This year’s Le Mans 24 Hours will have a huge American contingent with 12 of the 60 cars accepted for this year’s race showcasing the stars and stripes.
The Automobile Club de l’Ouest revealed the 60 cars today that will start the 84th running of the event that will kick off on June 18.
The return to Ford as an official factory squad in the GTE-Pro was confirmed all four entries – the two IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship cars plus the two FIA World Endurance Championship entries – selected to take part in the event.
“It was great to see all four Ford GTs up there on the Le Mans entry list today,” said Dave Pericak, Ford Performance global director.
“Newcomers are by no means guaranteed an entry, whatever their history or ambitions, so we thank the ACO for giving Ford the opportunity for a four car assault in June.”
Half of the field in the GTE-Pro class will wear the American flag. The seven US entries also include defending champions Corvette Racing (pictured right) who will return with their traditional two entries and Risi Competizione who is returning to Le Mans for the first time since 2010.
The US is also represented in GTE-Am with Scuderia Corsa’s Ferrari.
The LM P2 class is where the rest of the American action will reside. Rolex 24 at Daytona winners Patrón ESM Racing are back with a two car entry again while Krohn Racing will do battle at Le Mans – this time with their entry prepared by former Le Mans LM P2 winners and last year’s European Le Mans Series champions, Greaves Motorsport.
Making their debut at the race will be Michael Shank Racing who will be the sole Honda engine running in the class which is dominated by Nissan (19 entries).
The big surprise at this press conference concerned the announcement of the number of cars taking part in this year’s race. As announced last June, 58 cars were supposed to be on the grid, but faced with the growing number of high-quality entry requests, the Selection Committee decided to allow 60 cars to start.
The third round of the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship wil have 60 cars on the grid divided up into four categories: 9 LM P1s (Le Mans prototype 1), 22 LM P2s (Le Mans Prototype 2), 14 LM GTE Pros and 14 LM GTE Ams. The 56th garage has been allocated to SRT 41 by OAK Racing, whose technologies devoted to helping disabled people will be highlighted on a Morgan-Nissan LM P2 racing outside the classification.
The overall LM P1 battle will have both Porsche and Audi reverting to a two-car entry each while Toyota’s new car and new colours will be out to do battle against the dominant German brands – the Japanese hopeful of returning to the form which earned them the 2014 FIA World Endurance Championship.
The reserve list for this year’s race comprises 10 cars, six LM P2s and 4 LM GTE Ams. They will be allowed into the race in the order of the list in the case of withdrawals.
During the press conference Alexander Werz (pictured right) was named Grand Marshal for the 84th Le Mans 24 Hours following in the footsteps of Tom Kristensen, Allan McNish and Henri Pescarolo.
“Given the ever-increasing number of high-quality entry requests we received, the selection committee decided to allow sixty cars to start the Le Mans 24 Hours on 18th June,” Pierre Fillon, President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest said.
“The top-quality field in the 84th Le Mans 24 Hours proves yet again the pulling power of our event and the confidence the major car manufacturers have in us.
“In addition, entries from teams of seventeen different nationalities from the four corners of the globe show the interest in endurance and the indisputable international dimension of this legendary race. The 2016 Le Mans 24-Hours promise us a magnificent spectacle on the track and a festive week to be enjoyed to the full!”