With the 2020 24 Hour of Le Mans postponed until September due to the Coronavirus pandemic, Porsche have made the decision to withdraw their two IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship 911 RSR-19 GTEs from the entry list, leaving them with just two cars on the blue-riband grid.
The explanation for the decision from the German manufacturer has been cited as a result of the impact of the global pandemic on their finances. This means that the trip to get the team and cars to Le Mans from the States has been seen as an unnecessary expense for the team, and therefore will not be made.
Both the FIA World Endurance Championship Porsche GT Team cars will still take to the track, with series regulars Kevin Estre, Michael Christensen, Gianmaria Bruni and Richard Lietz behind the wheel of the #92 and #91 respectively. Making up three man teams, Frederic Makowiecki will still join Bruni and Lietz in the #91, with Laurens Vanthoor taking the third seat with Estre and Christensen in the #92.
The six drivers who were due to race in the IMSA Porsches now find themselves without seats for the endurance spectacle, and as it stands there is no upcoming opportunities for them to take part. This is especially disappointing for Matt Campbell, who was due to make his GTE Pro debut with Porsche in this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans. He is a full season driver for the #77 Dempsey-Proton Racing, so it is likely to return to the car for Le Mans.
Nine cars will now fill the GTE Pro field, with no manufacturer running more than two works cars. The odd number comes from the Ferrari-running Risi Competizione, making it three Ferrari’s in the field and the manufacturer with the most entries in Pro.
The withdrawal of the two IMSA Porsches and the recent withdrawal of the Garage 56 Frederic Sausset entry, planning to postpone their Le Mans appearance until 2021, does however see the top three reserve cars pushed onto the grid. The GTE Am Duncan Cameron #55 Spirit of Race Ferrari, LMP1 #4 ByKolles Racing Team and a second LMP2 entry from IDEC Sport Racing now join the full grid, leaving Jan Magnussen‘s LMP2 effort with High Class Racing at the top of the reserve list.
We do not expect this to be the final change to the 24 Hours of Le Mans entry list as, with the current social climate, things are still very likely to change.