European Le Mans Series

The European Le Mans Series ( ELMS also short ) is an organized by the Automobile Club de l' Ouest long-distance race series which is based since 2004 according to the rules and guidelines of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Up to and including 2005, the championship was held under the name of Le Mans Endurance Series ( LMES also short ) from 2006 to 2011 as the Le Mans Series ( LMS also short )


The European Le Mans Series was first held as a championship more than 1000 km race. Rarely championship runs were completed with larger distances and time periods. For example, in 2007 1,000 miles of the Mil Milhas and 2010 eight hours on the Circuit Paul Ricard. Since 2013, the race distance was limited to 3 hours. As is common in long-haul drive simultaneously multiple racing classes in a race. The race classification will be made ​​separately for each class and is independent of other classes. In each case, the fastest three driver pairings of a class take part after the races at a presentation ceremony. The classifications of the European Le Mans Series is based on the 24 Hours of Le Mans is supplemented by a brand trophy class and the group GT3 and dispensed in return for the more powerful LMP1 prototype category.

  • LMP2 (Le Mans Prototype 2): sports car with stock -based engines
  • LMPC (Le Mans Prototype Challenge ): Brand Cup vehicles from the manufacturer ORECA with motor unit of General Motors
  • GTE (Gran Turismo Endurance ): series -based sports car with more aerodynamic freedoms and restrictions on the driver's choice
  • GTC ( Gran Turismo Challenge ): series -based sports car with less aerodynamic freedoms and restrictions on the driver's choice

Due to the length of several racing drivers are reported on a vehicle, which alternate regularly during the race. A driver change is not mandatory, but No person may spend more than 1.5 hours in vehicles. As a race usually lasts three hours, a driver change is inevitable. As a rule, take two to three riders per race a car. Points will be awarded to all drivers. In addition to the championship still exists a team championship, as teams compete with one or two cars, the points for each vehicle will be individually.


Starting point of the series is the discharged annually since 1923 endurance race of Le Mans. As part of the FIA World Sportscar Championship since 1953, the race to the climax of the season. With the departure of the World Cup in 1992 the race was missing a companion series, which could be offset by the introduction of the American Le Mans Series by Don Panoz only partially. After the American Le Mans Series was able to successfully establish, tried Don Panoz in 2001 to provide a European counterpart to the legs. The newly created European Le Mans Series failed despite the support of the American sister series, but Don Panoz ELMS is a direct precursor of the European Le Mans Series the ACO.

In 2003, when also the set with the FIA Sportscar Championship competing ELMS, the French automobile club ACO decided to make himself a race series on the legs. In order to make the planned for 2004 championship racing teams and drivers tasty, the ACO of each Championship winner automatically granted an invitation to the 24 -hour race the following year. A similar scheme was already in the American racing series by Don Panoz application.

The first race was held in November 2003 at the Circuit Bugatti. The 1000 - km run, however, was a single event and not part of the championship. In 2004, the first season of the series consisted of then four races in Monza, Nurburgring, Silverstone and Spa -Francorchamps, which were held over a distance of 1000 km. The following year, an additional run was added to the race calendar. On the new Istanbul Park Circuit also a race outside the European continent was held for the first time.

Before the start of the 2006 season, the renaming of the series took place in Le Mans Series, further was first moved to Donington and Jarama. In the fourth year of the Championship also took diesel -powered vehicles participating in the races, also a race outside of Europe took place again after 2005. The race in Brazil at the end of the season was only added in the course of the racing calendar.

After 2007, the Peugeot factory team won several races and the title in 2008 was followed by the return of Audi, and offered viewers the meeting of the two prototype factory teams in a race series. In addition, could be installed in vehicles of the two LMP categories from 2008 now based GT series engines. Using this approach was demonstrated so far only in a developed by Lola prototype, which led to the participation of the Aston Martin works team in 2009 and the 2009 season also ruled in favor of the team.

2010 and 2011 are selected race of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup. Due to the internationally -wide championship hiked most of the factory teams from the new series. So won with ORECA again a private team, the team standings of the more powerful LMP1 prototype category. In addition, the hitherto under program was discharged Formula Le Mans Cup integrated as an additional prototype class. 2011 was followed by further restructuring at the class concept. Thus, the ACO participants responded to the shrinkage in the hitherto powerful Gran Turismo GT1 class. The organizers divided the GT2 into two categories. GTE -Am for amateurs with a maximum of one professional drivers whose vehicles must be at least a year old. All other participants are allowed to start in the GTE -Pro. But even the LMP- ratings were reconsidered. So exclusively based series motors are in the LMP2, after the transition in 2011, permitted while is reserved in the LMP1 specifically developed for the Regulations racing engines.

After the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup was charged by the FIA World Sportscar Championship, followed by a larger series of restructuring. Organizer Patrick Peter tried again to address more private drivers. Accordingly, the high- strength LMP1 was advertised not once, but introduced a more cost-effective GT class. However, the concept failed, only 21 cars appeared for the season opener on the Circuit Paul Ricard. Of these, not one in the new GT class. The really next race in Zolder was canceled. The number of participants for Donington could not be increased and decreased instead of 13 vehicles. The following championship races were canceled and announced the Petit Le Mans unsubscribe Instead, together with the American Le Mans Series.

2013 was followed by further changes. First, the championship races were shortened to three hours and held for the majority of the supporting program of the World Series by Renault. Furthermore, you may now begin GT3 cars in the GTC category.