It was announced this morning that three GTE and two LMP2 cars have pulled out of this years 24 Hours of Le Mans race.
The ACO confirmed Monday morning the withdrawal of five race teams from the 24 Hours of Le Mans; three of which were Aston Martins.
Aston Martin Racing had originally planned to have six cars in the race with three each in GTE Pro and GTE Am. They are pulling their No. 89 GTE Pro entry and the No. 96 GTE Am Aston from their roster. The four remaining Aston Martins are their full-time WEC teams. AMR cited that they wanted to focus all efforts only on their works cars as the reason for the two withdrawals.
The third Aston Martin was to be fielded in GTE Am by Craft Racing, which has recently merged with the British based Bamboo team to form Craft-Bamboo Racing. As a joint venture, they are running the GTE Pro division in the World Endurance Championship this season.
Prospeed is a Belgium based outfit founded in 2006 and currently competes in the GTE Am category with three French drivers in the WEC. IMSA Performance Matmut has its roots in France and is most notably, a current competitor in the European Le Mans Series. Obviously, 56 minus three and plus two does not equal the golden number of 56 cars on the grid. This is where it gets interesting.
The other two withdrawals come from the same team - Millennium Racing. They were initially planning to field two Oreca 03-Nissans in the LMP2 class and had previously announced that they weren't going to participate in the first two rounds of the WEC due to financial issues. Now it seems that they won't be making the trip to Le Mans for that same reason.
There are no more reserves left after this latest shake-up, meaning that anymore withdrawals could lead to less than 56 cars on the grid in June.