LMP2: 15 Cars For Start Of 2020
The LMP2 line up for the ELMS season opener will feature 15 cars, with manufacturers Oreca, Ligier and Aurus represented.
Reigning champions Idec Sport are back to defend their hard-fought 2019 title, with drivers’ champions Paul Loup Chatin and Paul Lafargue being joined by former 24 Hours of Le Mans LMP2 champion Richard Bradley.
The third 2019 LMP2 Drivers’ Champion, Memo Rojas, has rejoined DragonSpeed and will race the #21 Oreca alongside his new British teammates Ben Hanley and Ryan Cullen.
2019 ELMS Championship runners up G-Drive Racing return with 2018 LMP2 Champion Roman Rusinov being joined by former FIA F2 Champion and FIA WEC race winner Nyck De Vries and reigning LMP3 Champion Mikkel Jensen in the #26 Aurus 01.
United Autosports field a pair of ORECA 07s for returning pairing Phil Hanson and Filipe Albuquerque in the #22 and new look trio Alex Brundle, Will Owen and new team signing and 2019 Championship runner-up Job van Uitert in the #32
Algarve Pro Racing will also field two cars, with a driver line up that boasts three former endurance champions. 2013 FIA World Endurance Champion Loïc Duval will race the #24 Oreca with 2015 ELMS LMP2 Champion Jon Lancaster and Sweden’s Henning Enqvist. The #25 Oreca will feature, 2017 LMP3 Champion John Falb, who will race with WEC race winner Gabriel Aubry and Simon Trummer.
The 4 Hours of Le Castellet will see the debut of the Richard Mille Racing Team, with the #50 Oreca-Gibson being driven by the all-female line up of Katherine Legge and Tatiana Calderon.
High Class Racing, Panis Racing, Duqueine Team, Inter Europol Competition, BHK Motorsport, Cool Racing and Graff will all field a single LMP2 entry.
Three LMP2 cars named in the original list for the season are confirmed withdrawals for the first race. The second Inter-Europol Ligier, the Ultimate ORECA and a last-minute withdrawal for the Asian Le Mans Series race-winning Thunderhead Carlin Dallara.
LMP3: Ligier v Duqueine
The LMP3 grid will consist of 12 entries with 8 Ligier JS P320 taking on 4 Duqueine D08s. Reigning LMP3 champions Eurointernational are back to defend their title with a one-car entry driven by Serbian Paolo Brajnik and 2018 Michelin Le Mans Cup champion Leonard Hoogenboom.
Eurointernational will face some stiff opposition from many quarters, with 2019 Vice Champions Inter Europol Competition fielding one car in Le Castellet for an unchanged and super strong line up of Nigel Moore and Martin Hippe.
Reigning Michelin Le Mans Cup LMP3 Champions Laurents Hörr and François Kirmann move up to the ELMS with their title-winning team DKR Engineering and will be joined by Wolfgang Triller for the four-hour race in France. DKR though is believed to be looking for a change in car.
Nielsen racing arrives back in Europe fresh from winning the Asian Le Mans Series LMP3 title and field their title-winning pairing, Tony Wells and the rapid Colin Noble, for the European season alongside the all-North American crew of Rob Hodes, Charles Crews and Garett Grist.
Previous double Champions United Autosports will be looking to get back on form with a new look two-car squad featuring the new Ligier JS P320: In the #2 Wayne Boy returns but with two new team-mates, young emerging star Tom Gamble, and rapid and experienced Radical racer, the Bronze rated Rob Wheldon.
The #3 United Ligier sees Jim McGuire back again but with Andrew Bentley and new United signing Duncan Tappy now aboard.
As recently reported on DSC Graff Racing have added a second LMP3 and now have one apiece from Ligier and Duqueine.
Realteam Racing (now run by TDS Racing rather than Graff), RLR MSport and BHK Motorsport have entered one car each for LMP3.
Again three cars initially announced for the season have not made the entry list for Paul Ricard, 360 Racing will sit out the season, as will the second Iter Europol Ligier and details are awaited as to whether the IDEC sport Ligier will join in the season later.
LMGTE: Three Manufacturers for Le Castellet
Ten LMGTE entries will take to the grid for the 4 Hours of Le Castellet, with Aston Martin Racing joining the grid, the British marque set to take on Ferrari and Porsche for the first time since 2017.
2019 ELMS Vice Champions Dempsey-Proton Racing return with the #77 Porsche driven by 2019 race winner Christian Ried, who will be joined by Michele Beretta and Alessio Picariello.
The #93 Proton Competition Porsche will be driven by former FIA WEC LMGTE Pro Champion Ricard Lietz and Felipe Laser.
There will be seven Ferrari F488 GTE EVOs on the grid, with Kessel Racing and Iron Lynx entering two cars each, while JMW Motorsport, AF Corse and Spirit of Race enter one F488 each.
JMW’s planned squad has seen a couple of changes due to the current travel restrictions, Paul Ricard will see an all-British trio, the returning Jody Fannin, and Hunter Abbott joining Finlay Hutchison.
The #83 Iron Lynx Ferrari features the second of the two all-female crews with Manuela Gostner, Michelle Gatting and Rahel Frey returning for their second ELMS season.
As announced this morning, the #98 Aston Martin Vantage will be driven by 2017 FIA WEC LMGTE AM Champions Paul Dalla Lana and Mathias Lauda, with 2015 AMR Academy winner and former British GT4 Champion Ross Gunn joining them in France.