ACO President Pierre Fillon today told DSC that there are no current plans to expand the entry for the Le Mans 24 Hours beyond the planned 60 cards for 2016 and beyond.
The ACO approved the construction of four additional garages in time for this year’s race, the garages are now nearing completion (below), allowing an increase in the maximum grid from 56 to 60 cars, the circuit has a maximum permitted capacity under its license of 72 cars.
From four years ago you had perhaps 90 cars wanting to come to Le Mans, of which perhaps 50 were serious entrants. Now it is totally different, now we have more than 70 but every car is a very serious team.”
“You have to keep Le Mans as something special,” said Mr Fillon. “It should be something rare.”
The question over available entries for the prestigious race arises with the current seemingly growing pressure on the ACO for entries. As it stands, auto entries are awarded to all FIA WEC full-season entrants, class winners from the previous year, ELMS class winners, Asian Le Mans Series class winners and allocated IMSA nominees with an entry awarded for 2017 to the winning driver from the new for 2016 Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup (which effectively replaces the entry awarded from the now defunct ELMS GTC class).
Six out of ten of the cars on the 2016 Le Mans 24 Hours reserve list were full-season ELMS entrants.