With three of the four available invitations for the Le Mans 24 Hours via the 2019 Asian Le Mans Series still undecided it will be Sunday evening in Thailand before we’ll have the final list of pre-ordained entrants for June’s classic.
After that, it will be the job of the ACO’s Selection Committee to determine which of the remaining, and increasingly nervous, teams that have posted entry requests will get the nod.
There are expected to be 62 entries confirmed on 28 February once again, the addition of the pair of temporary garages last year proving to be a real success, there’s no sign whatsoever that the initiative won’t be repeated.
One matter that was finally settled last week was the matter of a confirmed Championship winner in LMP3 for the 2019 European Le Mans Series after the FIA Court of Appeal in Paris ruled against Inter Europol Competition’s final appeal against their penalty for a driving hours infringement following a red flag in the opening minutes of the Series finale at Portimao.
That means that EuroInternational are confirmed with the Championship win and the subsequent auto entry which they are set to take up, currently envisaged to be a Ligier JS P217 with Adrian Tambay understood to be their first nominated driver.
The other matter settled last week at Sepang was the LMP2 entry at Le Mans allocated to the LMP2 Am winning team from the Asian Le Mans Series.
That will see the Le Mans debut of Rick Ware Racing after their #52 Ligier came through the melee of the classes high and lows to secure the title.
The team’s chassis selection for Le Mans has yet to be made, though their own Riley Multimatic Mk 30 is in the mix it may not be the final selection.
The currently confirmed invitations have been earned as follows:
Le Mans 24 Hours Winners LMP1 – Toyota Gazoo Racing – Entry for a third car not set to be taken up
Le Mans 24 Hours Winners LMP2 – Signatech Alpine – See below
Le Mans 24 Hours GTE Pro – AF Corse – See below
Le Mans 24 Hours GTE Am – Team Project 1 – With No ELMS entry not set to be taken up for a third car in addition to their pair of WEC entries
ELMS – LMP2 Champions – IDEC Sport
ELMS – LMP2 Runners Up – G-Drive Racing
ELMS – LMP3 Champions – EuroInternational
ELMS – GTE Champions – Luzich Racing – Entry not set to be taken up
ELMS – GTE Runners Up – Dempsey-Proton Racing
Michelin Le Mans Cup – GT Champions – Kessel Racing
Asian Le Mans Series – LMP2 Champions – TBD between G-Drive with APR, Thunderhead Carlin Racing and Eurasia Motorsport
Asian Le Mans Series – LMP2 Am Champions – Rick Ware Racing
Asian Le Mans Series – LMP3 Champions – TBD between Inter Europol Competition, Nielsen Racing, ACE1 Villorba Corse
Asian Le Mans Series – GT Champions – TBD between JLOC, HubAutoCorsa, Car Guy, D’Station Racing, Spirit of Race and T2 Motorsports
IMSA – Jim Trueman Award – Cameron Cassels – Performance Tech in LMP2
IMSA – Bob Akin Award – Richard Heistand – JMW Motorsport in GTE Am
Beyond that there are several other ‘known knowns’:
The 30 Full season FIA WEC entries are, of course, all allocated an entry.
Rebellion Racing has entered a second R13 Gibson for Spa and Le Mans
Porsche have made it clear that they intend to race their IMSA 911 RSRs alongside the WEC pair.
Corvette Racing has entered their two new C8.Rs in GTE Pro too.
The current presumed confirmed entries for the Le Mans 24 Hours are, therefore:
LMP1 – 6 Cars
Toyota Gazoo Racing – Toyota TS050 Hybrid x 2
Team LNT Ginetta – Ginetta G60-LT-P1 x 2
Rebellion Racing – Rebellion R13 Gibson x 2
LMP2 – 13 cars
Signatech Alpine Elf – Alpine A470
United Autosports – Oreca 07
Racing Team Nederland – Oreca 07
High Class Racing – Oreca 07
Jackie Chan DC Racing – Oreca 07
Jota Sport – Oreca 07
Cool Racing – Oreca 07
Cetilar Racing – Dallara P217
IDEC Sport – Oreca 07
G-Drive Racing – Aurus 01
EuroInternational – Ligier JS P217 (TBC)
Rick Ware Racing – Riley Multimatic Mk 30 (TBC)
Performance Tech – Oreca 07
GTE Pro – 10 Cars
AF Corse – Ferrari 488 GTE x 2
Aston Martin Racing – Aston Martin Vantage GTE x 2
Corvette Racing – Chevrolet Corvette C8.R x 2
Porsche Team – Porsche 911 RSR-19 x 4
GTE Am – 14 cars
AF Corse – Ferrari 488 GTE x 2
Team Project 1 – Porsche 911 RSR x 2
Red River Sport – Ferrari 488 GTE x 1
MR Racing – Ferrari 488 GTE x 1
Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR x 3
Gulf Racing – Porsche 911 RSR x 1
TF Sport – Aston Martin Vantage GTE x 1
Aston Martin Racing – Aston Martin Vantage GTE x 1
JMW Motorsport Ferrari 488 GTE x 1
Kessel Racing – Ferrari 488 GTE x 1
WHat’s Still In The Mix
That makes a current total of 43 entries with a further trio to be determined at Buriram this weekend.
In addition the intentions of AF Corse and Signatech with reference to their auto entries from Le Mans last year are not currently clear.
Might AF ask for a third GTE Pro car?
Might Signatech activate their auto-invitation to accommodate the Richard Mille racing trio of female drivers in LMP2?
So with 46-48 entries effectively already allocated (including a couple of working assumptions) the Selection Committee should have 14-16 entries to award to other entrants depending on whether the ACO decide to allocate an entry to a ‘Garage 56’ entry – something that is very much in the mix at the moment.
The pool for those additional entries numbers the following:
c.16-19 from the LMP2 and GTE teams in the 2019 and/ or 2020 European Le Mans Series
6-8 additional cars in LMP2 and GT from the 2019/20 Asian Le Mans Series
c.1-5 cars from the LMP2, GTLM and LMP2 ranks from the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship.
Something like 50% of the above ’pool’ therefore looks likely to be offered an invitation, with a further number set to be listed as reserves.
The number that will receive neither looks, at present, to be relatively small, with other possible factors still in the mix to impact on even the outline number-crunching above!