After rising through the single seater ranks to the heights of GP2 and most recently winning races in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series, Tio Ellinas (Larnaca, Cyprus) is making the switch to sports car racing for 2017 with the Porsche Carrera Cup GB and JTR.
Echoing the team’s own move for 2017, Ellinas will be competing a 911 GT3 Cup for the first time as part of a three-car line up for JTR in their debut sports car season. Along with team mates Dino Zamparelli and Lewis Plato, Ellinas is a significant addition to an already strong field of Pro category drivers who now account for a half of the total grid.
Ellinas won races with JTR in the 2010 British Formula Ford championship, before going on to win races in Formula Renault 2.0, GP3 and Formula Renault 3.5. Despite a Formula One test and points-scoring GP2 debut, Ellinas is realistic about the season ahead:
“It will be a completely new challenge for me as I begin my first season in sports cars. I had a really positive test with Porsche at Silverstone in November which is what started things moving, and now I just can’t wait to get back in a car.
“I know the competition will be tough, but I also know from past experience with JTR that the guys will provide me with a great car – so perhaps I can fight for wins and possibly challenge for the championship later in the year. Why not!?
“This is a big move for me that I hope will lead to a long career in the sport. I want to thank the team, and also personally Nick Tandy, for believing in my abilities and putting me in the car for this season.”
Team Principal, Nick Tandy, has every confidence in his new signing and the strength of the team going into the season:
“We’ve known Tio a long time and we’re delighted to welcome him back to the team. He’s won a lot of races and has an enviable track record in single seaters, but we’re all ‘eyes open’ to the challenge as he adapts to a completely different style of car.
“The first official test isn’t far away, but back in November Tio proved he didn’t need long to get up to a really good pace in the car. Along with Dino and Lewis, we couldn’t have hoped for a stronger line up in our first season of sports cars.”
James MacNaughton, Motorsport Manager, Porsche Cars GB, commented:
“To have a driver of Tio’s experience and with his track record join the Porsche Carrera Cup GB is a proud moment for us. We’ve worked hard to make sure the championship appeals to all our competitors in every category, and it’s something which can be a difficult balance to achieve.
“Looking at the strength of our Pro drivers, along with the continued support of our Pro-Am1 and Pro-Am2 competitors, we must be getting it right. The field for our 15th season looks fiercely competitive and we can’t wait to get going.”
Ellinas is the 10th confirmed Pro category driver so far, and will be joining Tom Wrigley (IN2 Racing), Jamie Orton (Redline Racing) and Matt Telling (Welch Motorsport) in the Rookie championship.