The European Le Mans Series has announced a record 41 car entry for the 2014 season – six more entries than the pinnacle series in endurance racing: the World Endurance Championship.
In the premier LMP2 category there are 12 entries from a number of teams including new blood in Sebastien Loeb Racing and former Corvette racers Larbre Competition who will be racing an Oreca and Morgan respectively. There is also another car for the Signatech Alpine team who are fielding two A450s.
There will also be a new chassis present this year with 2012 champions Thiriet by TDS Racing switching from an Oreca 03 to a Ligier JS P2 Nissan.
It is interesting to note that all but three of the entries will powered by Nissan engines, the remaining three will run Judd units.
There has already been one entry drop out only one day after the entry list was revealed by the ACO. The second Greaves car, run under the Caterham Racing banner, has been pulled by the car manufacturer after only securing a reserve entry for the 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans. Chris Dyson, who had been confirmed for the car, has moved across to the first car with Tom Kimber-Smith alongside.
The PC class has been stopped this year due to lack of entries, leaving only the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship as a home to Oreca FLM 09s.
In LMGTE it is very much the Ferrari 458 show with more than half of the 13 ELMS strong grid made up of the Italian machines.
There are the standard entries for AF Corse who seem to have a never ending supply of GTE machines as well as JMW Motorsport and SMP Racing.
However, there are a quartet of Porsches on the grid with former WEC racers IMSA Performance Matmut transferring their efforts into the ELMS with two Porsche 911 GT3 RSRs with Erik Maris and Raymond Narac the two confirmed drivers for the team so far.
Another Porsche goes to Gulf Racing UK with Michael Wainwright racing a Gulf coloured Porsche alongside team mate Roald Goethe who will be racing for the team in an Aston Martin V8 Vantage.
The Ferrari deluge continues in the ELMS’s biggest category – GTC – with 11 458 GT3s complimenting the 16 car field which includes a pair of McLaren MP4-12Cs, one BMW Z4, one Porsche 997 GT3R and an Audi R8 Ultra for Sebastien Loeb Racing.
The BMW Z4 will still be run by Barwell – last year in partnership with Ecurie Ecosse – but this year with Team Russia who have former British GT champion Leo Machitski behind the wheel.
A notable entry from GP3 is ART Grand Prix who are running the two McLarens, Kevin Korjus and Ricardo Gonzalez are the two confirmed drivers.
Pierre Fillon, President of the ACO, said: “The European Le Mans Series is a very important category in the world of endurance and, as the promoter, the ACO is very pleased to see such a big number of entries for the 2014 season. The ACO will offer the overall winners in each class automatic entry to the 2015 24 Heures du Mans, a prize that is of significant interest to all competitors in the European Le Mans Series. We look forward to seeing who will be the champions at the end of the 2014 season.”