The Le Mans Classic selection committee recently released the preliminary entry lists for its curtain-raiser Group C race and for each of the six grids. A stunning 500 historic cars are expected in La Sarthe next July.
The Group C entry list currently has 29 cars built between 1982 to 1992. Porsche is supplying the largest number of prototypes, with seven 962s. That number is equalled by Spice, with three SE89s, three SE90Cs and one SE92 GTP. 30 years after its victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Jaguar is represented by four prototypes, including a XJR-9 model from 1988, two XJR-11s and one XJR-12.
The Group C grid also includes a Toyota 85C, a Nissan NPTI90, a Courage C26S and an EMKA C84/1 Aston Martin. The end of the Group C era will also be celebrated by the presence of a Peugeot 905 EV1 Bis from 1993 and a Lola T92/10 from 1992. Unlike in 2016, there are no Mercedes and no Lancias for now, but organisers have indicated that the entry list could increase before July.
Grid 6 has 62 cars built between 1972 and 1979. It offers a great mix of 1970s GTs, with multiple Porsches (911s, 930s, 934s and 935s), Ferraris 512 BBs and BMWs (M1s, 3.0 CSLs). There are also numerous prototypes, including eight Lolas (T280s, T286s, T290s, T298s, T600), three Osellas (PA5s, PA6s), the first ever Sauber to compete at Le Mans (the 1976 C5 BMW), an Inaltera Ford, a Lola De Cadenet and a Mirage Gr7.
Grid 5 (cars built between 1966 and 1971) includes several Porsche 908s to honour the model’s 50th anniversary. Porsches 906, 910 and 917 also compete in that class amongst numerous Lolas (T70s, T210s), Chevrons (B8s, B16s, B19s), Ford GT40s and Ferrari 512s, as well as a Howmet TX and an Alpine A210.
The French brand is celebrating the 40th anniversary of its last overall victory at Le Mans. It is also represented in the Grid 4 category (cars build between 1962 and 1965) with a couple of Alpines (M63/M64) competing against 53 other cars including multiple Porsche 904s, Ford GT40s and Jaguar E-Types.
Finally, Grids 3, 2 and 1 (cars built anywhere between 1923 and 1961) feature a healthy 150 cars.
389 drivers are already registered. Among them are René Arnoux (BMW M1 Procar 1979), Derek Bell (Porsche 917 LH 1969), Paul Belmondo (Porsche 935 1981), Jacques Laffite (Lola T70 Mk III 1966), Jochen Mass (Porsche 911 Carrera RSR 3.0L 1974), Stéphane Ortelli (Porsche 904/4 GTS 1964), Henri Pescarolo (Inaltera Le Mans 1976), Marko Werner (Lola T212 FVC 1971 et Lotus Mark IX 1955), Jacques Nicolet, Paul and Patrice Lafargue.
Other famous names are expected to complete this list before next summer.