As the 2017 24 Hours of Le Mans gets closer, the finalised entry list for the prestigious event has been published. Sixty entrants can be seen on the start list of the 85th running of the 24-hour race, nearly doubling the usual grid size of the World Endurance Championship.
All of the teams competing in the 24-hour endurance have been required to nominate the three drivers that will be taking part in the race, although these are still allowed to be changed. Only the #88 Proton Competition team have not submitted their three drivers, with the team still looking for a third driver to race alongside debutants Nick Yelloly and Stephane Lemeret.
The list includes the recent shuffle around at Toyota Gazoo Racing that will see José María López racing in the #9 as he continues to recover from his crash and subsequent injuries obtained in the 6 Hours of Silverstone. He will make his debut in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the third entrant from Toyota.
The LMP1 field remains unchanged as the WEC grid head to the Circuit de la Sarthe, with six cars making up the class.
Porsche take two cars, with their driver line up exactly the same as it has been for the opening two rounds of the championship. Toyota adds their third car to the mix, challenging with three cars to try and secure the overall victory that was taken from them as the #5 Toyota stopped a lap from the end on the start/finish line last year. Both Hybrid teams will be putting their all into trying to win the double-points round of the season, with Porsche having opted to run their Le Mans aero package on their cars for the first two rounds.
ByKolles remain the sole team in the LMP1 Privateer class. They will be hoping to carry on their better form found in the 6 Hours of Spa and finish the 24-hour endurance. Their driver line-up stays the same with Oliver Webb, Dominik Kraihamer and James Rossiter in the cockpit.
25 LMP2 cars will grace the track in the middle of June. Cars from all the attached Le Mans series have been invited to attend the 24 Hours of Le Mans as well as the usual ten entrants from WEC. Signatech Alpine add a second car to the field for the double-points round, meaning that eleven WEC cars will take to the grid. Just as the did for the 6 Hours of Spa, Nelson Panciatici, Pierre Ragues and Andre Nerago will piolet the #35 Signatech Alpine.
Joining the grid from the European Le Mans Series, nine of the LMP2 cars will line up at the Circuit de la Sarthe. ELMS LMP2 championship leaders #22 G-Drive Racing will take to the grid in June, along with their close rivals #21 DragonSpeed, #23 Panis Barthez Competition, #29 Racing Team Nederland, #32 United Autosports, #34 Tockwick Motorsport, #39 and #40 Graff and #47 Cetilar Villorba Corse. The Algarve Pro Racing ELMS team will participate with car #45. Matthew McMurry stays in the car with Mark Patterson and Vincent Capillaire joining him for the 24-hour endurance.
To make up the numbers to 25, four other LMP2 cars join the Le Mans 2017 starting list. #17 IDEC Sport Racing will be driven by Patrice Lafargue, Paul Lafargue and David Zollinger whilst the #33 Eurasia Motorsport will have Jacques Nicolet, Pierre Nicolet and Erik Maris behind the wheel. SMP Racing return to the WEC in the #27 with Mikail Aleshin, Sergey Sirotkin and Victor Shaytar striving for the class victory.
#43 Keating Motorsport bring a Riley MK30-Gibson to Le Mans as Ricky Taylor will hope to bring some of his WeatherTech SportsCar Championship luck to his team-mates Ben Keating and Jeroen Bleekemolen. The final entry in the LMP2 class is the #49 ARC Bratislava which will be raced by Miroslav Konopka, Konstantins Calko and Rik Breukers.
LM GTE Pro
The LM GTE Pro field nearly doubles for the third round of the 2017 World Endurance Championship with 13 cars lining up in class. The eight usual WEC runners appear, but hoping to repeat their success from last year Ford is bringing along two more cars, making their squad four strong, just as it was last year. The four entrants will all race under the banner Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK and will have the numbers #66, #67, #68 and #69. AF Corse, Porsche GT Racing and Aston Martin Racing are only entering the normal two cars for this event.
After coming second on the class podium last year, Risi Competizione comes back to Le Mans this year to try and take the class win. Leaving the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship for the month of June, the team bring over Toni Vilander, Giancarlo Fisichella and Pierre Kaffer to try and take victory in the LM GTE Pro class.
Also coming ‘across the pond’ from the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship are the two Corvette Racing entrants. They will race with numbers #63 and #64 as their #3 and #4 crews come to battle for class victory. Jan Magnussen returns to Le Mans with Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor in the #63 whilst the sister car will be piloted by the WeatherTech sister team of Tommy Milner, Oliver Gavin and Marcel Fassler.
LM GTE Am
For what is usually a fairly small class of five cars, the LM GTE Am class grows to have 16 cars racing in this class. Five come directly from WEC, whilst three of the entrants have been invited to race from ELMS. Clearwater Racing Ferrari-running team have put in a second car for Le Mans, taking on number #60 and their normal #61. #60 will be raced by Richard Wee, Hiroki Katoh and Alvaro Parente whilst #61 has the same driver line-up as it has had for the first two rounds of the 2017 WEC season.
Spirit of Race will run the usual #54 whilst their ELMS entrant, #55, will also grid up in this class. In the #54, Thomas Flohr and Francesco Castellacci will run as they normally do for the team but the third driver will be Olivier Beretta rather than Spanish driver Migual Molina. The second Spirit of Race Ferrari will be in the hands of Duncan Cameron, Aaron Scott and Marco Cioci, the team that usually races in ELMS.
Also coming from the ELMS GTE grid is the two Aston Martin entries. The #90 TF Sport will race under the same banner it does in ELMS, however the #99 Beechdean AMR will be seen as a second Aston Martin Racing entrant for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. As Nicki Thiim will be racing in the #95 Aston Martin Racing Pro car, Rob Bell steps into the TF Sport to take his seat.
Fernando Rees returns to Le Mans in the #50 Larbre Competition ELMS GTE car. The ELMS line-up will compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with Romain Brandela and Christian Philippon joining Rees in the cockpit. Also from ELMS, JMW Motorsport will join the GTE Am field. But the British team is not bringing over much of their ELMS team. Robert Smith comes over with the team, but he will be joined in the cockpit by Will Stevens and Dries Vanthoor in the #84.
Proton Competition has two entrants in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but have yet to finalise their three drivers for their #88 entry. Patrick Long, Abdulaziz Turki Al Faisal and Michael Hedlund with race together in the #93, whilst Yelloly and Lemeret still wait to find out who the third driver in their car will be.
Another car coming over from WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in America is the #65 Scuderia Corsa team. Christina Nielsen and Alessandro Balzan will trade in their Ferrari 488 GT3 for a Ferrari 488 GTE to take part in the 24 Hours of Le Mans with Curtis Bret as their third driver. Nielson will be the only female driver to be taking part in this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The #62 Scuderia Corsa line-up of Cooper MacNeil, Bill Sweedler and Townsend Bell, and the #83 DH Racing team of Tracy Krohn, Niclas Jonsson and Andrea Bertolini complete the finalised grid for the 85th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. One reserve car is on the list for the LM GTE Am class; the #94 Mentos-Proton Racing. The team will run a Porsche 911 RSR (911) and have only confirmed Egidio Perfetti as their driver as of the time of publishing.