Era Motorsport team owner and driver Kyle Tilley will sit out this weekend’s 24 Hours of Le Mans due to a shoulder injury, paving the way for Frenchman Thomas Laurent to take the wheel of the No. 17 IDEC SPORT / Era Motorsport Oreca.
Laurent joins Dwight Merriman and Ryan Dalziel this week after missing the weekend’s official test day, but he has previous Le Mans experience to lean on. He won his first-ever attempt at Le Mans in 2017 with Jackie Chan DC Racing, then returned in 2018 to finish third with Rebellion Racing. The following two years he earned a fifth and fourth place finish.
The team’s test day was cut short after the car was punted into the barriers by another prototype, which meant a chassis swap that sidelined the entry for the second and final test session. However the car will be ready for Wednesday afternoon’s practice, which is scheduled to be quickly followed by qualifying.
In the first qualifying session, each driver will have an opportunity to qualify the car, and the fastest lap that is set will determine the starting position for the race. In the second qualifying session, the 24 Hours of Le Mans will use the same qualifying procedure that was introduced last year, where after the traditional one-hour qualifying session on Wednesday, the top six cars in each class will qualify again on Thursday for class pole position and the five following grid spots for Saturday’s race start.
After starting the 2021 season off with a class victory at the Rolex 24 at Daytona in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Era Motorsport partnered with IDEC Sport for the 2021 European Le Mans Series season, and in March of the year, together the pair received an invitation to the iconic event. This year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans is the second year that the two teams have partnered together for the event.