Melbourne racing driver Dylan Young has had a successful debut in Le Mans Prototype machinery in the Ligier European Series at Paul Ricard, France from July 14-15.
Young, the 2019/20 MRF Challenge Formula 3 Vice Champion, made the switch from his open wheeler career into sports prototypes and adapted quickly to endurance racing with the Smart Driving Team.
Young teamed up to share the Ligier JS P4 (LMP4) car with Moulay El Alaoui in the all Pro Class amongst a 19 car field. With extremely limited running in these cars compared to the rest of the field, they qualified in a strong P8 for Race 1, and P7 for Race 2. Young encountered traffic in his qualifying run when the tyres were at their peak, and analysis showed he would have instead been fighting for a top 5 place in clear air, demonstrating his ability already in this car.
For Race 1, Young took the start and his aggressive opening laps from his Formula 3 days were evident with a fantastic move on the outside to move up a few places from 8th to 5th at the end of the first lap.
Dylan's first stint was extremely consistent with strong pace and he managed to pit for the mandatory mid race driver change in an impressive 4th place.
Unfortunately, Young's team mate Moulay El Alaoui had a spin on his out lap which impacted their race but he showed great pace to limit the damage and bring the car home in 8th place at the chequered flag.
In Race 2, the order of the drivers starting is reversed and so El Alaoui took the wheel for the start. During Lap 1, El Alaoui lost out when in a tight battle with the cars ahead and dropped from 7th place to 10th place. His pace was clearly stronger than the cars ahead but overtaking was proving difficult.
El Alaoui pitted mid way through the race and handed the car over to Young in 11th position. Young then set out on a mission and was lapping in the top 4 cars on pace and managed to move the car back up to 7th place at the chequered flag in another impressive drive for the Australian.
"I had so much fun in our opening weekend in the Ligier European Series. It's so different to what I'm used to be honestly I can see why so many drivers are making the switch from single seaters to Le Mans prototypes and endurance racing."
"I'm pretty happy with my performance all in all. The team were really pleased with what we showed and I think I showcased that during qualy and my stints in the races. I had a really good start in Race 1 and threw it around the outside and made it stick and Race 2 was an interesting sensation taking over the car with high tyre wear. But the team were on the radio saying I was lapping in the top 4 on pace and so I think we have a lot we can take forward ahead of the next round in Belgium. A big thanks to everyone at the Smart Driving Team for a car that ran faultlessly and also to my team mate Moulay El Alaoui and all my backers for their support!"
Dylan will be back in the car for a test at the famous Spa Francorchamps Circuit in Belgium during September ahead of the next round for the team.