New Chassis, Teams Add Variety To LMP Half of Le Mans Entry


New variety is the story of the LMP classes this year at Le Mans (Credit: Rolex/Jad Sherif)

With 28 prototypes and 28 GT cars the 56 car field for the 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans is split evenly between the two forms of machinery that make up the entry list for the 82nd running of the race (June 14-15).

A majority of the prototype count can be found in LMP2, a class which is, perhaps, more varied in terms of the chassis makers represented in the class.

The Oreca 03 chassis continues to be the most populous in the category with eight of the 17 entries in the class set to use the French chassis, including the full season WEC entries of Millennium Racing, SMP Racing and KCMG. Three teams enter a Morgan chassis, led by WEC squad G-Drive Racing. For Le Mans OAK Racing – concentrating on a TUDOR United SportsCar Championship campaign – return to Le Mans with a single car effort to be led by Alex Brundle. Christian Klien leads the Newblood by Morand Racing team, the French squad set for another full season European Le Mans Series campaign. A Morgan fielding team also leads the five reserve teams for the prototype classes, a Jacques Nicolet driven car entered the Larbre Competition banner, the team denied their normal LMGTE Am Corvette entry this season.

Two teams continue Zytek’s run of Le Mans appearances, British teams Jota Sport and Greaves Motorsport both entering Nissan powered examples into the race. Caterham Racing wait on the reserve list with another Zytek-Nissan combination, potentially adding a 13th nationality to the Le Mans grid for 2014.

Alongside the returning Alpine badged chassis – the Signatech team having one entry accepted entry and another on the all LMP2 prototype reserve list – the Dome and Ligier names also return to Le Mans.

Japanese company Dome returns to the Circuit de la Sarthe after two years away, having last been represented by Pescarolo Team in 2012. Stepping down from LMP1 Strakka Racing pair up with the company, a Nissan engine now in the back of the S103 couple chassis.

Coming back to Le Mans after a markedly longer endurance racing hiatus are Ligier, last seen at Le Mans in 1975. Two Onroak Automotive developed JS P2 chassis will be on the grid, the first in the hands of OAK RacingTeam Asia, the team invited to the race after winning the Asian Le Mans Series in 2013, and Thiriet by TDS Racing.

The LMP1 grid, by comparison is relatively small, at just 10 teams, all bar one as part of a full season in the FIA World Endurance Championship. The lone exception is the third Audi R18 e-tron quattro led by the team’s new recruit Filipe Albuquerque.

The Portuguese led entry joins the two e-tron quattros entered for the full WEC season, the #1 entry led by Lucas di Grassi in his first full campaign with Audi’s endurance program. Marcel Fassler is named as lead driver for the #2 he will share with Andre Lotterer and Benoit Treluyer. With new regulations governing the premier class in 2014 all the teams bring new cars for the season, Toyota preparing to go up against Audi with their TS040 Hybrid.

Just as in LMP2, new names join the class, Porsche making their long awaited entry with a pair of 919 Hybrids. Away from the septet of works entries – in the LMP1-L category set aside of privateer teams both Lotus and Rebellion Racing have their own new chassis, Lotus moving up from LMP2 with a lone T129 chassis while a pair of Rebellion-Toyota R-One carry Rebellion’s hopes of continuing their domination of the privateer ranks in LMP1.

The 28th and final prototype on the entry is the latest tenant of Garage 56, the Nissan ZEOD RC electric hybrid car.