55 starters confirmed for 24 Hours of Le Mans

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55 starters confirmed for 24 Hours of Le Mans

The Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO) has released the official list of entrants for next month's 24 Hours of Le Mans. The field of 55 starters remains relatively unchanged from the original list of invitees issued in February. However, none of...

The Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO) has released the official list of entrants for next month's 24 Hours of Le Mans. The field of 55 starters remains relatively unchanged from the original list of invitees issued in February. However, none of the three remaining reserve entries have been granted a place in the race, as last Friday was the deadline for finalizing the field.

Daniel Poissenot gives the green flag for the warmup lap.
Photo by Pierre Barrau.

An impressive field of 21 LM P1s will take part in Sunday's Official Test Day, along with 12 LM P2s, 10 LM GT1s and 12 LM GT2s. Audi Sport Team Joest's three R10 TDIs and Team Peugeot Total's three 908 HDi-FAPs headline the entry in the top prototype division, with no surprises in its previously announced driver lineup.

The P1 category features three unique Japanese efforts, all of which confirming its drivers. Tatsuya Kataoka, Yuji Tachikawa and Daisuke Ito have been named pilots for Dome's brand-new S102 Judd, which has been testing in Europe in the past month. Tokai Univeristy's YGK-powered Courage-Oreca LC70 will have Haruki Kurosawa, Toshio Suzuki and Masami Kageyama at the helm while the Terramos squad will have Hiroki Katoh, Kazuho Takahashi and Le Mans stalwart Yojiro Terada steer a Mugen-powered Courage-Oreca LC70.

Other driver additions to the P1 grid include Romain Dumas joining Jean-Christophe Boullion and Emmanuel Collard in the No. 16 Pescarolo Sport Judd. Dumas is fresh off back-to-back victories in the Nurburgring 24 Hours, also claiming the overall victory in the American Le Mans Series' Utah Grand Prix two weeks ago. Former IndyCar driver Stephane Gregoire, meanwhile, has been confirmed in Rollcentre Racing's Pescarolo Judd, joining Belgian Vanina Ickx and a yet-to-be-named third driver.

Creation Autosportif has yet to officially announce its driving squad, but it's known that lead driver Jamie Campbell-Walter will not race. The Scotsman suffered four broken vertebrae following a violent practice crash in the Le Mans Series race at Monza in April and will not be fit in time for the twice-around-the-clock marathon.

In P2, Andy Wallace rejoins the British RML squad, teaming with Tommy Erdos and Mike Newton in the Lola MG B05/40. Fellow Brit, and Dyson Racing regular Guy Smith, will be aboard Quifel - ASM Team's Lola AER, joining Miguel Amaral and Olivier Pla.

The coveted third seat at Team Essex looks to have gone the way of Sascha Maaassen, who will join John Neilsen and Casper Elgaard in the team's Porsche RS Spyder. Maassen, who pilots Penske Racing's RS Spyder in the American Le Mans Series, appears to be the only Porsche factory driver racing in P2, as the Van Merksteijn Motorsport RS Spyder will be driven by Jos Verstappen, Jeroen Bleekemolen and Peter van Merksteijn.

In GT1, the majority of teams have confirmed its lineups in past months, including Corvette Racing and Aston Martin Racing. But a brace of others will be hoping to dethrone the two factory outfits. Team Modena's lineup of Christian Fittipaldi, Terry Borcheller and Jos Menten looks awfully strong, in their Aston Martin, as does Luc Alphand Aventures' No. 72 Corvette C6.R for Guillaume Moreau, Jerome Policand and Luc Alphand.

Vitaphone Racing, which had originally intended to enter an Aston Martin, has effectively given its entry to Peter Hardman's Strakka Racing, which will still run under the German banner. Nick Leventis and Alex Margaritis will join Hardman in the DBR9. Larbre Competition's ex-Oreca Saleen S7R will have Christophe Bouchut, Patrick Bornhauser and David Smet behind the wheel.

A number of team's have confirmed their drivers in GT2, including defending race winners IMSA Performance Matmut, which retains the potent trio of Richard Lietz, Patrick Long and Raymond Narac. Team Felbermayr-Proton will take a similar approach with Wolf Henzler, Alex Davison and Horst Felbermayr Sr at the wheel. A third Porsche 997 GT3 RSR will be run by Americans Flying Lizard Motorsports for Jorg Bergmeister, Johannes van Overbeek and Seth Neiman.

Risi Competizione leads the Ferrari attack with its two F430 GTs for Mika Salo, Jamie Melo and Gianmaria Bruni (No. 82) and Tracy Krohn, Nic Jonsson and Eric van de Poele (No. 83). Three or four other prancing horses could be contenders for the win as well, all depending on their pilots. Teams have until June 10 to confirm their driver line-ups.

All 55 cars will take part in scrutineering and administrative checks this Friday and Saturday, before tacking to the historic 8.5-mile Circuit de La Sarthe on Sunday for the Official Test Day. Two four-hour sessions are scheduled, one from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and the other from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. local time.

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