More IMSA entries in final 60-car Le Mans 24 Hours field

Image by JEP/LAT

More IMSA entries in final 60-car Le Mans 24 Hours field

Le Mans/WEC

More IMSA entries in final 60-car Le Mans 24 Hours field

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The 60-car field is now set for the 2019 running of the Le Mans 24 Hours, with the ACO having today announced the final 14 entries of its two-phased announcement.

Among the entries revealed today, seven are from the IMSA paddock. Ford, Corvette and Porsche all received two factory GTE Pro cars apiece, meaning Ford and Porsche will run with four cars each once again. Private team Risi Competizione, which has yet to confirm 2019 plans racing in IMSA beyond its Daytona entry, was also granted an entry. BMW is understood to have not applied for its RLL-run M8 GTEs cars to race in France.

Full entry list

Most of the remaining seven are European Le Mans Series full-season teams. Five of them are from the LMP2 ranks.

Cetilar Racing Villorba Corse, which will enter the FIA WEC later this year with a Dallara, made it in for a second consecutive time, as did French teams Panis Barthez, GRAFF and IDEC Sport, a single car apiece accepted from the two that are understood to have been entered by each. Algarve Pro Racing, which runs in the ELMS full time and narrowly missed out on an Asian Le Mans title, also got an entry with American 2017 ELMS LMP3 champion John Falb listed behind the wheel of its ORECA 07.

“I am over the moon, so excited we got an entry to the 24 hours of Le Mans. It is a dream come true and I could not be more happy for the team,” Falb told RACER. “Algarve Pro have been working tirelessly year-round to lock in an entry and just barely came up short in Asia LMS.

“After five podiums in the Road to Le Mans race, an entry in the 24 is magical. What really surprised me is that they cut the number of LMP entries unexpectedly by 20%, which caught everyone off guard and makes it that much more special.”

The final two entries are from GTE, and will race in GTE Am. Swiss team Kessel Racing, which won the Le Mans Cup GT class last year will have a second car in with an all-female line-up of Manuela Gostner, Rahel Frey, Michelle Gatting, meaning both the team’s 2019 ELMS cars are in for the race.

Spirit of Race’s Duncan Cameron-led Ferrari 488 GTE, a full-season regular in ELMS competition, was also granted an invite to the race after missing out last year. Longtime teammate to Cameron, Aaron Scott, is listed in the car.

This means that 18 cars have been added to the list in the past week, after four more entries were decided last weekend after the Asian Le Mans Series finale at Malaysia’s Sepang circuit. For winning their respective class titles, Anglo-American LMP outfit United Autosports, Japanese GT team Car Guy, Polish LMP3 team Inter Europol and Slovakian LMP2 outfit ARC Bratislava all claimed an automatic invite to the race.

Car Guy Ferrari 488 GT3. Image by ALMS.

Car Guy winning GT and taking its LM entry is particularly notable. The team told RACER that it is planning a multi-year GT program in Asian Le Mans, and also some guest entries in the FIA WEC going forward in addition to its first start at Le Mans this year. At the 24 Hours in June the team will race a 488 GTE (likely run by AF Corse), after campaigning a 488 GT3 in Asia.

10 reserve entries were also revealed as part of the announcement, topped by Duquiene Engineering, which gets first refusal to step in should there be any late dropouts. Duquiene, which runs Norma’s LMP3 operation, is a surprising omission from the final list. Danish team High Class Racing is second, ahead of United Autosports’ second Ligier.

It’s a huge surprise to see United’s second car not make the cut. The team, which fielded 11 cars across three ACO championships last year expressed its disappointment on Twitter: “We’re truly disappointed to only have one entry at this year’s LM24, having won one in Asian Le Mans. Given the huge support we give all ACO championships — ELMS (x4 cars), Le Mans Cup (x3), Asian LMS (x4) and now FIA WEC (x1) — a second entry on merit seemed like a fair reward for our commitment.”

Also featuring on the reserve list are Eurasia (Ligier), Panis Barthez (second Ligier), IDEC Sport (Ligier), Ebimotors (Porsche), Project 1 (second Porsche 911 RSR), Meyer Shank Racing (ORECA 07) and TF Sport/Red River Sport (Aston Martin Vantage AMR).

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