Four more automatic 2018 Le Mans 24 Hours entries have been confirmed today, after the LMP2, LMP3 and GTE ELMS titles were sealed in the 4 Hours of Portimão.
In LMP2, G-Drive Racing by DragonSpeed (above), by finishing fourth overall in the race, sealed the LMP2 Teams and Drivers titles, and therefore took the sole ELMS entry via the LMP2 results.
Its title rivals at United Autosports, while not gaining an LMP2 entry via taking the LMP2 ELMS title, will still leave Portugal with a Le Mans berth. The #2 Ligier JS P3 of John Falb and Sean Rayhall took the LMP3 class championship, and in the process scored the Anglo-American team a Le Mans entry in LMP2 for the second consecutive season.
In the GTE class, where the top two in the standings get a ticket to La Sarthe, the class champions at JMW Motorsport gained a second entry (after winning Le Mans) and the TF Sport Aston Martin crew – which finished second in the standings – sealed its first for 2018, and a second consecutive auto place after winning the Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup last year.
Earlier in the day, by finishing top in the Le Mans Cup GT3 championship, Italian team Ebimotors also gained a GTE Am entry at Portimão in the final race.
These four entries bring the total confirmed number of automatic entries to eight. Prior to this weekend, Porsche LMP Team, Jackie Chan DC Racing, Aston Martin Racing and JMW Motorsport had already earned slots for Le Mans 2018 grid by winning their respective classes at the 2017 Le Mans 24 Hours.
There is not a little irony in JMW Motorsport earning two auto entries in 2018 after being controversially rejected for an entry in 2016 before returning to win the GTE AM class this year!
The only other automatic slots left are two nominated IMSA spaces (one in LMP2 and one in GTE Am) and three for the Asian Le Mans Series class winners in the upcoming 2017/18 season.