There’s been a significant shakeup in the entry list for this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, with race organizers, the Automobile Club de l’Ouest confirming Monday the withdrawal of five cars for the twice-around-the-clock French endurance classic.
Both Millennium Racing Oreca 03 Nissans, as well as two Aston Martin Racing entries and an additional Aston Martin Vantage V8 from Craft Racing will not take part in the race on June 14-15 (Live! FOX Sports 1/2)
As a result, the remaining five entries on the reserve list have been given confirmed positions on the grid.
The No. 50 Larbre Competition Morgan-Judd, No. 76 IMSA Performance Matmut Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, No. 79 ProSpeed Competition Porsche, as well as the Caterham-badged No. 42 Greaves Motorsport Zytek Z11SN Nissan and the No. 29 Pegasus Racing Morgan-Nissan are now all in the race.
No additional reserve entries are left on the list, meaning any additional withdrawals would result in a starting grid of less than 56 cars.
Aston Martin Racing’s initial six-car entry has been trimmed down to its four FIA World Endurance Championship season-long entries only, with the No. 89 GTE-Pro and No. 96 GTE-Am entries having been withdrawn.
“We were, earlier this year, given six places on the grid by the ACO,” confirmed AMR team principal John Gaw. “However, after careful consideration, we decided that we want to focus our concentration on coming away with the best possible results for our four works cars.”
Craft Racing’s No. 87 Vantage, meanwhile, will also not take part, with the entry having been awarded to the team for its runner-up finish in the Asian Le Mans Series last year.
The biggest implication, however, comes with the two Millennium entries in LMP2, which were previously forced out of the opening two FIA WEC rounds due to funding delivery issues.
With the UAE-backed effort, run by Britain’s Delta Motorsport, now not participating in the double-points scoring Le Mans round, there are now serious questions over the program’s future.
Up front, the field of LMP1 cars and highly anticipated battle between Porsche, Audi and Toyota remain unchanged.
Audi seeks its 13th victory in the French endurance classic, while Porsche, returning to Le Mans with a works prototype program for the first time since 1998, will be looking for a record-extending 17th overall crown in the race.
Toyota, on the other hand, would become only the second Japanese manufacturer to win the race outright if one of its entries takes the checkered flag in June.24 Hours of Le Mans, Sports Cars