Porsche Motorsport Asia Pacific Selected Driver Yifei Ye will aim to defend his European Le Mans Series (ELMS) LMP2 title in 2022, as he returns to the category with Swiss outfit COOL Racing.
The Chinese driver, who took three wins and clinched the 2021 championship with a round to spare, will race alongside four-time 24 Hours of Le Mans LMP2 winner Nicolas Lapierre and 19-year-old German ace Niklas Krütten in the #37 COOL Racing-run Oreca 07.
Ye is set to make his Porsche debut at the 4 Hours of Dubai this weekend with Herberth Motorsport in the Asian Le Mans Series, driving the #33 Porsche 911 GT3 R. His 2022 season will be a diverse programme of both GT and prototype racing, as he looks to build on a strong 2021 campaign in LMP2 machinery, which included a stunning 24 Hours of Le Mans debut and the Asian Le Mans Series title. Former Porsche factory driver Sascha Maassen will provide support and training to Ye throughout the season, in both his GT and prototype outings.
The 2022 ELMS season begins with the Official Test on 11-12 April at Circuit Paul Ricard, which also hosts the first round on 15-17 April. The series will then head to Imola and Budapest, both returning to the calendar for the first time in several years, before continuing at Barcelona, Spa-Francorchamps and the Portimão finale.
Yifei Ye, #37 COOL Racing: “I am very excited to join COOL Racing alongside Nico and Niklas in the European Le Mans Series. After winning the championship last year, I believe that I have the experience, speed, and the consistency to compete at the top. COOL Racing has shown some very promising performance during the second half of last season, and for 2022 I will have two fast teammates in Nico and Niklas, and it’s great to be part of such a strong line up. Racing in LMP2 again this season will help towards my goal to race in LMDh in 2023 and I am very much looking forward to competing in the category again.”
Niklas Krütten, #37 COOL Racing: “I am excited to stay with COOL Racing for a second year, and to get the chance to step up into the main programme. We had a good season in the LMP3 category and I’m happy to be joining two very fast and experienced drivers in LMP2, with Nico and Yifei. I’m sure that we can have a great season and our goal is to challenge and fight for the overall championship.”
Nicolas Lapierre, #37 COOL Racing: “We are delighted to welcome Yifei onboard with our LMP2 programme for 2022. He had an amazing debut in ELMS last year, and with his speed and consistency it was no surprise to see him take the title at his first attempt. Yifei was our only choice for this year, as we rate him among the very best of the current drivers in LMP2. We have a strong line up and the team showed some promising pace throughout last season, so we are ready to fight for the championship this year. We hope our application to race at Le Mans will be successful, as we want to challenge for victory there also, so it should be a great season for the team.”
Alexandre Gibot, Managing Director Porsche Motorsport Asia Pacific Ltd.: “We’re looking forward to seeing Yifei continuing his prototype campaign in ELMS this season with COOL Racing. He had an incredible maiden year in the LMP2 category in 2021, winning both Asian and European Le Mans Series, along with a brilliant 24 Hours of Le Mans debut. The plan was always for Yifei to have a diverse programme in 2022, combining GT and LMP2 outings. COOL Racing proved last year they are a great team and capable of fighting at the front. With Yifei joining Nico and Niklas, the driver line-up is also very strong and we believe they have the potential to battle for the title.”
Sascha Maassen, Porsche Junior Coach: “It’s fantastic to see Yifei return to the series, not only as an LMP2 driver but as a Selected Driver for Porsche Motorsport Asia Pacific. After his rookie season last year that saw him win the championship, you could say there is not much more to prove in this category. However, now being a Porsche Motorsport Asia Pacific Selected Driver, he will have a different and more important role within the team. His experience in the series will allow him to achieve an even stronger performance and better results.
“He will also be able to experience GT racing in the Porsche 911 GT3R this season, which will allow him to understand the other perspective of dealing with traffic out on track, realising the problems GT drivers face of having to manage their own race while also coming across the faster LMP machines at the same time.”
2022 European Le Mans Series Calendar:
Official Test 11-12 April
4 Hours of Le Castellet 15-17 April
4 Hours of Imola 13-15 May
4 Hours of Hungaroring 01-03 July
4 Hours of Barcelona 26-28 August
4 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps 23-25 September
4 Hours of Portimao 14-16 October
Source Pole/Photo. Cool Racing