Perfect start for Niklas Krütten in his first race in the European Le Mans Series (ELMS): the man from Trier won the opening round of the season in Barcelona with the COOL Racing team.
Together with his two team-mates Matt Bell (Great Britain) and Switzerland’s Nicolas Maulini, the 18-year-old took victory in the LMP3 class after a spectacular fightback at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. The ADAC Stiftung Sport driver will contest the full ELMS season in 2021 at the wheel of a Ligier JS P320 run by the COOL Racing team.
Starting from ninth place in the LMP3 class, the trio consistently worked its way to the front of the 16-car field. Maulini made a flawless start in an eventful opening period and climbed a total of five positions within the first 30 minutes. When Krütten took over at the wheel on lap 70, the car was running third. He gained another position and cut the gap to the leader by over a minute to just five seconds. He handed over the reins to Bell on lap 103. After 133 laps of racing, the Brit guided the number 19 car across the finish line as the class winner, completing an ideal start to the season. This result sees the COOL Racing team top the table in the LMP3 class. The second race of the ELMS season takes place from 14th to 16th May at the Red Bull Ring in Austria.
“We were down in ninth place after qualifying, but we knew that anything was still possible. We had a few difficulties with the front tyres wearing during our preparations. We set the car up with that in mind for the race, and it all worked superbly. The whole team did an incredible job: the engineers with the strategy, the crew during the pit stops, the drivers on the track – everyone did their very best. It was perfect teamwork! I am extremely happy with our win and hope we can build on that in the next race,” said Krütten.
Nicolas Lapierre, managing director of COOL Racing, added: “A fantastic day for COOL Racing. Our car had a very solid race, all the drivers had fantastic pace and a mistake-free day. It was not an easy race with the tyre degradation but the team managed the strategy well. The crew worked really hard to rebuild the car after the crash during testing at the beginning of the week, so the victory is a great reward for everybody.”