The entry list for the 88th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans has been announced tonight, and that was without any major surprises.
There will once again be 62 cars entered, with the two tents at the start of the pitlane being erected again, while the rest of the teams will be allowed to stay in the permanent concrete garages.
There were 75 entries for the 62 places, and with 10 cars on the reserve list, only 3 have not gotten anywhere near an entry.
We pretty much already knew how the LMP1 category would look like. Two times Toyota Gazoo Racing, two times Team LNT Ginetta and two times Rebellion Racing. Those are the six cars entered for the FIA WEC season. Toyota had an auto-entry in their pocket, thanks to last year’s victory, but they didn’t take that up.
The LMP2 will once again tightly contested, with all the FIA WEC entered teams, and names from the European Le Mans Series plus Asian Le Mans Series. There are three IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship connections in LMP2, but DragonSpeed and Rick Ware Racing are also entrants in the ELMS and Asian Le Mans. Performance Tech with Cameron Cassels is the only pure IMSA team on the LMP2 list. Cassels won the entry by winning the Jim Trueman Award in the IMSA series in 2019, due to him finishing as the best Bronze driver in LMp2.
The GTE Pro category contains two cars from Aston Martin, two from Corvette, three from Ferrari – two-run by AF Corse and one of Risi Competizione, while Porsche will enter four cars, just like they announced a couple of months back, and have turned in a tradition with two FIA WEC cars and two IMSA cars.
Looking closer at Risi Competizione Ferrari #82, there are some very interesting names in the shape of Olivier Pla and Sebastien Bourdais as the two announced drivers. So it will be a bit of Ford reunion in that car, even though they raced in separate Ford GT cars through the past four seasons.
GTE Am is the only place with a bit of surprise. Luzich Racing was rumoured to be shut down, but they are on the list with Francesco Piovanetti as the driver. Piovanetti drove the Asian Le Mans Series in a Ferrari, so he already knows the Italian brand.
WeatherTech Racing will once again make the trip to France, with Cooper MacNeil being the only confirmed driver so far. Kessel Racing has chosen to take up their auto-invite from the Michelin Le Mans Cup, to run a single car.
There are not one but two all-female cars in the GTE Am. Michelle Gatting, Manuela Gostner and Rahel Frey will race for Iron Lynx, opposite to last year, where they ran under the Kessel Racing banner.
GEAR Racing #81 is the second car entered. They are active in the USA with Katherine Legge and Christiana Nielsen in a Lamborghini Huracan GT3. That car isn’t available in a GTE version, so they will run a Ferrari instead, with Christina being the only driver mentioned yet. Legge will racing the Richard Mille Racing Team #50 in LMP2, sharing it with Sophia Flörsch and Tatiana Calderon. So we have to wait and see who Nielsen will be partnered up with. Could it be a Jamie Chadwick or Alice Powell?
JMW Motorsport Ferrari struck a deal with winner of the Bob Akin Award from IMSA last year, Richard Heistand. That title is awarded to the best Bronze rated driver in GTD.
Dempsey-Proton Racing has opted to take up their ticket from the second position in the ELMS standings in 2019, to get a third car into the field. Patrick Long is the only named driver in that car by now.
The Garage 56 entry is back this year – or as it’s called now – the Innovation car. It will be raced with three drivers with handicaps and will be operated by Association SRT41. They ran back in 2016 too, with Frederic Sausset as the man behind the team.
There are quite a few well-known names on the reserve list.
Spirit Of Race Ferrari #55 is first up, in their green Ferrari from ELMS. Second on the list is ByKolles Racing Team, who likes to enter their LMP1 car one more time. The third is IDEC Sport with their second LMP2 car.
High Class Racing is fourth on the list with their second car, that they plan to run with Jan Magnussen behind the wheel. That is the ELMS car, since they already have the FIA WEC car with Anders Fjordbach, Mark Patterson and Kenta Yamashita entered. That wasn’t quite to the team’s liking, after doing weeks of promotion regarding the entry in a hope/expectation to be on the entry list. They need four teams to drop out, before those plans come into fruition.
Proton Competition has another Porsche entered in fifth, while DragonSpeed has an extra LMP2 in sixth. Iron Lynx have their second ELMS Ferrari as 7th, and Inter Europol Competition with their second LMP2 car in eighth.
It’s a bit of a surprise to see Team Project 1 all the way down in 9th with their third Porsche. They are defending winners of the race, and should, therefore, have automatic entry, if they wanted that. So that’s a bit of a mystery, how they could end up that low on the reserve list.
The final reserve is D’Station Racing Aston Martin, that we have seen racing in the Asian Le Mans Series. They can pretty much forget about going to France this summer – at least to participate in the race.
The full list with all participants and reserves can be seen here. The list will be updated when new announcements tick in.
The 24 Hours of Le Mans will be run on 13-14 June 2020.