The FIA WEC has released the full entry for the 2018 Prologue at Circuit Paul Ricard next month. The list features 35 of the 36 full-season cars, 13 of which will take on the full 30-hour endurance test on offer.
At present only the second Rebellion R13 LMP1 is set to miss the test, the Swiss-flagged team understandably only entering a single car, as the first car is set to be delivered to the team in the days immediately prior to the event.
The R13 entered will however, take on the full 30 hours, with all six confirmed drivers – Andre Lotterer, Neel Jani, Bruno Senna, Mathias Beche, Gustavo Menezes and Thomas Laurent – set to take part.
Elsewhere in the LMP1 division, ByKolles’ CLM (with only Oliver Webb listed), both SMP Racing BR1 AERs (with no confirmed drivers) and the No. 7 Toyota TS050 HYBRID will also test for 30 hours.
With Fernando Alonso, Kazuki Nakajima and Kamui Kobayashi all unable to take part due to clashes, the Toyota Gazoo Racing driver crew for the weekend will be bolstered by the team’s newly appointed reserve drvier Anthony Davidson and official test driver Alex Wurz, who is returning to the driver’s seat as a one-off.
This year’s Prologue also marks the first time that BMW’s new M8 GTE will appear as a WEC entrant, and serves as the public track debut for the all-new Aston Martin Vantage AMR and the EVO version of the Ferrari 488 GTE.
In LMP2, all seven teams are present, with none of them set to run through the night. Only three teams have confirmed their tire choice for the test: TDS and Signatech Alpine opting for Dunlop rubber, and Larbre Competition choosing Michelin.
It’s expected that at least one other team will run with Michelin; DragonSpeed told RACER of its switch earlier this year, and Racing Team Nederland has been out testing both options recently.
In terms of driver crews, the big surprise comes from the Jackie Chan DC Racing camp, as just one of its six drivers from 2017 (Ho Pin Tung) is listed. Tung will be joined by Asian Le Mans Series LMP3 race winner Gabriel Aubry in the No. 38 at Paul Ricard.
The sister No. 37 car sees an all Malaysian line-up that competed in the most recent Asian Le Mans Series campaign: Jazeman Jaafar and Weiron Tan (who drove for JCDC) and Nabil Jeffri, who impressed greatly in a one off run for Eurasia at Sepang.
GTE Pro’s 10-car entry features a full BMW MTEK squad, with seven drivers listed and one M8 GTE set for the 30-hours.
Both Porsche’s 911 RSRs and one of Aston Martin’s Vantages will also run through the night.
In GTE Am, four of the nine teams have confirmed that they will participate in the night test: Spirit of Race, Clearwater Racing and new outfits Team Project 1 (which has Porsche factory driver Jorg Bermeister listed) and MR Racing.
“We are very happy to be returning to Circuit Paul Ricard for the Prologue, our traditional preseason collective test, which comes just a week before the first round of the European Le Mans Series, also at Le Castellet,” said WEC CEO Gerard Neveu.
“We look forward to welcoming our fans on Saturday as they experience the warm and friendly ambiance of the WEC paddock, which is open to all, with a pit walk allowing them to see these amazing cars both on and off track.”
The 2018 FIA WEC Prologue test will run April 6-7.