In a change from the usual schedule, Jones and Malvern will skip the British GT season finale at Donington Park in favour of trying something new in the European Le Mans Cup series, racing under the sunshine of the Portuguese Algarve aboard their Porsche 911 GT3 R.
After what has been a challenging British GT campaign for the team, this weekend promises a fresh start, where the #65 Porsche will be part of a 39-car field split between GT3 machinery and LMP3 prototypes.
Jones is not a total stranger to the championship either, having raced alongside the Le Mans Cup on the support package of the 24 Hours of Le Mans event across the last two seasons. Jones’ entries into the Porsche Sprint Challenge races at those events also means the team has some knowledge of the Michelin tyres the car will run on, as opposed to the Pirellis British GT uses.
Nick Jones said: “The time as right to try something new, so where better to finish the year off than in the Algarve? I’ve been looking at the Le Mans Cup for a while now, and it’s definitely an option for next season. Our year in British GT has been a real disappointment, so there wasn’t really much for us to fight for at Donington. Instead, let’s start anew this weekend, dive into the action and have a bit of fun at Portimão and see how we go. Aside from Spa, I think I’ve done more laps round Portimão than any other European track as we test there pre-season. It’s a great layout and the weekend should be a nice change from the norm.”
Scott Malvern added: “It’s always exciting jumping into a new championship, and I’m a fan of the Algarve track, which is great fun to drive and also really technically challenging. It’s no secret our British GT campaign hasn’t gone as we’d have liked it to, so why not take the chance to go elsewhere and learn something new. Obviously, we’ve got a new tyre to adapt to, new competitors and also a mixed grid of GT3s and prototypes, which isn’t totally unlike the mix of GT3 and GT4 you have in British, but it will be interesting to see how traffic works with the LMP3s. Nick’s been improving with the car with each weekend, and this one will also be a learning curve, but it’s a no-pressure weekend for us. We just get to go out and have some fun and do the best we can.”
The Michelin Le Mans Cup weekend at Portimão gets underway with free practice on Friday October 14, before a second practice session precedes qualifying at 15:15CEST on Saturday. The 110-minute race takes place at 10:00CEST on Sunday. All sessions will feature live timing via lemanscup.com and qualifying and the race will be streamed live on the championship’s YouTube channel.