The grid for the 2013 European Le Mans Series has been announced with twenty-nine cars across the four classes taking part in the five round series.
The twenty-two teams represent nine different countries - France, Great Britain, Belgium, Ireland, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Italy, Netherlands and the United States.
The biggest part of the grid will be the LMP2 class with eleven cars, with reigning champions Thiriet by TDS Racing, with Pierre Thiriet, starting the season in Silverstone carrying the prestigious nr1 on the car.
However the French team will face stiff opposition from several quarters, including compatriots Signatech and Sebastien Loeb Racing, British teams Greaves Motorsport, Jota Sport and Orex Competition, Boutsen Ginion Racing from Belgium, Swiss teams Race Performance and Morand Racing and DKR Engineering from Luxembourg.
Four chassis manufacturers - Oreca, Zytek, HPD and Morgan - will be powered by Nissan, Judd and Honda engines.
There is bound to be some great racing amongst the ten strong entry in the LMGTE category with no less than six Ferrari 458 Italias taking on three Porsche 911 GT3 RSRs and a single Chevrolet Corvette C6-ZR1 entered by Larbre Competition.
The Ferrari teams will be RAM Racing and JMW Motorsport from Great Britain, Italian team AF Corse and Swiss team Kessel Racing. IMSA Performance MATMUT (FRA), Prospeed Competition (BEL) and Autorlando Sport (ITA) will each run a single Porsche 911 in 2013.
In the GTC category Lamborghini, Ferrari, Porsche and Audi will contest class honours. Dutch team Kox Racing will race the single Lamborghini Gallardo entry on the 2013 grid; AF Corse will have a further two Ferrari 458 Italias, running them alongside the two LMGTE class cars; Autorlando Sport will run a Porsche 911 GT3 R while American team Momo Megatron DF1 will run an Audi R8 LMS.
Pierre Fillon, President of the ACO, said: “2013 is an important year after the ACO decided to restart the European Le Mans Series and mandate Le Mans Endurance Management (LMEM) to organise and promote the most important European endurance race series.
Gerard Neveu, Director of Le Mans Endurance Management, said: “We will start the new season with a fantastic grid of twenty-nine cars.
We have also received strong interest by other teams looking to race in the ELMS on a race-by-race basis, potentially boosting the grid numbers even further.
2013 is going to be a hard year and we know we will face some very exciting challenges and this is a good start.
The five events alongside the FIA WEC (Silverstone), FFSA GT Tour (Imola) and World Series by Renault (Red Bull Ring, Hungaroring, PaulRicard) will give us the best platform on which to promote the relaunched European Le Mans Series.
We look forward to welcoming everyone - teams, drivers, fans, partners - at each of these prestigious and beautiful European circuits.”
2013 European Le Mans Series Calendar
1. Silvertone GBR 12-13 April
2. Imola ITA 17-18 May
3. Red Bull Ring AUT 19-20 July
4. Hungaroring HUN 13-14 September
5. Paul Ricard FRA 27-28 September
European Le Mans Series