Imola, Italie, May 17th2022 - Round two of the European Le Mans Series (ELMS), the 4 Hours of Imola saw Cool Racing and Panis Racing – featuring ELF - confirm their status as major teams in European endurance racing. Cool Racing finished third, just ahead of Panis Racing.
Able to match the pace of the leading crews in free practice, Nicolas Lapierre, Yifei Ye and Niklas Kruetten, Cool Racing’s LMP2 drivers, qualified on the second row of the starting grid. A strategic approach and genuine pace enabled the ELF-backed drivers to set a series of impressive lap times and grab the lead. They looked on course to win the race, but their chances were dashed by a Full Course Yellow following a crash in the final hour of racing. Despite their approach focusing on speed, the LMP2 prototype drivers nonetheless scored big points in securing their first podium finish of the season with third place. Cool Racing were also among the front-runners in LMP3 with Nicolas Maulini, Jean-Ludovic Foubert and Antoine Doquin claiming second place ahead of their team-mates Maurice Smith, Michael Benham and Malthe Jakobsen.
Fifth on the starting grid and lapping within a second of the quickest cars, Panis Racing’s LMP2 prototype kept up the momentum gathered in securing a podium finish at Le Castellet. Julien Canal, Nicolas Jamin and Job Van Uitert exploited their endurance racing experience to move towards the front and fight for the race win. Caught off guard by a driver going off in the final hour of the race, which led to the introduction of a Full Course Yellow, the Panis Racing drivers’ strategy was disrupted. They nevertheless scored big points with fourth place.
The 4 Hours of Imola also provided an opportunity for all present to witness a world first, as the Mission H24 hydrogen fuel cell electric prototype made its debut appearance in an international endurance race. Competing in the Michelin Le Mans Cup, the prototype – backed by TotalEnergies and driven by Stéphane Richelmi – crossed the finishing line after completing 38 laps, enabling a lot of crucial information to be gathered for the next few events, especially after refuelling four times with hydrogen at the TotalEnergies mobile station during the event.
Lying second and third respectively in the ELMS overall standings, Panis Racing and Cool Racing continue to score heavily with unwavering consistency, a key factor in endurance racing. The two teams will now turn their attention to preparations for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. In the LMP3 class, Cool Racing continues to top the championship standings.