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LEMA RACING - TEAM CHAMPIONS EYEING SEASON 2024


Lema Racing was one of the great protagonists of the 2023 season, the Iberian Supercars Endurance Team Champions are determined to defend its titles in 2024.

 

The Slovenian team arrived in 2023 having been instrumental in winning the drivers' title in the 2022 GT4 Pro category, with Manuel Gião and Elias Niskanen becoming category champions after an intense duel with Fernando Navarrete and Gonzalo De Andrés (McLaren 570S GT4 - SMC Motorsport).

 

For last season, Lema Racing redoubled its commitment, entering two Mercedes AMG GT4s - one in GT4 Pro for Elias Niskanen, who was defending his title, but with a new team-mate, Portuguese GT4 rookie Nuno Pires, and another entry in GT4 Bronze for Luís Calheiros and Paulo Macedo, who were also making their debut in the series.

 

Right from the start, the drivers from the team led by Jaka Marinšek were involved in the fight for the top spots and, while the duo entered in GT4 Pro proved to be one of the season's great protagonists, fighting for the title until the last race of the season, the pair competing in GT4 Bronze were able to impose themselves as contenders for the podium places in their division.

The competitiveness of Lema Racing's Mercedes AMG GT4s made Jaka Marinšek extremely proud: "There are many good memories, one of which is the first race in Portimão, when Paulo (Macedo) and Luís (Calheiros) stood on the podium in the Bronze division in their first race with us. Another is the victory of Nuno (Pires) and Elias (Niskanen) in the second race in Jerez. It was a tough win for them and extra motivation for the whole team ahead of the last event, and it was also their first win after the first weekend in Portimão."

 

The Lema Racing points out that the 2023 season of Iberian Supercars has revealed an evolution of the competition at all levels, both in quality and quantity, emphasising that it is the right platform for his team. "It's been a challenging season, with many quality drivers and teams. The championship has grown a lot and we're very pleased to be racing there," said Jaka Marinšek, who nevertheless let slip some frustration at the outcome of the championship: "in the end, the feelings are mixed - we won the Teams' Championship, Paulo (Macedo) and Luís (Calheiros) finished third in the GT4 Bronze division, but unfortunately an error of judgement by one competitor cost us the GT4 Pro title, with Elias (Niskanen) and Nuno (Pires). But sometimes racing is like that and we congratulate Francisco Abreu and José Carlos Pires on their GT4 Pro drivers' title."

In the last race of the season, the second race of the Estoril round, Nuno Pires was leading the race and looked to be in a position to secure the GT4 title for himself and his team-mate, Elias Niskanen. However, a collision with an opponent ended up throwing the pair's and Lema Racing's aspirations down the drain, in what was the lowest moment of the season for Jaka Marinšek: "losing the Drivers' Championship, after the great pace they showed in the second race at Estoril, with another car throwing Nuno out of the race, was very hard."

 

Despite the frustration, the head of the team that won the Drivers' Championship is already looking to the future and this year will have a third car on track, the Audi R8 LMS GT4 that competed in the last race of the 2023 season in the hands of Arturo Melgar and Ignacio Cabezas.

 

"We have lots of plans for 2024, but it's certain that we want to continue in Iberian Supercars and the Campeonato de Portugal de Velocidade with two Mercedes AMG GT4s and also an Audi R8 LMS GT4! The plan is to keep most of our drivers from 2023, as they've done a fantastic job and are keen to take a step forward next season," emphasised Jaka Marinšek.

 

Since its arrival in the championships promoted by Race Ready, Lema Racing has shown that it is on track to fight for the best positions and to win, a goal it is maintaining for 2024. "We want to fight for podiums, wins and championships with all the cars we enter, maintain a good relationship with our drivers and have a good atmosphere in the team, which is very important to us," concluded Jaka Marinšek.


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