After the resounding success of the 2022 ELMS season, in which Job van Uitert and Panis Racing qualified for the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans by finishing second in the overall standings, the driver from Brabant has decided to extend his contract with the French team. Thus, Van Uitert will also defend the Panis Racing colors in 2023.
Four podium finishes in six races: the past season of Panis Racing and Van Uitert in the highly competitive European Le Mans Series could hardly have been better. Indeed: the combination of the French team and the Dutch driver never finished outside the points positions, two fourth places in a field of over forty competitors proved to be the least strong result.
“Our ambitions are clear: this year we want to win”
Olivier Panis – Team manager at Panis racing & former F1 driver
Thanks to the magnificent performance, Panis Racing, the stable of former Formula 1 driver and Grand Prix winner Olivier Panis, enforced direct participation in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. That showdown in northern France ranks as the most important race in long-distance racing.
For both Van Uitert and Panis Racing, the excellent 2022 season provided the ideal breeding ground to extend the mutual contract for another year. Before the driver and his stable could tinker with the plan for the new season, however, a few creases had to be ironed out. Indeed, for Van Uitert’s two teammates, Julien Canal and Nicolas Jamin, their employment with Panis Racing came to an end. Both will focus on a position elsewhere.
Also Dutch driver Tijmen van der Helm (19) and Venezuelan driver Manuel Maldonado (23) will be tasked with replacing Van Uitert’s old colleagues. Maldonado is no stranger: in the 2021 season, Van Uitert already drove together with the South American driver. Like Van Uitert, Van der Helm has a gold license, Maldonado is classified as silver.
The 2023 ELMS season will be Van Uitert’s fifth in the continental competition. In the previous four years, the racing class has proved a fine hunting ground for the Dongen native: no fewer than five times Van Uitert won a race, thirteen times he stood on the honorary podium and in his debut season, the talented twenty-something immediately won the championship in the LMP3 class.
“It gives me great pleasure to announce that I may also drive for Olivier Panis’ racing stable in the upcoming ELMS season,” Van Uitert announced. “I feel incredibly comfortable with this team. The atmosphere is great and the results are corresponding. We finished second last year and, given the competitiveness of the ELMS, that is obviously particularly strong, but for this year we want to be even better. Becoming champion is obviously the goal.”
“Nico and Julien have left, but two talented drivers have taken their place. Manuel I’ve known for a while and I’m looking forward to working with him again. Tijmen has only been competing in this competition since last year, but he has made a very decent impression. In particular, his performance during the race in Portimão, the place where I secured participation for Le Mans with Panis Racing, was very strong.”
“Simon and Sarah Abadie, the operational managers of Panis Racing, have been competing at the top of various racing classes for many years. Their Tech 1 organization is extremely professional and I consider it a privilege to work with them. Because of the pleasant cooperation, I even secretly started learning French words last year. Completely fluent it is not yet, but I can make myself understood better and better,” Van Uitert concludes with a wink.
“Our ambitions are clear: this year we want to win!”, team manager Olivier Panis sounds combative. In recent seasons we have shown steady progression, to the point where we captured the 2022 vice championship,” the Frenchman knows. “Our team, which is under the daily management of Simon and Sarah Abadie, consists of a group of intelligent engineers, led by Florent Gouin, who know exactly how the Oreca 07 works best.”
“We are very happy to have Job van Uitert returning for a second season in the European Le Mans Series with our team. He is a reliable driver, someone who is incredibly fast and maintains a good rapport with the team members. Job will lead the team to be a strong reference point for his two new teammates.”
The new season in the European Le Mans Series kicks off on Sunday, April 18, with the 4 Hours of Barcelona, which takes place at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in northern Spain. The ELMS season consists of six races; the 24 Hours of Le Mans is officially a race for the World Endurance Championship and thus counts as the seventh, additional race for Panis Racing and Van Uitert.