Last Thursday the ACO released the official entry list for the 2009 edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and it confirmed some pre-announced deals, verified some rumours and offered some complete surprises – as it does every year!
I’m writing this quite late so I’m going to just do short notes.
1 / Audi Sport Team Joest / Audi R15
3 / Audi Sport Team Joest / Audi R15
2 / Audi Sport North America / Audi R15
Audi are returning with a new car, which will be raced first at Sebring but will probably not contest the full 2009 season.
14 / TME Kolles / Audi R10
15 / TME Kolles / Audi R10
I’m not sure if this is backup plan from Audi, but they’ve sold or loaned to R10s to Colin Kolles. They’ll still need to be adapted to the narrower rear wing regulations.
7 / Team Peugeot Total / Peugeot 908
8 / Team Peugeot Total / Peugeot 908
9 / Peugeot Sport Total / Peugeot 908
Peugeot also return with three cars. An updated car and revised driver line-up should mean they are quietly confident ahead of this year’s race – but they said that last year.
17 / Pescarolo Sport / Peugeot 908
16 / Pescarolo Sport / Pescarolo Judd
Count this is as a surprise. A customer Peugeot for Pescarolo. Surely this is in response to Kolles? It seems to be a 2008 car modified to new rules from what I’ve read, and not the ’09 cars of the factory team.
007 / Aston Martin Racing / Lola Aston Martin
009 / Aston Martin Racing / Lola Aston Martin
008 / AMR Eastern Europe / Lola Aston Martin
Three entries also from Aston Martin, who are in a naming dispute with Lola at the moment. First year with these cars so a win surely isn’t on the cards, but they’ll be looking to show good speed. AMR Eastern Europe is Charouz, in fact they all might be, but this is the only one under the Czech flag.
13 / Speedy Racing Team Sebah / Lola Aston Martin
This entry seems to be being run more at ‘arms length’ from the factory/Prodrive.
10 / Team ORECA Matmut AIM / Courage-ORECA AIM
11 / Team ORECA Matmut AIM / Courage-ORECA AIM
Can’t say I know much about this so I’m assuming it’s a continuation from last year.
6 / Team LNT / Ginetta Zytek
23 / Strakka Racing / Ginetta Zytek
Zytek and Ginetta merged toward the end of last year and LNT have stepped up from running a GT2 Panoz (and they entered Petit with this car). Quick chassis, promising for the privateer sub-class.
12 / Signature Plus / Courage Judd
The Formula 3 team makes the switch to endurance racing. ‘Tis all I know.
20 / Epsilon Euskadi / Epsilon Euskadi Judd
I’m surprised this only got one entry.
4 Creation Autosportif Creation Judd
Yay, Creation are back. I like them.
5 / Navi Team Goh / Porsche RS Spyder
31 / Team Essex / Porsche RS Spyder
49 / Vitaphone Racing Team / Porsche RS Spyder
Team Goh won overall with the Audi R8 a few years back, they’ve been absent for a while. Team Essex weren’t going to enter and changed their minds. Vitaphone are a surprise announcement, they run Saleens in FIA GT and did enter Le Mans last year with an Aston GT1 but a prototype wasn’t expected at all.
25 / RML / Lola Mazda Coupe
44 / KSM / Lola Mazda Coupe
RML are always strong. No idea who KSM are. This Lola is fast, I think it’s basically the P2 version of what Aston Martin are running.
30 / Racing Box / Lola Judd Coupe
33 / Speedy Racing Team Sebah / Lola Judd Coupe
More Lola coupes for these guys but a choice of Judd engines instead. It’ll be an interesting battle between the four Lolas!
24 / Oak Racing / Pescarolo Mazda
35 / Oak Racing / Pescarolo Mazda
Pescarolo with a Mazda engine? Fair enough.. I’m sure I read who Oak Racing are, it’s a name change of a team I know about but I can’t remember who at the moment.
40 / Quifel-ASM Team / Ginetta Zytek 09S
The P2 version of the P1 car above. ASM had a Lola last year.
41 / Gac Racing Team / Zytek 07S
No idea. Seems like they have the previous version of the car ASM will run.
26 / Bruichladdich Bruneau / Radical AER
I like this team too and the Radical is pretty quick.
63 / Corvette Racing / Corvette C6.R
64 / Corvette Racing / Corvette C6.R
With no works Astons, guess who’ll win this class? This is the last appearance of works GT1 Corvettes though, so enjoy it.
72 / Luc Alphand Aventures / Corvette C6.R
73 / Luc Alphand Aventures / Corvette C6.R
Back-up for a fight that never came. They weren’t going to enter after a fight with the ACO over the promotion of the LMS, but changed their minds last minute. Not to mention wanting to prove how pacesetters in European GT racing fair at LM.
60 / Gigawave Motorsport Ltd / Aston Martin DBR9
66 / Jetalliance Racing / Aston Martin DBR9
Two quick Astons may just push Corvette hard enough.
55 / IPB Spartak Racing / Lamborghini Murcielago
68 / JLOC Isao Noritake / Lamborghini Murcielago
Is it unkind to say these are field-fillers?
This is probably the last year of GT1 in this spec. I know Ratel’s FIA World GT coming next year will run to different rules.
76 / IMSA Performance Matmut / Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (997)
77 / Team Felbermayer-Proton / Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (997)
80 / Flying Lizard Motorsport / Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (997)
Just three Porsches this year in GT2. I’m amazed, they used to dominate! Shame the Lizards didn’t get a second entry.
78 / AF Corse Srl / Ferrari F430 GT
82 / Risi Competizione / Ferrari F430 GT
83 / Risi Competizione / Ferrari F430 GT
84 / Team Modena / Ferrari F430 GT
89 / Hankook – Team Farnbacher / Ferrari F430 GT
92 / JMW Motorsport / Ferrari F430 GT
96 / Virgo Motorsport / Ferrari F430 GT
97 / BMS Scuderia Italia / Ferrari F430 GT
99 / JMB Racing / Ferrari F430 GT
Nine Ferraris!! I think that shows this is the faster car, as everyone gravitates toward it.
87 / Drayson Racing / Aston Martin V8
85 / Snoras Spyker Squadron / Spyker C8 Laviolette
Good to see that Drayson got an entry. You have to say they are aiming to score a finish, but that’s what Le Mans is about. Nice to see Spyker still plugging away but only one car this time.
You’ll note I’m not tipping winners in any class (except GT1!). Frankly with this field it’s much too difficult to go picking winners this early, and with no Test Day it’s even harder.
There are ten reserves this year as opposed to 8 in previous years. As always they’ll enter the race in this order should any of the above withdraw, regardless of class. So if a P1 drops out the first reserve, a GT2 this year, will take that spot.
R1 / GT2 / Team Seattle Advanced Eng / Ferrari F430 GT
R2 / GT2 / Endurance China Team / Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (997)
R3 / GT2 / IMSA Performance Matmut / Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (997)
R4 / LMP2 / Barazi Epsilon / Zytek 07S
R5 / LMP2 / Gerard Welter / Zytek
R6 / LMP1 / Epsilon Euskadi / Epsilon Euskadi Judd
R7 / GT2 / Team Felbermayer-Proton / Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (997)
R8 / GT2 / Snoras Spyker Squadron / Spyker C8 Laviolette
R9 / GT1 / Team Larbre Competition / Saleen S7R
R10 / LMP2 / Racing Box SRL /Lola Judd Coupe
That answers where Epsilon Euskadi and Spyker’s second cars are, as well as several Porsches. How did Barazi and Larbre not get entries??? That’s nuts.
I don’t think we’ve seen Welter on the list for a while..
Okay I think I’m done. Unfortunately I don’t have time to scout for more information, sorry, but I hope this was enough to work as a little primer.
No doubt the boys at RadioLeMans.com will discuss this in great detail (along with more USF1 news and lots else) in tomorrow’s Midweek Motorsport which you can hear live at 8pm GMT / 3pm EST. I think it’s repeated at 8pm EST. If that’s not helpful, the podcast will follow on a day or so later. You need to count MWM as a ‘Must Listen’ even if sportscars isn’t your thing, ‘cos they cover all sorts of stuff.
(I also recommend FastMachines.com for a quick weekly hit and Sidepodcast.com for specialist F1 talk)
And of course there’s always the official website of the race.