FIA and ACO have an entry list 24 Hours of Le Mans exposed. This means that all 186 drivers are known who will be at the beginning of June during the most important endurance event of the year. It is the first year that three classes start. This year there are LMH, LMP2 and GTE-Am classes. Unfortunately, this is the last year of the GTE, as these will be replaced by GT3s next year.
In total we see seven Dutchmen at the start of this year, with many of our colleagues starting in the LMP2 class. Renger van der Zande is the only driver with a chance to win the overall victory. Our neighbor starts with Cadillac from Chip Ganassi Racing in LMH. Unfortunately, competition is fierce in this class. A total of 16 cars are available at the start.
Porsche comes to the Circuit de la Sarthe with three factory cars and Jota also has a personal entry with a Porsche 963. Laurens Vanthoor sees his dream of taking action at Le Mans with a top model come true. The Belgian drives the LMDh for the German car brand. All manufacturers, except Floyd Vanwall Racing Team, will be there with at least two cars.
Another notable entry is Jacques Villeneuve who is at the start with the Vanwall Vandervell 680. The Canadian is not the only ex-F1 driver at the start. In addition to the usual drivers from F1, Esteban Guttierez is also on the way. The Mexican drives the second Glickenhaus car.
The largest class is LMP2 with no less than 24 Oreca 07-Gibsons at the start. In this class we see several Dutch people. Bent Viscaal leaves for Prema Racing, while Robin Frijns starts work with Team WRT. The Belgian team WRT will participate with two cars. The team’s second car will include Robert Kubica. Giedo van der Garde, who recently won the FIA WEC in Portugal with United Autosports, will take part in Graff Racing. Tijmen van der Helm and Job van Uitert come together in one LMP2 model for Panis Racing.
Our southern neighbors are also well represented in LMP2. DRK Racing will be on the field with Tom Van Rompuy, Ugo de Wilde and Maxime Martin with a full Belgian squad. Dries Vanthoor driving for the Turkish Racing Team. Daniil Kvyat, who will drive for Lamborghini at LMH next year, is a leader in this class. The Russian drives under the neutral flag for Prema Racing. Unfortunately, he is not the only one, because in this class Vladislav Lomko also drives under the neutral flag.
In GTE-Am’s farewell year, no less than 21 cars are starting. Nicky Catsberg comes from Corvette Racing and based on the results of the previous races, we can make the Dutchman and his team among the contenders for the class victory. Unfortunately, it is the only American car in the field. In total there are eight Porsche 911 RSRs, seven Ferrari 488 GTE Evos and five Aston Marting Vantage AMRs at the start. Which class gets a fitting farewell to the Circuit de la Sarthe.
Unfortunately, the important Belgians are also at the beginning here, with many starting from Porsche. Jan van Heylen starts with a German Proton Racing car. While Alessio Picariello for Iron Lynx and Sarah Bovy for Iron Dames. Both drivers also drive Porsches. Ulysse de Pauw goes to work with AF Corse’s Ferrari. Bovy and the women’s team certainly shouldn’t be written off for a class win. Women have already shown several times that they can fight for victory at the front and have already won the FIA WEC.
A special place has been reserved for Hendrick Motorsports in the ‘testing’ Garage 56. The American team will present a real Nascar car that has been developed for endurance racing. Jimmie Johnson, Mike Rockenfeller and former F1 driver Jenson Button will be racing the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. They will participate in the race outside the competition, but they will definitely leave a good impression on it Round of the Sarthe.
Spare parts list
The reserve list has a total of eight cars, five of which are GTE-Ams and three LMP2. In the second place it is a good replacement, if one of the cars stops. Dragonspeed USA already has Sebastien Montoya on the entry list alongside his father and former F1 driver, Juan Pablo Montoya.
Click HERE for a complete entry list.