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Eastwood excited for new challenge in Euro series



Charlie Eastwood

Charlie Eastwood

Charlie Eastwood

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, 2020 was a special year for Charlie Eastwood - and it is shaping up to be a busier, maybe even better, 2021.

The 26-year-old Belfast driver is stepping up to the LMP2 prototype class in the European Le Mans Championship, combining it with his GT programme with Aston Martin.

Fellow Ulsterman Wayne Boyd is LMP3 champion in the ELMS series and, like Eastwood, is scheduled to kick off 2021 in America, both of them taking part in the Daytona 24-Hour race for the first time at the end of the month.

Eastwood recorded two 24-hour race wins for the TF Sport team, including Le Mans as well as finishing runner-up in the GTE Am class in the World Endurance Championship. During lockdown he set up his own race simulator company and became a proud dad for the first time after his fiancée Cat Scott gave birth to a baby girl.

But now he is taking on a new challenge with the move to LMP2 with the newly-formed Racing Team Turkey, where he will be joined by his regular Aston Martin partner Salih Yoluc and a former ELMS champion Harry Ticknell.

The TF team recently took delivery of the LMP2 car, an Oreca 07-Gibson, and Eastwood said: "Prototypes are a completely different animal to GT cars but our brief test went really well and Salih impressed us with his pace. I have no doubts that we are capable of achieving some strong results this year."

The first round of the ELMS Championship takes place at Barcelona in April but before then Eastwood will be back in the more familiar surroundings of a GT3 Aston Martin which he will share with Richard Westbrook, Ben Keating and Maxwell Root in the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona.

Boyd, who won the ELMS title with Rob Wheldon and Tom Gamble for the United Autosports team, is joining the Sean Creech Motorsport team to drive an LMP3 Ligier alongside Lance Willsey, Joao Barbosa and Yann Clairay.

"I've watched the race for the last four or five years on TV and always thought it looked mega, so big thanks to Sean for having me," said Boyd. "This will be my first 24-hour race and, while I've tested at Daytona, this will be my first race there so I'm excited to see how it all pans out.

"I don't have a Rolex and I'd quite like one!"

Meanwhile, it was another of those days at the Dakar Rally for Kris Meeke. Again he started strongly, running second in the lightweight T3 category, but ended up limping towards the Neom bivouac in his Zephyr buggy.

Stephane Peterhansel won the stage to increase his lead over Nasser al-Attiyah and Carlos Sainz.

Belfast Telegraph