Le Mans grid grows to 62 automobiles for 2019
The grid for the Le Mans 24 Hours might be expanded to 62 automobiles for 2019, including two automobiles to the unique 60-car entry.
The change signifies that United Autosports’ second Ligier JS P217 and Danish crew Excessive Class Racing’s ORECA 07 have been added to area.
“In February, the choice committee confronted a tougher process than it has in a few years,” mentioned Pierre Fillon, President of the Car Membership de l’Ouest. “There have been 75 functions – all of a excessive normal – and it was notably tough to decide on solely 60. We shortly got here to the conclusion that we needed to discover a method of accepting further opponents, and our crews confirmed the feasibility of including two garages to pit lane. We knuckled down and are overjoyed to have the ability to settle for 62 entrants for the 2019 24 Hours of Le Mans. It’s a report quantity, and an indication that this race is as standard as ever.”
These additions have been made potential by a plan to accommodate two extra automobiles with momentary garages that might be added to the underside finish of the present pit lane in time for the Le Mans Take a look at Day.
Each garages might be positioned within the hole, which doubles as an entry highway, between the primary two everlasting garages at pit-in and the Module Sportif constructing.
To allow these new garages to be put in, the ACO might want to create a brand new pit-lane entry highway on the opposite facet of the Module Sportif Constructing and relocate the present VIP automobile park which sits behind it.
The ultimate preparations, which is able to decide which crew(s) will take up the momentary garages, have but to be made.
The 62 automobile grid might be a report for the race, and one which’s set to be damaged once more within the close to future, with the ACO nonetheless within the midst of planning a significant rebuild of the present pit construction to accommodate an excellent bigger grid in time for the 2023 24 Hours.
For Excessive Class Racing, that is enormous information. The crew has been a full-season LMP2 entrant for the previous two years within the European Le Mans Sequence, and can now make its Le Mans debut.
It had filed for an entry this yr and in 2019, and was turned down by the ACO on each events resulting from there being such excessive demand.
Being denied once more this yr got here as a significant disappointment for the drivers Anders Fjordbach and Dennis Andersen, and for the Excessive Class Racing crew, which invested in a pair of recent ORECA 07 Gibsons to interchange its Dallara P217 chassis for this season in a bid to realize stronger outcomes.
United Autosports will even see this information as a significant reduction. The crew had anticipated to be awarded a two-car entry to the race as a result of the outfit fields essentially the most automobiles of any crew racing beneath ACO guidelines.
“I’m delighted with the information, regardless of the circumstances,” Alex Brundle, who will drive the No. 32 Ligier on the race mentioned to RACER.
“Clearly it’s the spotlight of our yr and it’s all the time magic to be concerned in that race. To get a last-gasp entry makes it all of the extra particular.”
Presently, United Autosports competes within the ELMS’ LMP2 class, the Michelin Le Mans Cup’s LMP3 class, will step up the FIA WEC in 2019/20, and this previous winter competed in each prototype courses of the Asian Le Mans Sequence.
“My first thought is that we’re actually joyful, delighted, it’s what we hoped for initially,” co-owner Richard Dean informed RACER. “However my second thought is that we now should undo the whole lot we’d undone from our authentic plans. Six weeks to organize for Le Mans isn’t a very long time – the lead time on parts, gearbox and the whole lot else on the automobile is commonly longer than that. Nevertheless it’s a pleasant drawback to have. We’ve needed to cancel resorts, again out of sponsor agreements, and clearly, we had commitments with drivers we’re resurrecting. It’s created a specific amount of labor however for the Le Mans 24 Hours it feels value it.
“You all the time hoped one thing may occur, and we heard the information that the Spirit of Race Ferrari pulled out. However did I’ve affirmation earlier than at present? No. However we all the time hear rumors and we’ve heard so much a few new pit complicated with an even bigger grid. Once you need one thing to occur, you learn between the strains and begin imagining issues. However, at present was the day we obtained affirmation and heard for certain we’re in. It’s excellent news!”
Excessive Class Racing and United Autosports occupied the second and third spots on the reserve listing for the race. High of the listing when it was first printed was French LMP2 crew Duqueine Engineering, which was beforehand introduced as part of the present entry after the No.55 Spirit of Race Ferrari dropped out.
Together with the information, the ACO launched a revised entry listing.
Jordan King (who made his WEC debut at Sebring) and IMSA common Ricky Taylor have been added to the No. 38 Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA, to race alongside beforehand confirmed Dane, David Heinemeier Hansson.
In GTE Am in the meantime, the No. 62 WeatherTech Racing Ferrari’s line-up has been totally revealed; the automobile that includes former class Le Mans Am winner Rob Smith alongside American Cooper MacNeil and Ferrari manufacturing facility driver Toni Vilander.
The reserve listing options simply 5 automobiles now, with Eurasia Motorsport, which competes within the Asian Le Mans Sequence, now sitting atop the listing. Beneath it are the No. 24 Panis Barthez and No. 27 IDEC Sport Ligiers P217s. The remaining automobiles are GTEs – the second Group Venture 1 Porsche, and the TF Sport Pink River Sport Aston Martin Vantage.