European Le Mans Series 2016 GTE mid-season review

The European Le Mans Series has reached the halfway mark after three thrilling races at Silverstone, Imola and the Red Bull Ring.

Three rounds and three different brands were able to clinch victories in the competitive LM GTE class.

Ahead of the fourth round at the Paul Ricard Circuit, here is a complete mid-season review of the 2016 European Le Mans Series.

The 2016 season started at Silverstone, the European Le Mans Series shared the weekend with the FIA World Endurance Championship.

Pole position went to Aston Martin Racing with the #96 Aston Martin Vantage GTE driven by Roald Goethe, Stuart Hall and Richie Stanaway.

The race featured some great battles for GTE supremacy between Aston Martin and Ferrari teams. The JMW Motorsport #66 Ferrari 458 Italia won the GTE class but was later excluded  for technical infringement. Race victory went to the Beechdean AMR #99 Aston Martin Vantage GTE of Andrew Howard, Alex McDowell and Darren Turner.

The AT Racing #56 Ferrari 458 Italia was second with Alessandro Pier Guidi, Alexander Talkanitsa Sr and Alexander Talkanitsa Jr. The GTE podium was completed by the #96 Aston Martin Vantage GTE with Roald Goethe, Stuart Hall and Richie Stanaway.

Read: JMW Motorsport excluded, Beechdean AMR wins ELMS opener

Round two of the 2016 season was held at Imola in Italy. Porsche took the GTE pole with factory driver Wolf Henzler at the wheel of the Proton Competition run #77 Porsche 911 RSR.

Wolf Henzler along with co-drivers Michael Hedlund and Robert Renauer won the four-hour event under extreme weather conditions. A dominant victory for the Porsche squad, clearly the strongest all weekend long.

Second place went to the JMW Motorsport #66 Ferrari 458 Italia driven by Robert Smith, Rory Butcher and Andrea Bertolini. Davide Rigon, Alexander Talkanitsa Sr and Alexander Talkanitsa Jr completed the top-three with the AT Racing #56 Ferrari 458 Italia.

Read: Proton Competition takes a dominant GTE victory at Imola

The Red Bull Ring in Austria played host to the third round of the season. In qualifying, Porsche Junior Matteo Cairoli gave Proton Competition the GTE class pole with the #88 Porsche 911 RSR.

There were once again fierce battles in GTE all race long with all of the three brands very competitive, Aston Martin, Porsche and Ferrari.

In the end the Maranello brand locked-up the class podium. Victory went to JMW Motorsport with their #66 Ferrari 458 Italia shared by Robert Smith, Rory Butcher and Andrea Bertolini.

Piergiuseppe Perazzini, Marco Cioci and Rui Aguas took second place in class with the AF Corse run #51 Ferrari 458 Italia. Alexander Talkanitsa, Alexander Talkanitsa Jr and Alessandro Pier Guidi completed the GTE podium with the AT Racing #61 Ferrari 458 Italia.

Read: JMW Motorsport wins GTE, 1-2-3 Ferrari at 4 Hours of Red Bull Ring

After three rounds, AT Racing' Alexander Talkanitsa, Alexander Talkanitsa Jr are leading the overall GTE drivers' standing with 48 points each. Aston Martin Racing's Andrew Howard, Alex MacDowall and Darren Turner are second with 47 points. JMW Motorsport's Robert Smith, Rory Butcher and Andrea Bertolini are thrid with 43 points.

In the GTE teams' standing, AT Racing leads with 48 points ahead of Aston Martin Racing in second with 47 points and JMW Motorsport in third with 43 points.

Photos: Ferrari Media / Adrenal Media