As February barely started, it came a time where announcements had to be made by the Automobile Club de l'Ouest, and in a live show transmitted to the World via YouTube, the organization behind the 24 Hours of Le Mans showed the names of the teams that will go to La Sarthe in June.
Although some numbers reduced in some classes the sixty teams set for the race are there with two entries in the reserve list, and unfortunately the absence of the Garage 56 entry as Welter Racing announced previously that it wouldn't keep its bid into the French classical.
In the middle of the turmoil around the balance of the old and new regulations, the LMGTE-AM class had quite promissing numbers, with 16 cars joining the race. The Ferrari 488 GTE will be the only car of the new LMGTE regulations to enter in the amateur class, with 7 cars expected, as Asian frontrunners Clearwater Racing bring two cars as well Spirit of Race and IMSA GTD champions Scuderia Corsa, with Asian LMS GT champions DH Racing bringing a single car. Still on the Ferrari side, JMW Motorsport returns to Le Mans after being left out last year, still using a 458 Italia model.
About the other makes, Proton is there with a 3-car strong Porsche army, while Aston Martin Racing gets the company of TF Sport and Beechdean AMR to race the Vantage V8, with a single car to each team. A lonely Corvette C7.R GTE will be in the hands of Larbre Competition again.
The LMGTE-PRO class will feature 13 cars as Corvette and Aston Martin bring their pair of cars, with Porsche also coming with a pair of the new 911 RSR GTE. AF Corse brings a pair of Ferrari 488 GTE models with Risi Competizione coming back with a third Italian car. Ford kept it overkill like in 2016 and united its FIA WEC and IMSA teams in 4-car strong team to defend the class title.
The LMP2 class is the most populated one with 25 cars, with the majority of the numbers being taken by Orecas and Ligiers with teams like Vaillante Rebellion Racing, G-Drive Racing, now in partnership with TDS Racing, United Autosports and Eurasia Motorsport. The Dallara P217 is represented with three cars as SMP Racing is the standout one thanks to their future LMP1 partnership, and a single Riley Mk. XXX comes with Keating Motorsports, as Ben Keating steps up from the Vipers to the prototype world.
Some new names can also be seen in the list, specially coming from the LMP3 class, like Graff Racing, steeping up with two cars after some good time in ELMS, and Tockwith Motorsports, who made their name in the Asian Le Mans Series, as well their rivals from ARC Bratislava. With DC Racing also in the game, it looks more like a high powered reedition of the fights seen in Eastern lands.
About the top class, we will see only 6 LMP1 cars at Le Mans, as ByKolles will be the only privateer entry. Between the manufacturers, Porsche comes with two 919 Hybrid models while Toyota made a late confirmation on a third TS050 Hybrid today.
The reserve list will feature only a prototype and a GT, with RLR M Sport and GT3 Le Mans Cup entrant Mentos Racing.
Here is the complete list:
PHOTO: 24 Heures du Mans