Romanian racer Filip Ugran will step into the #19 Algarve Pro Racing entry for the concluding parts of the 2022 European Le Mans Series (ELMS) at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps (23-25 September) and Autodromo Internacional do Algarve (14-16 October).
A five-year karting career preceded a three-pronged Formula 4 campaign in Italy, Germany and Spain in 2019, when he became the first Romanian driver to qualify on the front row of an FIA grid and the only Romanian to achieve three consecutive podium finishes in an FIA championship race meeting.
During a streamlined 2020 programme, Ugran collected silverware for a race win at Imola and four additional podium finishes in the F4 Italian Championship, and those results aided his progression up onto the next rung of the junior single-seater ladder, the Formula 1-supporting FIA F3 Championship.
In 2022, the Tirgu Mures-born racer has been a fixture of the Euroformula Open Championship grid, but he will swap ‘wings and slicks’ open-wheelers for Le Mans Prototypes when he rounds out the year with Algarve Pro Racing in the ELMS.
Ugran, who turned 20 on Monday (12 September), will partner Bent Viscaal as a replacement for the now departed Sophia Flörsch in the #19 ORECA 07 LMP2 during the final two rounds of the 2022 ELMS, the 4 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps (23-25 September) and 4 Hours of Portimao (14-16 October).
“The European Le Mans Series 4 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps will mark my debut in both endurance racing and LMP2 prototypes,” said Ugran. “I’m really looking forward to the whole experience. Algarve Pro Racing has delivered really strong cars across multiple championships during the 2022 season and I hope I can help the team climb back onto the ELMS podium alongside Bent (Viscaal).”
Algarve Pro Racing Team Principal, Stewart Cox, said: “We are very pleased to welcome Filip (Urgan) to our European Le Mans Series driver roster for the 4 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps and Algarve Pro Racing’s home race, the 4 Hours of Portimao. Putting him in the car was a no-brainer because he brings a good level of experience from junior single-seaters, where he achieved race wins and podium finishes in Spain and Italy, and we were impressed by his attitude and the pace he showed when he tested with us at the beginning of the year. It’s never easy to step into a new category midway through a season, but Filip will be able to rely on his new teammate Bent (Viscaal) for guidance and insight, and his own experiences should serve him well as he changes course and steps into what is arguably the most competitive LMP2 field in the world.”