A large grid of 29 entries has been confirmed for the penultimate round of the European Le Mans Series at Paul Ricard (September 5-6)
LMP2 will once again feature more entries than any other class, with 12 cars expected to make the start. Jota Sport head into the race as favourites after a dominant display at the Red Bull Ring, with the regular line-up of Simon Dolan, Harry Tincknell and Filipe Albuquerque set to go up against the equally strong Thiriet by TDS trio of Tristan Gommendy, Ludovic Badey and Pierre Thiriet, which lies just two points adrift in the championship standings.
SMP Racing will run both of its BR01 Nissans under the AF Racing banner at Paul Ricard, with a slight driver change in the #21 car as Anton Ladygin makes way for recent Le Mans GTE-Am class winner Victor Shaytar.
Another personnel change in the LMP2 class involves American squad Krohn Racing, which currently lies fourth in the championship. Nissan LMP1 driver Olivier Pla will take the reigns of the Judd-powered Ligier JS P2, replacing Nic Jonsson in the line-up.
LMP3 sees the same four-car grid that took part in the 4 Hours of Red Bull Ring, with all entries coming from Ginetta. Team LNT will operate half of the entries: one for series leaders Chris Hoy and Charlie Robertson and the other for Mike Simpson and Gaetan Paletou.
Villorba Corse retains Giorgio Sernagiotto and Roberto Lacorte in its Ginetta-Nissan, while SVK by Speed Factory will also return to action, this time with V de V Series runner Mirco van Oostrum added to the line-up.
Eight cars will take to the grid in the LMGTE class, including the new championship leaders Formula Racing. The Danish squad holds a slim five point advantage at the head of the class standings, with the #55 AF Corse crew eager to reduce or even surpass the deficit ahead of the Estoril finale.
Few changes are apparent in the LMGTE ranks, although it is worthy to note that Sam Tordoff will not be present for JMW Motorsport as his calendar clashes with the British Touring Car Championship round at Rockingham. Elsewhere, Phil Keen returns to the Gulf Racing UK line-up after stepping down for Daniel Brown at the Red Bull Ring.
A retirement for the #64 Ferrari in Austria means that GTC is effectively a two-horse race heading into the final two rounds. TDS Racing currently leads the standings, and it will be the familiar trio of Franck Perera, Eric Dumont and Dino Lunardi piloting the BMW Z4 GT3 on home soil next weekend. In hot pursuit of the TDS team is the #62 AF Corse entry which has won the previous two rounds, featuing Stuart Hall, Francesco Castellacci and Thomas Flohr.
Of the five GTC entries only one will feature a driver change, as Felipe Barreiros makes way for Belgian GT racer Adrian de Leener (8th in GTC last year) in the #64 AF Corse Ferrari.
Make sure you follow The Checkered Flag for continual live updates from Paul Ricard on September 5-6.