Ecurie Ecosse secure inaugural LMP3 Cup Championship
Ecurie Ecosse enjoyed a near-perfect race weekend at Snetterton at the weekend (12-13 August) securing a further race win – the sixth of the season – whilst claiming the inaugural Henderson Insurance Brokers LMP3 Cup Championship with two rounds remaining.
“It’s 60 years since Ecurie Ecosse last won at Le Mans, so to get this title is a fantastic result,” said driver-manager Alasdair McCaig. “We did the job that’s required to win the championship. Our last title was in the British GT championship in 2014, so to get another under our belt is perfect. We’ve had a great team behind us with Nielsen Racing and we’ve not had any mechanical failures, so credit to them. Now we start to think ahead for next year and see how we can step it up further.”
The weekend kicked off on a positive note with Colin Noble setting the pace in the #79 Ligier in the free practice session before teammate McCaig took over for qualifying ahead of the first race. McCaig started from fourth position, but crucially the #3 United Autosports entry pitted immediately with a power steering issue. As main rival in the championship, this provided the Ecurie Ecosse team with the perfect opportunity to further extend their points gap.
A good start from McCaig saw him vault second before ceding to the recovering Devon Modell in the Speedworks entry. McCaig shadowed Modell for the remainder of his stint before pitting and handing over to Noble.
With a 12-second time penalty for running a Silver-Silver line-up, Noble immediately cleared the Speedworks car to run second, quickly closing down and passing Evans for the lead. Acutely aware of the championship implications, Noble took no risks and gently extended his lead to 30 seconds by the chequered flag.
Sunday’s race saw McCaig qualify a strong second. With a 52-point in the championship and 80 left on the table the team lined up ready to claim the title should they finish ahead of the #3 Ligier.
The start saw McCaig battling hard into the first turn but on the outside, he found himself pushed wide, dropping to fourth as a result. McCaig shadowed Wells in the #3, before making a decisive pass to claim third on lap seven.
“Typically, I got a bit bullied by the United cars at the start, pushing me out wide, which allowed Tony down the inside, but all good racing all the same,” he explained. “We then had a good battle and I got by him at turn three and I just gapped him from there.”
Noble took over at mid-distance as the field closed up courtesy of a penalty for the leading #2 and the pit stops. With less than five seconds covering the leading quartet, a tense battle ensued with Noble trying to pass Modell in the #96 for second position. The race played out with Noble attacking and also defending from behind before finishing third and claiming the title for Ecurie Ecosse.
“I wanted to pass the Speedworks car for second, but he was very defensive which made it difficult,” said Noble. “In the end we got the third position and while I’m not that happy with P3, I am more than happy with the season as a whole and that we’ve claimed the title ahead of Donington. It’s a great achievement for all of the team.”
Ecurie Ecosse now prepare for the Le Mans Cup which takes place at Paul Ricard on 26 August. The final round of the LMP3 Cup takes place at Donington 16-17 September.