This year’s 20th anniversary IMSA season-ending Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta is set to run with a strong field of 38 cars.
While there’s not many additions to the field, the most notable being the return of Rebellion Racing, with Gustavo Menezes joining the team for the first time, there’s plenty of third drivers worth mentioning.
In the WeatherTech Championship Prototype class-leading #10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R, co-drivers Ricky and Jordan Taylor will be joined by IndyCar champion and Indianapolis 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay, one of three IndyCar stars currently on the entry list. Alex Lynn was due to take the third seat for Petit this year, as he did at Sebring, but Formula E testing duties for the Brit have forced him to skip the race in Georgia.
Elewhere in the Prototype class, Brendon Hartley and Bruno Senna have joined Tequila Patrón ESM, Hartley in the #2 Nissan DPi alongside Ryan Dalziel and Scott Sharp, and Senna sharing the team’s #22 entry with Johannes van Overbeek and Pipo Derani.
Filipe Albuquerque returns to the #5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R with full season racers Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi, and Toyota Gazoo Racing’s Mike Conway is sharing the Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi with Dane Cameron and Eric Curran.
As mentioned above, Rebellion Racing returns to the WeatherTech Championship for the first time since March’s Twelve Hours of Sebring and will have Mathias Beche, Nick Heidfeld driving with the aforementioned 2016 Le Mans LMP2 winner Gustavo Menezes in its ORECA LM P2 car.
For Visit Florida Racing, fresh from its Laguna Seca triumph, Renger van der Zande and Marc Goossens will be joined by regular Mazda Prototype racer Jonathan Bomarito; Mazda skipping PLM to continue its preparations for 2018 with Team Joest.
The PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports Ligier will run with Jose Gutierrez, who raced with DragonSpeed at Le Mans this year, and a duo of WEC regulars, Olivier Pla and Julien Canal.
In GTLM, Ford Chip Ganassi Racing will again have Scott Dixon as part of the lineup for its #67 Ford GT shared by Richard Westbrook and Ryan Briscoe. In the team’s #66 Ford GT, Sebastien Bourdais is reunited with Joey Hand and Dirk Mueller, the same lineup that won the GTLM class in this year’s Rolex 24 At Daytona and the 2016 GTE Pro class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The GTLM class will see the championship-leading #3 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R in the hands of regulars Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia alongside former Le Mans winner Mike Rockenfeller. The team’s #4 entry will have ex-Audi LMP1 man Marcel Fassler alongside Tommy Milner and Oliver Gavin.
Risi Competizione, the defending GTLM winners at Motul Petit Le Mans, return with Giancarlo Fisichella and Toni Vilander going for a second consecutive victory, this time with AF Corse WEC pilot Alessandro Pier Guidi as their co-driver.
In the BMW Team RLL, Kuno Wittmer will join the #24 crew, and Nicky Catsburg will race in the #25. And at Porsche GT Team, LMP1 drivers Nick Tandy and Earl Bamber will return to the GT cockpit for their first races in the new 911 RSR. Tandy will be with Patrick Pilet and Dirk Werner in the #911, and Bamber will drive with Gimmi Bruni and Laurens Vanthoor.
GTD’s entry is 17 cars strong. Championship leaders Christina Nielsen and Alessandro Balzan, who picked up their first victory of the season last weekend in Monterey, in the #63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 along with co-driver Matteo Cressoni.
Porsche meanwhile, will have four chances with each entry fielding a Porsche 911 GT3 R. Three of those driver lineups already have won this year, including Daniel Morad, Michael Christensen and Michael de Quesada in the Daytona-winning Alegra Motorsports 911.
The other two are #73 Park Place Motorsports machine of Patrick Lindsey and Joerg Bergmeister, joined by ELMS racer Matt McMurry next week, and the #50 Riley Motorsports-WeatherTech Racing machine of Cooper MacNeil and Gunnar Jeannette, being joined by Porsche factory ace Patrick Long. The fourth Porsche, is from CORE autosport, its 911 GT3 R which almost won at Monterey and will have Colin Braun, Jon Bennett and Nic Jonsson in its car.
Audi will have three entries for Motul Petit Le Mans, led by the #57 Stevenson Motorsports R8 LMS GT3 of 2017 Canadian Tire Motorsport Park race-winners Lawson Aschenbach and Andrew Davis along with Matt Bell. Alex Job Racing will field the #23 Audi for Bill Sweedler, Townsend Bell and Frank Montecalvo and the #29 Montaplast by Land Audi returns to WeatherTech Championship competition for co-drivers Connor De Phillippi and Christopher Mies. The Land pair fresh from the ADAC GT Masters finale, where they narrowly missed out on the title.
A majority of manufacturers will have two entries, including the pair of Lexus RC F GT3 race cars fielded by 3GT Racing. Driving the team’s #14 entry will be Sage Karam, Robert Alon and Panoz GTS racer Ian James, while the #15 has sports car legend Scott Pruett alongside Jack Hawksworth and versatile racer Austin Cindric.
Lamborghini has two GTD entries, from Change Racing and Paul Miller Racing, as does Mercedes, the #33 Riley Motorsports-Team AMG entry for joined by the SunEnergy1 Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 crew of Tristan Vautier, Kenny Habul and Dion von Moltke.
Michael Shank Racing, which won Petit outright last year, will race with its pair of Acura NSX GT3s in the GTD class. Two-time 2017 GTD race winners Andy Lally and Katherine Legge will be joined in the #93 Acura by Mark Wilkins, while Ozz Negri, who was part of Shank’s winning lineup last year, will share the #86 Acura with Jeff Segal and Tom Dyer.
The lone BMW in the GTD field will be the #96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 shared by Justin Marks, Jens Klingmann and Jesse Krohn.
PC features three entries, from Performance Tech and BAR 1.
Next Saturday’s Petit Le Mans is set to begin at 11:05am local time.