This is probably the edition of 24 Hours of Le Mans with most expectation on it since the competition became part of the FIA World Endurance Championship, and maybe even before that.
Along this decade and the last one, the Audi vs. Pescarolo rivalry became Audi vs. Peugeot, then Audi vs. Toyota. The French asphalt battlefield saw last year a three-way battle between Audi, Toyota and Porsche, where the four-ringed manufacturer became victorious. But what will the Ingolstadt guys do as currently they will have three manufacturers wanting to take the crown from their heads?
This and other answers will be presented to the public on June 13th and 14th, when 56 cars spread in four categories will challenge the most spectacular sportscar race in the world. Worth to note that due to huge interest in the race, the Garage 56 project will not have its place this year.
After having two straight years of single digit grids, the LMP1 class will have 14 entries, as the 11 full season WEC cars will be joined by the third entries from Nissan and Porsche, as the German manufacturer brings Formula 1 driver Nico Hülkenberg to La Sarthe.
The LMP2 class will feature 20 entries, as the FIA WEC regular entries will be joined by the European Le Mans Series regular entries, as well the OAK Racing entry from the Asian Le Mans Series. Eight models from six manufacturers will make the LMP2 class the one with more diversity, so the guys of Jota Sport will have to work more to repeat the class win of 2014.
The LMGTE-Pro class will have 9 entries, as FIA WEC regulars with their Ferraris, Aston Martins and Porsches, will face the American opposition of Corvette Racing and their C7.Rs.
The LMGTE-Am class will feature 13 entries, with the FIA WEC regulars, the guys of Scuderia Corsa, indicated by IMSA, two AF Corse entries and the JMW Motorsports Ferrari from the European Le Mans Series, as well the Taiwan-based side of AAI Motorsports, listed with two 997-spec Porsches, as the Asian Le Mans Series GTC class champions.
But, what if any between these 56 entries of the list becomes unfortunately unable to participate at Le Mans? Don’t worry, the list of reserve entries will fill in for any possible forfait.
Seven entries are listed as reserves, split between three LMP2 teams and four GTE teams. Leading the list is a possible return to the Dodge Viper GTS-R to Le Mans, as the sole entry by Riley Motorsports. Other entries include the second entries from KCMG, Proton Competition and Ibanez Racing, the Ligier JS P2 of Algarve Pro Racing.
Put in your calendar: the Journeé Test, the official tests at Le Mans will be on May 31st. All entries need to take part on it, and we will be able to see some LMP3 teams on track (although not in a competitive way).
PHOTOS: FIA WEC, 24 Hours of Le Mans