing).
- The six Porsche 911 GT3 Cup ‘992’, attracting much attention, will compete among the familiar teams Martinet by Alméras, Seb Lajoux Racing, and GP Racing Team, as well as the guest entries 2B Autosport and Racing Technologie. In this category, Joffrey Dorchy and Mathieu Martins (Martinet by Alméras) have already sealed the fate of the championship.
- Regulars in the Sprint version of the GT-Touring Challenge, Alfredo Hernandez and Amaury Bonduel will team up for the four-hour race, driving the Lamborghini Super Trofeo No. 77 for Bonduel Racing.
- The UGTC4A category, won convincingly by Regis Rego de Sebes and Daniel Waszcinski (BMW M4 GT4 No. 17 from Espace Bienvenue), will be more open than ever with five teams highly motivated and a great diversity of cars: Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4 (Mirage Racing), Audi R8 LMS GT4 (GL Racing Team), BMW M4 GT4 (Espace Bienvenue and WS Racing), and Ginetta G55 (CMR).
- Julien Lemoine, supported this weekend by Clément Moreno, is eager to finish the season on a high note to secure the UGTC4B championship on the Ligier JS2 R No. 42 for ANS Motorsport.
- The overall team championship has already been won by Martinet by Alméras.
The 4-hour race will take place on Sunday, November 26, between 09:25 and 13:25.
Sprint GT-Touring Challenge: Eleven Manufacturers in the Mix for the Super Final at Castellet
The diversity of the Sprint GT-Touring Challenge grid promises an exciting finale at the Paul Ricard Circuit, showcasing the quality of the participating teams. Among the 22 cars competing in the three confrontations (two short races of 25 minutes each and one long race of 50 minutes), a notable addition is the entry of the BMW M6 GT3 from Rosel Racing by L’Espace Bienvenue, driven by André Grammatico and the young Belgian talent Benjamin Lessennes. Racetivity will also manage the 2008 Ford Matech, which made an impressive debut at Magny-Cours last month.
The two cars, BMW and Ford, will compete in the premier UGT3A category, joining a field of eight cars, including the AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3, sporting the iconic number 51, symbolic of their victory in the 2023 24 Hours of Le Mans in the Hypercar class. This Italian GT3 will be driven by Gabriele Marotta, competing against the JRM Racing Corvette C7 GT3R, the two CMR Bentley Continental GT3s, and the two AB Sport Auto Renault RS01s.
In the championship title race, three categories will be at stake in this decisive round in Var: the overall team standings, the UGT3B category title, and the UGTC4B title.
- With a comfortable lead of 62 points approaching this final round, SR&R dominates the overall team standings. However, with 64 points still up for grabs, the Italian team will have to wait at least for the first race to secure the crown. Rosel Racing by L’Espace Bienvenue, 2nd in the standings, could potentially delay this outcome, especially as CMR is also in the top 3.
- In the UGT3B category, the title will go to a driver from the Italian SR&R team, with Francesco Atzori being the most consistent behind the wheel of the Ferrari 488 Challenge shared with Edoardo Barbolini, the reigning champion in the UGT3A category. Atzori has only a slim 10-point lead over his teammate.
- Although the gap is more significant in the UGTC4B standings, François Denis is in a good position to steer the Ginetta G50 GT4 (Speedcar) to the title, especially as his main rival, Serge Nauges, will be absent.
- In UGT3A, Eric Mouez (CMR) has already secured the title against Frank Thybaud, just as Alfredo Hernandez (BDR Competition Grupo Prom) in UGT3A2, Jérémy Faligand (Seb Lajoux Racing) in Porsche Cup, not forgetting Grégory Launier (Rosel Racing by L’Espace Bienvenue) in UGTC4A.
The three confrontations will take place both day and night on Friday and Saturday.
Single-Seater Challenge: Paul Trojani Holds His Destiny in His Hands
By dominating the previous meeting at Magny-Cours, Paul Trojani finds himself in an advantageous position heading into the final round at the Paul Ricard Circuit.
Despite an unprecedented level of competition this weekend, with the participation of 16 single-seaters in Var, the Corsican driver of the F3R No. 21 from Graff Racing enters this final round with a comfortable lead of 66 points over Gaspard Le Gallais (F3R No. 15/CMR). Although the Swiss driver still has a theoretical chance to win the title with 84 points at stake in the three confrontations, it will require a perfect weekend on his part. On the other hand, Formula Motorsport driver Walter Rykart is in 3rd position in the F3R standings and leads the F3R Ultimate standings, reserved for gentleman drivers.
In addition to regulars in the discipline such as Frédéric Boillot (Race Motorsport), Alban Nerguti (Nerguti Competition), and Christophe Hurni (Sports-Promotion), three drivers will make their debut in the F3R discipline: Enzo Richer (Graff Racing), Adrien Hervouët (JRM Racing Team), and Aubin Robert Prince (Formula Motorsport). Marius Mezard, who delivered an impressive performance during his first F3R weekend, will be back behind the wheel of the Sports-Promotion single-seater.
The undisputed winner of the FR2.0 category, Jordan Roupnel (CMR), approaches the final round with confidence despite his ambition to conclude the season strongly against Gilles Depierre (Rever’Team).
Also noteworthy is the participation of a Mygale F4 driven by Chester Kieffer (Formula Motorsport) and a Formula Master for Philippe Daric (JRM Racing Team).
The first of the three races will take place on Friday, November 24, while the last two of the season will unfold on Saturday, November 25.