Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Charlie Eastwood seals European Le Mans Series Pro-AM title with victory at Portimão

Infinity Sports Management driver Charlie Eastwood was crowned LMP2 Pro-AM Champion in European Le Mans Series at the season finale in Portugal, sealing the title in sensational style alongside his Racing Team Turkey team-mates Salih Yoluc and Jack Aitken.

With 22 points in hand ahead of the final race of the season, the TF Sport-run team went into the weekend with a clear-yet-challenging goal of running a trouble-free race to the flag. They certainly put themselves on the front foot after a stunning qualifying lap by team-mate Jack Aitken put the #34 car on pole position for the 4 Hours of Portimão. 

Once racing got underway it was anything but a smooth affair for the trio as an all-out battle against the elements began. An early spin for Salih Yoluc on the formation lap was a sign of things to come as rain continued to provide a challenge for the squad, as they dropped back to 6th on the road in the opening lap. Taking the reins for his stint, Charlie put his head down ready to fight their way back from 9th. A well-timed yellow-flag certainly provided an advantage to the Belfast-born driver as he peeled into the pits to bolt on some fresh tyres. The #34 was running in 2nd in class by the time he passed over to Jack Aitken. 

With heavy rain returning for the final stint it was a battle to just keep the car on track, making good on the efforts of his team-mates, Jack managed to fight his way to take the class victory at the flag. 

Scaling the pit wall to welcome their team-mate and trusty Oreca 07 Gibson machine home, Charlie, Salih and the Racing Team Turkey squad celebrated not only a 4th race victory but both team and drivers championships. Earning themselves a sensational form of 4 wins from 6 races, the trio - along with a one-off appearance from Will Stevens at Spa - secured the Pro-Am title 29-points ahead of their rivals.

Speaking of their success, Charlie Eastwood said:

“In motorsport, it’s the case that it’s never easy until it’s over. We only needed two points going into today and would have loved a dry race – but it wasn’t to be. It threw everything at us which meant that we were on the wrong tyres in the wrong conditions at one point. It was an amazing job by the whole team to bring it home with an amazing result and an amazing end to the season as well”

Praising Charlie’s championship honours, Gary Catt added:

“We’re so pleased to see Charlie claim the title in style, he has the ability to adapt to any machinery and LMP2 has been no exception. Together with the team they’ve had an amazing season and we’re delighted to see him crowned champion as a reward for all the hard work they’ve put in”