Joy for Tom Gamble as Epperstone driver takes P3 on LMP2 debut in European Le Mans Series
Tom Gamble excelled his talent’s at the weekend when he pulled out all the stops to take a third place podium spot in Barcelona in his debut race weekend in the LMP2 class of the European Le Mans Series, reports Paul Horton.
Racing in the 4 hours of Barcelona at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, 19-year-old Gamble shined during the extended race weekend that started five days before the race.
The United Autosport Team silver class racer took the #22 Oreca 07 car to the top with his two endurance race team-mates — fellow Brit Phil Hanson and South African Jonathan Aberdein.
“It was a difficult race and we tried a few things on strategy,” said Gamble.
“My second stint was a good one and I was really happy to be on the podium.
“At the end of the day it is points towards the championship and, hopefully, we can go away and build on this and come back stronger for the next one.”
Gamble, from Epperstone, had already shown his potential after becoming ELMS LMP3 champion last season, and was hot off the mark in free practice sessions finishing as the fastest of the 68 drivers in the competition.
After a two day break, Gamble hit the tarmac again where he qualified in sixth — 0.0215 seconds off pole.
Hanson lined up on the grid to start proceedings and, when the lights went out, was off like a flash, driving well enough to earn third by the end of lap one.
At the end of the first hour Hanson was still in command and he had moved to second place.
He pitted the car for the second time at the one hour 30 minute point and, as he climbed out, Gamble jumped in from the pit garage.
It proved a double stint for Gamble, who was on older tyres than most of the field and he struggled with pace initially.
After a pit stop for fuel and new tyres, Gamble came back on a couple of places down, but made flashy passes and manoeuvres that drew praise from the commentary team.
By lap 114, a drained but jubilant Gamble emerged in third, with enough time for Aberdein to finish 26 laps in the same position and take the chequered flag. The second United Autosport #32 LMP2 car finished ninth.
Next up for Gamble is the four hours of the Red Bull Ring in Austria from May 14.