Louis Delétraz showed front-running pace and scored a top-ten finish in the GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup season-opener at Italy’s Imola circuit today.
The 23-year-old is undertaking a full campaign in the FIA Formula 2 Championship with Charouz Racing System, but used his only weekend off in a seven-week spell to get behind the wheel of sportscar machinery.
Louis has been a long-time member of the GPX Academy and was invited to share the GPX Racing #40 Porsche 911 GT3-R entry alongside Romain Dumas and Thomas Preining.
The trio qualified P16 in an ultra-competitive field, which features manufacturers including Ferrari, Mercedes, Audi and McLaren.
Louis got behind the wheel for the middle stint of Sunday’s three-hour race at the former home of the San Marino Grand Prix, taking over from Romain, before handing over to Thomas, as their #40 car made progress through the pack, allowing Louis to run as high as P4.
In a hectic encounter, punctuated by Full Course Yellows and Safety Car periods, the #40 was brought home in an impressive P9 after 86 laps of racing, with the team’s chances of finishing higher only hampered by a refuelling issue.
“Imola was new to me, and driving GTs is obviously something different, as was sharing a car with team-mates – and it was a really enjoyable weekend,” the Haas F1 Team Test & Reserve Driver reflected.
“It’s nothing I’ve experienced before and it was great to be involved with such a good team in GPX Racing and a manufacturer of Porsche’s calibre.
“Romain did a good stint early on and gained positions, while in the Full Course Yellow the team did a fantastic strategy, which meant I came out in P4.
“I had a lot of defending to do against other cars in my stint but I was very happy with the way it went – the racing was clean and smooth, and I learned a lot.
“Unfortunately, a refuelling issue during the pit stop cost us around 25 seconds, and so a top-four or five finish slipped through our fingers. But these things happen, and overall the team did a great job.
“It was a pleasure to drive and to broaden my racing experience. A huge thank you to GPX Racing for giving me this opportunity!”
Louis’s Formula 2 campaign resumes at Silverstone next weekend (31 July to 2 August).