The final gaps in the 2023 Le Mans 24 Hours entry list have been filled, with today’s release of the latest provisional entry list for the centenary race.
There have been a handful of changes in the three main classes, though only in the driver columns. There have been no changes to the list of teams, but the reserve list has been reduced to eight following a withdrawal from IMSA stalwart Risi Competizione.
With all 186 drivers now named, we have a clear picture of the level of quality in the field for this year’s running of the world’s greatest endurance race, set for June 10-11. The list includes no fewer than 16 drivers with F1 experience, two of whom are world champions: Jenson Button and Jacques Villeneuve. It also features 10 previous overall Le Mans winners, 11 WEC world drivers’ championship winners, five GTE Pro champions and 16 other class champions.
There are also title winners from various other global championship including NASCAR, IndyCar, Champ Car, IMSA and WTCC.
In Hypercar, the latest edition of the entry confirms the drivers for Glickenhaus Racing’s second 007 LMH. The No. 709 will be driven by Franck Mailleux, who stood in for Ryan Briscoe at Spa in the No. 708, Nathanael Berthon who will make his eighth Le Mans start and former Sauber and Haas F1 driver Esteban Gutierrez.
LMP2, meanwhile, sees a few new names confirmed.
In Prema Racing’s No. 9 WEC-entered ORECA, Juan Manuel Correa returns after missing Sebring and Spa due to his F2 commitments. It means future Lamborghini LMDh driver Andrea Caldarelli is without a drive in the race.
DKR Engineering brings a newly confirmed all-Belgian trio to the entry, with just one of the team’s ELMS full-season drivers, Tom Van Rompuy, set to drive. He will be joined by BMW factory driver Maxime Martin and Ugo de Wilde in the No. 43 Pro-Am entered ORECA.
The remaining tweaks and additions come in the GTE Am field, for the category’s final appearance at Le Mans.
At the top of the list, Jan Heylen is named alongside Ryan Hardwick and Zacharie Robichon in the No. 16 Proton Competition Porsche. Heylen becomes the team’s third co-driver of the season, after Harry Tincknell in the WEC races pre-Le Mans and Alessio Picariello in the ELMS season opener.
It may come as a surprise to some to see this lineup feature in the ELMS No. 16 rather than the FIA WEC No. 88, but Proton’s efforts will reshuffle after Le Mans with the arrival of its Porsche 963 for the Hypercar category.
With Hardwick and Robichon in the No. 16, the No. 88 that has contested the opening WEC races of the season will be driven by Harry Tincknell, Brendan Iribe and Oliver Millroy. Originally Gianmaria Bruni was listed as the car’s nominated first driver, but a drive for the 2022 GTE Pro Le Mans class winner has not come to fruition for what would have been his 15th start. However, the Italian ace is still expected to form part of Proton’s Porsche 963 effort in IMSA and WEC post-Le Mans, along with Tincknell.
In the third and final car entered by Proton, Martin Rump has been named, as expected, alongside his full-season ELMS teammates Michael Fassbender and Richard Lietz in the No. 911.
Three of the Ferrari teams on the GTE Am list have added new names to the grid.
AF Corse’s No. 21 sees Diego Alessi’s seat taken up by Frenchman Julien Piguet. ELMS outfit JMW Motorsport has named a new set of drivers for its No. 66 488. The British team will race with Thomas Neubauer, Louis Prette and Giacomo Petrobelli. Meanwhile, Asian Le Mans Series GT3 title winner Walkenhorst Motorsport has signed Chandler Hull, Jeff Segal and Andrew Haryanto for its Le Mans debut.
There are no surprises from the Aston Martin teams in the entry, although this entry list confirms the addition of Heart of Racing trio Ian James, Daniel Mancinelli and Alex Riberas in the No. 98 Northwest AMR Vantage. They replace Paul Dalla Lana, Axcil Jefferies and Nicki Thiim, following PDL’s sudden retirement last month.
The absence of Dalla Lana and Thiim breaks two significant streaks. This year would have been Dalla Lana’s 11th start and Thiim’s 10th.