24 HEURES DU MANS : THE 50 CARS SELECTED The final choice of the field for the 73rd Le Mans 24 Hours has been made. The overall quality of the teams selected for the race on 18th -- 19th June will ensure a fierce...
24 HEURES DU MANS : THE 50 CARS SELECTED
The final choice of the field for the 73rd Le Mans 24 Hours has been made. The overall quality of the teams selected for the race on 18th -- 19th June will ensure a fierce battle for outright victory; and the struggle for first place in each category will be no less intense.
The 50 cars selected are divided up as follows:
- 28 cars in the Le Mans Prototype Category split evenly with 14 in LMP 1 and 14 in LMP 2.
- 22 in the Le Mans Grand Touring Category with 10 cars in LM GT1 and 12 in LM GT2.
This total of 50 cars represents 38 different entrants: 10 in LMP 1, 12 in LMP 2, 7 in LM GT1 and 9 in LM GT2. They will all take to the track during the Test Day on 5th June.
The 73rd Le Mans 24 Hours looks like being a very open race to which extra spice will be added by the presence of some newcomers. In addition to the Champion Audis, one-two in the 2005 Sebring 12 Hours, and the French 'Blue' Audi running under the Team Oreca colours, the new Dome-Mugen entered by the Jim Gainer International team will be making its Sarthe debut. It will not be the only Japanese representative as one of the two Rollcentre Racing Dallaras is powered by a Nissan engine. Zytek, DBA, Nasamax and Jan Lammers' team's Dome are also entered in LMP 1 in addition to the two Pescarolos and the two Courages with Judd power.
Yves Courage is making a welcome return to the LMP 1 Category and his name is well represented in LMP 2 with no fewer than seven C65 prototypes (a total of 9 cars in all for the local constructor). It will be interesting to compare the performances of the different engines and tyres, which vary from one Courage to another. In addition to the C65, winner of its class in the Le Mans Endurance Series in 2004 and more recently in the Sebring 12 Hours, the presence of the new Lolas and the Luchini as well as evolutions from WR and Pilbeam has led to an increase in both quality and quantity in the LMP 2 Category.
In LM GT1 the major attraction of the 2005 Le Mans 24 Hours is the return of Aston Martin (outright winner in 1959 and absent since 1989). The British manufacturer's season got off to an excellent start with a category victory in the Sebring 12 Hours on Corvette's home territory. The American make is the current Le Mans GT1 titleholder and will be out for revenge in the Sarthe with its new C6-R (6th generation). In addition to the above-mentioned makes other prestigious entries include no fewer than 5 Ferraris, four 550 Maranellos and one 575 GTC, entered by teams that are accustomed to the topmost step of the rostrum. A Saleen S7R, another American GT, completes the LM GT1 field.
Finally, the LM GT2 Category is more varied than in the past with a couple of Ferrari 360 Modenas, a TVR, and the comeback of the Dutch GT, the Spyker C8 in spyder form, plus the arrival of the new Panoz Esperante. They will be up against a formidable armada of Porsches, which is currently the make to beat in this category.
Please note :
- In addition to the 50 entries, the Selection Committee has also drawn up a reserve list of 8 cars. It will remain valid for withdrawals announced up to 27th May 2005 which will then be replaced by the reserves in their numerical order whatever the category.
- Next date: Friday 3rd June with the start of scrutineering for the Le Mans 24-Hour Test Day on Sunday 5th June from 09h00 to 13h00 and 14h00 to 18h00.
2005 will be the first year of the new calendar with the Test Day two weeks before the race itself.