Reigning 24 Hours of Le Mans GTE-Am winner TF Sport will make its LMP2 debut competing in this year’s European Le Mans Series under the Racing Team Turkey banner.
TF Sport, which finished second in class in the 2019-20 FIA World Endurance Championship, has confirmed a program running an Oreca 07 Gibson for Turkish Bronze-rated driver Salih Yoluc.
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship DPi front-runner and reigning Le Mans GTE-Pro class winner Harry Tincknell headlines the team’s lineup.
The Britsh driver, who won the ELMS title with G-Drive Racing in 2016, will share the wheel with TF Sport’s Le Mans class winners Yoluc and Charlie Eastwood.
The trio will be eligible for the new LMP2 Pro-Am classification tailored to lineups that include a Bronze-rated driver.
However, Mazda DPi driver Tincknell faces a date clash between the IMSA round at Mid-Ohio and the ELMS 4 Hours of Red Bull Ring in May.
TF Sport took delivery of its new Oreca chassis last month and will soon start testing ahead of its LMP2 debut in April’s 4 Hours of Barcelona season-opener.
“We are really excited about the challenge,” said team owner Tom Ferrier.
“We don’t underestimate that it’s going to be tough, but it’s somewhere we have always wanted to progress to. A huge thanks to Salih for making this possible and staying with us.
“Very happy to keep Charlie, as both him and Salih are known quantities to us and we’re really pleased to have Harry alongside us. A driver of Harry’s quality and experience will speed up the learning process and bring us some strong results.”
All three drivers are new to the Oreca 07, including Tincknell whose previous post-2017 LMP2 appearances have come in Carlin Racing’s Dallara P217 Gibson and the Mazda DPi car which is based on a Riley chassis.
Tincknell’s most recent ELMS outings came in 2019 with Carlin, while he also contributed to the team’s second-place finish in the 2019-20 Asian Le Mans Series.
“With their formidable success, it’s clear that TF Sport are one of the top British teams out there at the moment, so I’m thrilled to be joining them, alongside Salih and Charlie,” he said.
“I’ve been following them closely and it’s the perfect time for them to step into the prototype ranks.
“I’ve wanted to be back in ELMS in a competitive car for a while and I have no doubt that TF’s GT success will be continued over into LMP2.
“I’ve watched Salih’s meteoric rise through GT, to become a Le Mans winner and a think the prototype will really suit his driving style. Along with Salih and Charlie, it’s going to be a really fun year.”
Yoluc has driven in LMP2 before, albeit in a pre-2017 spec Ligier JS P2 in the 2018-19 Asian Le Mans Series with United Autosports, while Eastwood is new to prototypes.
Both drivers tested one of United’s Oreca 07s at Portimao last November, before Yoluc opted to remain with TF Sport for his first European season in the LMP2 ranks.
“I’m really happy to be racing with Racing Team Turkey by TF Sport in the European Le Mans Series,” said Yoluc, who has represented Turkey in the FIA Motorsport Games.
“It is a new challenge for all of us and I believe we have a great team to progress, and climb up to the top, just as quickly as we did in the GT field.”
Eastwood added: “Prototypes are a completely different animal to GT cars; our brief test in an LMP2 went really well and Salih impressed us with his pace.
“I have no doubts that we are capable of achieving some strong results this year.”
It’s understood that TF Sport is planning to remain in the WEC next season, alongside its new European LMP2 project.