Masters Endurance Legends to support French Grand Prix

Le Mans prototype and GT cars built between 1995 and 2012 will run alongside the revived Formula 1 round at Paul Ricard in June

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The fledgling Masters Endurance Legends series, for Le Mans prototype and GT cars built between 1995 and 2012, will support the revived French Grand Prix in the summer.

The series, which caters for cars as young as six years old, will have two races at Paul Ricard as the French Grand Prix returns after a ten-year absence. The circuit itself has not hosted a Formula 1 race since 1990, when the winner was Alain Prost’s Ferrari 641/2.

Masters Endurance Legends started with a pilot 22-car race at Spa last September, and was won by the Peugeot 908X of Nicolas Minassian. Prototypes from Oreca, Dallara, Audi and Pescarolo, and GT cars from Aston Martin, Porsche, Ferrari and Dodge, all featured.

It gained immediate support as teams and drivers took the chance to use cars that had no other place to race in Europe.

Having a GP support race at such an early point in the development of the series is a massive coup for the Masters organisation, and comes shortly after the Historic Formula 1 Championship was announced as a support race to the British Grand Prix.

June’s Paul Ricard race will add to an already-announced six-race programme for 2018, which features Imola, Brands Hatch, Silverstone, Nürburgring, Spa and Dijon.

Paul Ricard is familiar for recent prototype and GT racing, having been part of the ELMS and ISRS calendars. Nowadays, the Four Hours of Le Castellet is a permanent fixture on the ELMS calendar.

Masters Historic Racing founder Ron Maydon said: ‘I’m proud that in its first year Masters Endurance Legends will be able to showcase its spectacular variety during the Formula 1 Grand Prix de France weekend.

‘The Paul Ricard circuit is perfect for these cars, as they will be able to really stretch their legs on the straight while the technical return section is a true challenge for any driver. Building on our experience in staging Historic Formula 1 support races at grand prix weekends, I’m sure we will put on a good show for the French crowd.’

Gilles Dufeigneux, general director of the 2018 French Grand Prix, welcomed the news: ‘The French Grand Prix, along with the Paul Ricard Circuit, has a strong heritage in motorsport,’ he said.

‘Welcoming historic cars as a support race on the weekend Formula 1 returns to French soil after a 10-year absence is a great news. Everybody at the French Grand Prix is excited to welcome this great series.’

Images courtesy of LAT and Paul Lawrence

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