As the sun set over the Algarve, so ended the European Le Mans Series for the season. In a year that saw G-Drive win just one race but score an endless string of second places, the Gazprom, DragonSpeed-run squad didn’t need to go all-out for the finale, and just hang back and let the race unfold. Fourth place in Portimão was enough for G-Drive Racing to clinch the 2017 European Le Mans Series title. The Oreca-Gibson of drivers Memo Rojas and Léo Roussel never challenged for the lead, but together with part-time co-driver Ryo Hirakawa the Mexican-French duo took the title in both the team’s and drivers’ championships.
The spoils of the day went to Graff Racing. Despite refueling problems, the car raced by Richard Bradley, James Allen and Gustavo Yacamán took its second consecutive race win when it profited from a late-race stop-and-go penalty for United Autosports’ Filipe Albuquerque, William Owen and Hugo de Sadeleer who until then had led the 4-hour race. Eventually coming home in second place, the 55-second penalty made no difference in the final outcome of their championship hunt.
Photos by João Filipe.