The ACO have announced an impressive 35 car entry list for the 2015 FIA World Endurance Championship.
Revealed at an press conference in Paris yesterday, the list features 21 Le Mans prototypes and 14 GT cars, split into four separate classes. LMP1 represents the largest category, with 11 entries.
Of these 11 entries, eight will come from the four major manufacturers. Nissan’s participation in the championship has been confirmed, with LMP2 stars Harry Tincknell (#22) and Olivier Pla (#23) earning places in the new Nissan GT-R LM NISMO prototype.
Reigning world champions Toyota will be targeting a defence of their 2014 title with two TS040-Hybrids. The #1 car will be led by Anthony Davidson, while Alex Wurz is the first driver to be nominated for the #2 machine.
2014 24 Hours of Le Mans winners Audi will also continue to run a two car programme in the FIA WEC. The #7 car will be driven by Marcel Fässler, while Brazil’s Lucas di Grassi has been confirmed for the #8 entry. Briton Oliver Jarvis has already been announced as Tom Kristensen’s replacement, and will likely join di Grassi in the #8.
Meanwhile, Porsche will be hoping to build on their successful LMP1 debut year with a pairing of new 919 Hybrid prototypes. Timo Bernhard takes charge of the #17 car while experienced Frenchman Romain Dumas has been announced as a driver of the #18 machine.
Elsewhere in LMP1, Rebellion Racing will field two AER-powered Rebellion R-Ones, while former Lotus squad Team Bykolles will enter its solitary CLM P1/01 AER with Simon Trummer at the wheel.
After attracting smaller than expected grids in 2014 the LMP2 class has experienced a rejuvenation in entries, with 10 cars announced for 2015. Alpine, ORECA, HPD, Strakka Dome, Morgan and Ligier are all represented on a diverse entry list that should provide plenty of close-quarters racing.
Three Ligier JS P2s will be present, entered by OAK Racing and 2014 vice-champions G-Drive Racing (two cars). Hong Kong’s KCMG will switch from an open-cockpit prototype to a new ORECA 05-Nissan for 2015, while American squad Extreme Speed Motorsports have announced a pair of full-time HPD ARX 04B-Hondas, following a successful one-off outing at the 6 Hours of the Circuit of the Americas last year.
Other new additions include 2014 ELMS champions Signatech Alpine who will bring their Alpine A450B-Nissan to the table, while Team SARD Morand is set to field two Morgan Evo coupés, with Christian Klien and Pierre Ragues announced as the lead drivers.
Strakka Racing will make their long-awaited return to the FIA WEC after a season-long absence, following the completion of the Strakka Dome S103-Nissan. Regular drivers Nick Leventis, Danny Watts and Johnny Kane will once again represent the popular British team.
Three manufacturers will once again lock horns in the battle for GTE-Pro class honours. Ferrari will be vying for its fourth world championship crown with two AF Corse entries, led by Italians Gianmaria Bruni (#51) and Davide Rigon (#81)
Ferrari will once again have stiff competition in GTE-Pro this year, in the form of Porsche Team Manthey and Aston Martin Racing. The former will enter two cars, driven by works drivers Richard Lietz (#91) and Patrick Pilet (#92), while the latter will expand from two to three pro entries with the addition of the Young Driver AMR Vantage V8.
New signing Marco Sørensen will pilot the #95 machine, with Darren Turner once again assuming his position in the #97 car. Brazilian Fernando Rees completes the initial line-up in the #99 entry.
This year, the GTE-Am class has been given an American flavour, following the announcement that Larbre Competition will enter the first customer-run Corvette C7R in a full-season FIA WEC effort. In addition, American acting star Patrick Dempsey will join the championship with his #77 Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR. A second Proton car will also feature, in the form of the Abu Dhabi-Proton Racing 911 RSR that will be driven by Germany’s Christian Ried.
2014 FIA WEC LMP2 champions SMP Racing will transfer to the GTE-Am class for 2015, fielding a sole Ferrari 458 Italia for Victor Shaitar. AF Corse will also run a solitary 458, with François Perrodo at the wheel.
Aston Martin Racing’s presence in GTE-Pro will be accompanied by a two-car GTE-Am line-up, featuring the #96 car driven by Gulf Racing’s Roald Goethe and the #98 which will be piloted by Canadian Paul Dalla Lana.
2015 FIA World Endurance Championship Entry List
#1 – Toyota Racing – Toyota TS040 Hybrid – Anthony Davidson (GBR)
#2 – Toyota Racing – Toyota TS040 Hybrid – Alexander Wurz (AUT)
#4 – Team Bykolles – CLM P1/01 AER – Simon Trummer (CHE)
#7 – Audi Sport Team Joest – Audi R18 e-tron quattro – Marcel Fässler (CHE)
#8 – Audi Sport Team Joest – Audi R18 e-tron Quattro – Lucas di Grassi (BRA)
#12 – Rebellion Racing – Rebellion R-One AER – Nicolas Prost (FRA)
#13 – Rebellion Racing – Rebellion R-One AER – Mathias Beche (CHE)
#17 – Porsche Team – Porsche 919 Hybrid – Timo Bernhard (DEU)
#18 – Porsche Team – Porsche 919 Hybrid – Romain Dumas (FRA)
#22 – Nissan Motorsports – Nissan GT-R LM NISMO – Harry Tincknell (GBR)
#23 – Nissan Motorsports – Nissan GT-R LM NISMO – Olivier Pla (FRA)
#26 – G-Drive Racing – Ligier JS P2 Nissan – Roman Rusinov (RUS)
#28 – G-Drive Racing – Ligier JS P2 Nissan – Gustavo Yacaman (COL)
#30 – Extreme Speed Motorsports – HPD ARX 04B Honda – Scott Sharp (USA)
#31 – Extreme Speed Motorsports – HPD ARX 04B Honda – Ed Brown (USA)
#35 – OAK Racing – Ligier JS P2 Nissan – Jacques Nicolet (FRA)
#36 – Signatech Alpine – Alpine A450B Nissan – Nelson Panciatici (FRA)
#39 – Team SARD Morand – Morgan Evo SARD – Christian Klien (AUT)
#42 – Strakka Racing – Strakka Dome S103 Nissan – Nick Leventis (GBR)
#43 – Team SARD Morand – Morgan Evo SARD – Pierre Ragues (FRA)
#47 – KCMG – Oreca 05 Nissan – Matthew Howson (GBR)
#51 – AF Corse – Ferrari 458 Italia – Gianmaria Bruni (ITA)
#71 – AF Corse – Ferrari 458 Italia – Davide Rigon (ITA)
#91 – Porsche Team Manthey – Porsche 911 RSR – Richard Lietz (AUT)
#92 – Porsche Team Manthey – Porsche 911 RSR – Patrick Pilet (FRA)
#95 – Aston Martin Racing – Aston Martin Vantage V8 – Marco Sørensen (DEN)
#97 – Aston Martin Racing – Aston Martin Vantage V8 – Darren Turner (GBR)
#99 – Aston Martin Racing – Aston Martin Vantage V8 – Fernando Rees (BRA)
#50 – Larbre Competition – Chevrolet Corvette C7R. – Gianluca Roda (ITA)
#72 – SMP Racing – Ferrari 458 Italia – Victor Shaitar (RUS)
#77 – Dempsey-Proton Racing – Porsche 911 RSR – Patrick Dempsey (USA)
#83 – AF Corse – Ferrari 458 Italia – François Perrodo (FRA)
#88 – Abu Dhabi-Proton Racing – Porsche 911 RSR – Christian Ried (DEU)
#96 – Aston Martin Racing – Aston Martin Vantage V8 – Roald Goethe (DEU)
#98 – Aston Martin Racing – Aston Martin Vantage V8 – Paul Dalla Lana (CAN)