RLR MSport will field a pair of LMP3 entries in the 2022 European Le Mans Series, partnering Valentino Catalano with Austin McCusker and Horst Junior Felbermayr in the #15 Ligier JSP320, and Michael Jensen with Nick Adcock and Alex Kapadia in the sister #5 car.

Like many young drivers, Catalano learned his trade in karts before graduating to Formula 4 single-seaters, but the 16-year old German sees a future in endurance sportscar racing and is all set for his LMP3 debut with RLR MSport in the 2022 ELMS.

“I’m super excited about how the 2022 season will be,” said Catalano. “It’s my first time in endurance sportscar racing, having driven in the French and German Formula 4 Championships in 2020 and 2021, but I had the chance to drive an RLR MSport Ligier JSP320 LMP3 during two days of testing in Portimao and I quickly found pace. The work with the team was on point and I think we are set up perfectly to fight for the European Le Mans Series LMP3 title. This definitely has to be our main target.”

McCusker, who himself made a relatively early switch to sportscars after a few formative years in karts and single-seaters, most notably clinched the IMSA Prototype Challenge LMP3 title in 2019.

However, the following year in 2020, plans to traverse the Atlantic for a maiden assault on the ELMS were scuppered by the COVID-19 pandemic, and so the New York native is particularly eager to begin the 2022 season, believing RLR MSport will provide him and his teammates with a competitive package.

“The European Le Mans Series is the best LMP3 championship in the world, where all the top drivers race,” said McCusker. “In addition to that, the calendar includes some really cool venues, and travelling Europe is always amazing for an American.

“I tested with RLR MSport in 2019 – it was my first experience of working with a European team – and I’m happy we can finally do something together; the engineering is really great, the team was quick in testing and we have a stellar driver line-up capable of pushing for race wins and, hopefully, the championship. For me, the priority will be to consistently achieve solid results, to be in the title fight at the end of the season – we will certainly have the car and drivers for it, we will just need to be on our A-game throughout.”

Horst Jr Felbermayr, meanwhile, raced in the ELMS between 2005 and 2019 and returns to the series following a one-off outing with RLR MSport in the final round of the 2021 Michelin Le Mans Cup at Autodromo Internacional do Algarve.

“I think we are ready to be on the podium in every race with two drivers as young and fast as Valentino (Catalano) and Austin (McCusker) in the car,” said Felbermayr. “I’m very happy to be back in the European Le Mans Series and I think it will be a very interesting season. My race with RLR MSport in the last round of 2021 in Portimao was really good; we performed well and I felt very comfortable with the team, which was very professional and clearly had its priorities straight. It’s great to be working with them again this year, and, while I don’t want to apply any pressure at this early stage, I think we have the ingredients to race at the front in LMP3.”

Jensen most recently raced LMP3 machinery in Europe and Asia but previously competed against teammate and friend Adcock in South Africa, and he is now ready and equipped to step up to the ELMS after two learning years in the Le Mans Cup.

“This season, I wanted to work with an English team,” said Jensen. “I’m not the same driver as I was when I first stepped into an LMP3 prototype in the 2019 Michelin Le Mans Cup ‘Road to Le Mans’, because my pace has improved massively and my confidence is at an all-time high. In racing, confidence is a fragile thing that can take a long time to build up, but I immediately felt comfortable when I tested the RLR MSport Ligier JSP320 in Portimao in October 2021, and, combined with coaching from Alex (Kapadia), I’m expecting to take another step forward in 2022.”

Adcock, a British entrepreneur who resides in South Africa, has amassed experience in a wide spectrum of categories during 22 consecutive seasons of racing and is reversing a decision to step away from global competition to return to the ELMS to partner Jensen and Kapadia.

“Last season was going to be my swansong in international motorsport, but the prospect of sharing an RLR MSport-prepared car in the European Le Mans Series with my friend and teammate Michael (Jensen) and Alex (Kapadia) was more than enough to change my mind. The reality is, the ELMS is a fantastic championship and an immense challenge – I love the circuits, I love the show and I love how professional it is.

“I’ve known the RLR MSport guys since 2009 but have never raced with them, and I’ve always been very impressed with the team’s engineering. In fact, 2022 has all the potential to be a really good campaign. Fielding two Bronze drivers and a Silver seems to be the best way to go now driver gradings have been tightened up and I believe Alex (Kapadia) could now make a real difference to our performances, being that he’s a great driver coach who is very quick in his own right. We want to score well and have a shot at podiums, and I don’t see why that can’t be achieved with some good, consistent driving.”

The most familiar face within RLR MSport’s 2022 roster is Kapadia, who is highly regarded for his raw pace, his skills as a driver coach and his ability to provide engineers with accurate and detailed feedback, and he said: “This year, my role within the RLR MSport driver line-up will be a bit different, and I’m really looking forward to the challenge of leading the #5 car. Nick (Adcock) is extremely experienced, while Michael (Jensen) is comparatively new and will be taking his first steps in the European Le Mans Series, but both are very quick Bronze drivers and it will be good to work with them.

“One of my strengths is giving feedback and helping the team improve the car, and with two younger drivers in the #15, I’ll be there to give guidance and serve as a benchmark for all of my teammates. This will be more important now the calendar incorporates the Hungaroring and Imola – two very twisty, technical and physically demanding circuits where there’s more emphasis on setup and drivers can make a bigger impact.”