With two 4-hour races on the Autódromo do Algarve, everyone expected the European Le Mans Series grand season finale to be particularly exciting. Indeed, it turned out to be a thrilling event with multiple fights on track and changeable weather conditions. As the weekend in Portimão came to an end, COOL Racing / CLX Motorsport had retained their LMP3 Teams and Drivers titles. In total, Alex Garcia, Marcos Siebert and Adrien Chila notched up three wins and two podiums this season!
Thanks to a success at the 4 Hours of Algarve and a second place at the 4 Hours of Portimão, the team clinched the second place in the LMP2 Pro/Am category. Alex Coigny, Nicolas Lapierre and Malthe Jakobsen finished just six tenths away from the title, with two wins, three podiums and two fastest laps this season.
LMP3 European Le Mans Series back-to-back champion!
At the wheel of the Ligier JS P320, Alex Garcia, Marcos Siebert and Adrien Chila – respectively Mexican, Argentinian and French – secured the title on Friday as part of the 4 Hours of Algarve, opening round of the doubleheader event. The trio crossed the finish line in fourth position, meaning that they would retain the titles that COOL Racing / CLX Motorsport had clinched twelve months before with Maurice Smith, Michael Benham and Malthe Jakobsen. The No.17 car had a flawless year and scored 121 points, a record! The three men wrapped up their season in style by notching up another podium finish, following on three wins, one other podium, one Top 5, one pole position and four fastest laps.
Less than a second away from the LMP2 Pro/Am title…
The team has also distinguished itself in the LMP2 Pro/Am category. Alex Coigny, Nicolas Lapierre and Malthe Jakobsen climbed on to the top step of the podium at the 4 Hours of Algarve after plenty of twists and turns. The No.37 ORECA 07 managed to make a fantastic comeback and won the race in the final moments. Before the final round, the car was just two points behind the leader. It once again delivered a solid performance during the 4 Hours of Portimão, and the Swiss, French and Danish drivers finally crossed the chequered flag less than a second away from the winner. Those 621 thousandths granted them the runner-up spot in both the event and the championship, behind François Perrodo and Matthieu Vaxivière. This marked the end of a great season, punctuated by a fifth-place finish in the overall standings, all categories included.
José Maria Lopez, Reshad de Gérus and Vladislav Lomko’s No.47 car was fighting for a podium finish, before getting delayed by various race incidents. The sister car finished sixth in the championship, with one podium, three Top 5 finishes, two poles and one fastest lap.
Unlucky in the Michelin Le Mans Cup
Although competitive, the two Ligier JS P320s entered by COOL Racing / CLX Motorsport failed to deliver in Portugal. Luis Sanjuan and David Droux’s No.97 car raced among the leaders yet got repeatedly hit by other competitors. Despite a win at Road To Le Mans, they finished 7th in the championship. Cédric Oltramare’s No.87 car finished one place ahead, with one podium, one Top 5 and one pole position.
Nicolas Lapierre, driver and founder of CLX Motorsport: “This season we had two goals: to take on new challenges, entering a second LMP2 ORECA 07 and discovering the Asian LMS, but also to hold on to our LMP3 titles. It’s never easy to retain a title yet it’s now mission accomplished, thanks to the great results achieved by Alex, Marcos and Adrien. Drivers and team have managed to combine reliability and performance. It’s a real source of satisfaction. We just missed out on the title in the LMP2 Pro/Am class, but we did our best right up to the end and I’m proud of the team. Alex was returning to the competition, Malthe was taking his first steps in the category, they won in Abu Dhabi and had a great European season, not to mention their podium finish at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. It’s a shame we did not manage to win in the Pro category with Pechito, Reshad and Vlad. It’s frustrating because we had what it takes to shine. In the Michelin Le Mans Cup, our results don’t reflect our performances. We’ve lacked success, but these things happen. This season’s overall outcome is nonetheless very positive and motivates us to do even better. We will build on that in 2024, looking to meet high objectives in each championship.”