Over the past 24 hours, two WEC entry lists have been released by the ACO and FIA, the first being a provisional 35-car FIA WEC list for the second round of the ‘Super Season’ at Spa in May, the second a revised Le Mans entry list.
The Le Mans list features one key omission — the Swiss-flagged No. 55 Spirit of Race Ferrari 488 GTE being withdrawn from the GTE Am class. Last year the car was driven in the ELMS by Aaron Scott, Duncan Cameron and Matt Griffin, Cameron and came close to winning the title.
With the Ferrari taken off the list, Duqueine Engineering’s ORECA 07 Gibson — which was first reserve — has been given the green light to compete, bringing the LMP2 class total to 18 cars.
The grid now breaks down as follows:
18 LMP2s (instead of 17)
17 LMGTE Pros
17 LMGTE Ams (instead of 18)
Click here for the full entry list.
Yann Belhomme, the French outfit’s team manager was delighted with the news, which has also seen the team’s three drivers nominated. Nicolas Jamin, Pierre Ragues and Romain Dumas will drive its ORECA 07 as an all-French crew.
“Participating in the 24 Hours of Le Mans is my dream since I started my professional career 20 years ago,” Belhomme said. “I could not hope better with Pierre, Nicolas and Romain who joined us. I am very happy, he is a person that I appreciate a lot and he will bring all his experience to the team.”
As a result of this change, Danish team High Class Racing is now the first reserve on the list with its new ORECA 07, and United Autosports’ second Ligier is second.
The reserve list is now just eight cars, down from 10, as the Meyer Shank Racing all-female LMP2 crew has also been withdrawn.
Meanwhile, the provisional entry list for the 2019 FIA WEC 6 Hours of Spa Francorchamps has also been revealed, with 35 cars are on the list for the second trip to Belgium of the 2018/19 ‘Super Season’. While there are very few changes from the field that raced at Sebring last weekend, there are a few notable additions and subtractions.
In LMP1, ByKolles Racing returns to the fray, bringing LMP1’s total to eight cars. As expected, its ENSO CLM P1/01 will run with Gibson power after its split with NISMO before the turn of the year. Tom Dillman is the only driver yet confirmed for the Austrian team.
At DragonSpeed, James Allen is down to drive its BR1 LMP1 once again, in place of Wayne Taylor Racing full-season man Renger van der Zande, alongside team regulars Ben Hanley and Henrik Hedman.
And at Rebellion Racing, Mathias Beche is replaced by the returning former WEC and Le Mans champion Andre Lotterer, who missed the race at Sebring due to a clash with a Formula E simulator test.
LMP2, meanwhile, is the only class with an additional entry. Russian team G-Drive Racing returns for the Le Mans dress rehearsal with its ELMS 2019 trio. Roman Rusinov and ex-F1 driver Jean-Eric Vergne, who were part of the team’s class win in the WEC earlier in the season, will race with reigning ELMS LMP3 champion Job van Uitert, who will make his WEC debut at the event.
At TDS Racing, former Audi LMP1 driver Loic Duval will be replaced by another Frenchman, Norman Nato, who impressed mightily with Racing Engineering last year in the ELMS, winning on his debut in the series with the Spanish team. Nato stepping in is due to be a one-off, as Duval is scheduled to return to TDS for the Le Mans 24 Hours in June, featuring on the aforementioned revised list.
As usual, the third seat in Larbre’s Ligier alongside Erwin Creed and Romano Ricci is open. At Sebring, American Gunnar Jeanette filled the third driver role.
In the GTE classes, there are no surprises, the only change being Corvette Racing’s C7.R — which raced as a guest entrant at Shanghai and Sebring – not featuring on the GTE Pro entry this time. The team will return to the WEC, as usual, for the Le Mans 24 Hours in June with a two-car GTE Pro entry.