European Le Mans Series has announced the 2020 season entry list, and that’s without any huge surprises.
The majority of the teams were on the 2019 list too, but there were a few brand new ones, and some who have switched categories.
A total of 40 cars have entered the full season, with 18 in the LMP2 category, 13 in the LMP3, and 9 in the GTE category.
In the LMP2 category, we have changes for 2020 at Panis Racing and IDEC Sport, reducing their programmes from two to one car each. Inter Europol Competition goes the opposite way, entering a second car in LMP2.
One of the new teams in the LMP2 category is Ultimate, making the move from LMP3 to LMP2. They have flirted with a LMP2 car in the Asian Le Mans Series before, and makes a European switch this year.
The second team is Richard Mille Racing Team, which is a brand new name in the sport. That will be an all-female team, which is a first for the LMP2 category. The team is supported by FIA Women in Motorsport, which supported Kessel Racing in GTE last year, where they ran an all-female team – more about them later. Katherine Legge will be experienced driver on the programme, while she will be joined by Tatiana Calderon and Sophia Flörsch. Calderon was a teammate to Legge at the Daytona 24 Hours too, while it’s a first for Flörsch in sportscar racing. All the has a single seater background, with Calderon racing in Formula 2 as recent as last year, just as Flörsch did Formula Regional European Championship in 2019. The well-known Signatech team will run this effort, but it will be an ORECA branded car, opposite to their FIA WEC car, which runs under the Alpine brand – even though it’s an ORECA 07 Gibson just like all the others.
In fact, 15 out of the 18 LMP2 cars were made by ORECA, however with an Aurus sticker on the G-Drive Racing car. Inter Europol Competition will run the only two Ligier cars in the field, while Thunderhead Carlin Racing stick to their sole Dallara in the category.
A team that was active in both LMP2 and LMP3 last year was RLR MSport, but they will only focus on LMP3 this year. Danish racing driver Malthe Jakobsen was announced for them a few weeks ago, but the team hasn’t announced his co-drivers yet.
DKR Engineering advances from the Michelin Le Mans Cup, where they have dominated for years. One of their competitors from LMC is Graff. They will run an LMP3 car in 2020, in addition to their LMP2 entry. Oregon Team is unfortunately no longer part of ELMS, but they sadly didn’t really get any great results in the years that they have competed in ELMS.
It is a bit of surprise that last year’s Championship winning team Eurointernational stays in the LMP3 category, and doesn’t move up to LMP2. It’s still not clear if they will or won’t take up their Le Mans entry, that they won with Dane Mikkel Jensen and German Jens Petersen. The Le Mans entry list is expected within the next few weeks. It is worth mentioning that Harrison Newey has been named as the lead driver at Eurointernational.
While IDEC Sport went from two to one car in LMP2, they do pop up in LMP3. Their second entry has been more of the gentleman status for years, so they fit better into the LMP3 category, which is more a gentleman category, rather than top of the pops in LMP2.
M Racing is not on the entry list. We haven’t got any news from them, if they are will appear in the Michelin Le Mans Cup, or if Yvan Müller are done with sportscar racing for now, and focussing on his TCR racing instead.
There is a lot of returnees in GTE, with a few new names. Spirit of Race, Kessel Racing, and JMW Motorsport will enter a total of four Ferrari 488 GTE cars, with AF Corse appearing instead of Luzich Racing.
Iron Lynx will enter two cars, with the exact car numbers as Kessel Racing had last year. The all-female crew of Michelle Gatting, Manuela Gostner and Rahel Frey are back in Ferrari #83. But it’s not fully clear if those cars are run by Kessel Racing or AF Corse.
Dempsey-Proton Racing/Proton Competition is the only team running Porsche in GTE in 2020. That makes it a 7/2 split in favour of Ferrari, with it being 5/3 last year. Ebimotors has not entered this year. They have had a tough couple of seasons in ELMS, with a lot of changes behind the wheel, with Fabio Babini being the only constant. We yet have to see if they appear in the Michelin Le Mans Cup.
A team announcing ELMS plans back in September 2019 but not on the list today is KEO Racing. They had plans of running a Dallara LMP2. The team has sent out a press release today, stating that they were not able to find the drivers of quality combined with the needed funds for a programme in ELMS. The team has been running in the Michelin Le Mans Cup with an LMP3 car for a few years, including a Pole at Monza in 2019. We still have to see if they appear on any other sportscar series in 2020 – but it won’t be the ELMS.
The ELMS is at full capacity, so it’s only if any teams decide to move a bit tighter together in a single garage, that there might be a few FIA WEC guest appearnaces, like we have previously seen from Gulf Racing and TDS Racing among others.
A list with all the entered teams, and the confirmed drivers can be viewed here.