Winning Audi podium at Le Mans - Anne Proffit photoEnlarge Photo
The invitations are out for the 80th running of the Le Mans 24-Hour race, with interesting groupings in all categories. There are 56 entries for the race with several reserve teams noted in case the primary entrants fail to make the bell, something that continually occurs at Le Mans.
As noted earlier today, Audi Sport Team Joest is entering three LM P1 cars with a fourth from Audi Sport North America. All use the R18 chassis but the No. 1 car, nominated with Andre Lotterer and the No. 2 with Allan McNish are hybrid entries. Toyota Racing has two of its TS030 Hybrids entered in LM P1, while Rebellion Racing brings a pair of Lola B12/60 coupes to The Sarthe with Toyota 3.4-liter petrol power.
OAK Racing has entered an OAK Pescarolo with Judd Power, while the Pescarolo Team has one Pescarolo 03-Judd and a (Japanese built) Dome-Judd for the summer classic. Americans Dyson Racing will compete with a pair of Lola B12/60 coupes using Mazda power and both Strakka Racing and JRM are competing with HPD ARX-03a Honda petrol-powered open cars.
In the LM P2 category, Signatech Nissan has two Oreca 03/Nissans; OAK Racing's two Morgan/Judds received invitations; ADR-Delta has an Oreca 03/Nissan, while Gulf Racing MIddle East competes with two Lola B12/80 Nissan coupes. Lotus has a single B12/80 Lola coupe with Lotus power; Americans Level 5 Motorsports have an HPD ARX-03b Honda, Jota has a Zytek Z11SN/Nissan and Race Performance has an Oreca 03/Judd.
Greaves Motorsport entered a pair of Zytek Z11SN/Nissan entries; Extreme Limite Aric has a Norma MP 2000/Judd, US-based Starworks Motorsport brings an HPD ARX-03b/Honda, Boutsen Ginion RAcing, Thieriet by TDS Racing and Pecom Racing all received entries for their Oreca 03/Nissan race cars.
There are five reserve entries in the LMP division: four are LM P2 racers with a single LM P1 reserve car for Hope Racing, which ran last year with an Oreca Swiss HyTech 01/Hybrid and hopes to do so again this year.
LM GTE Pro is populated by Ferraris, Chevrolet Corvettes, Porsches and a single Aston Martin Vantage V8, while the LM GTE Am division includes Corvettes, Porsches, Ferraris, and another Aston Martin Vantage. There are four reserve cars: three in LM GTE Pro and a single LM GTE Am reserve car. Interestingly, one of the reserves is a Lotus Evora GTE, which made the field last year.
The final, and 56th invitation goes to Highcroft Racing for its DeltaWing with Marino Franchitti named as the first entered driver for that non-points-paying entry.
The lineup of entrants will change between now and race day - as it always has. Some are able to make the race while others have to remain at home and wait for the 81st Le Mans classic.
There are two American teams in LM P1 (Dyson Racing, winners of the American Le Mans Series category in 2011) and two in LM P2 (Level 5 and Starworks). The LM GTE Pro categories has two Corvette Racing entries and a single Flying Lizard as ALMS representatives, while Krohn Racing and Flying Lizard Motorsport are the two LM GTE Am entrants.