The pieces in the 24 Hours of Le Mans 2019 puzzle are slowing coming together.
There are room for 60 cars, just like in the 2018 edition.
The first 36 places are already taken up, since the FIA World Endurance Championship 2018/19 teams are sure of their entries.
On top of that, we have the four class winners from this year’s race. That gives Toyota Gazoo Racing (LMP1), Signatech Alpine Matmut (LMP2), Porsche (GTE Pro) and Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche (GTE Am) an extra ticket for the race. They are all FIA WEC participants, anyway.
The European Le Mans Series also gives 4 entries. G-Drive Racing #26 (LMP2), Proton Competition (GTE 1. position), JMW Motorsport (GTE 2. position) and RLR MSport (LMP2 entry, thanks to winning in LMP3).
Michelin Le Mans Cup Champions in the GT3 category, Kessel Racing, will have an entry in the GTE Am category. Kessel Racing is synonymous with AF Corse – i.e. Ferrari.
The WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will hand out two tickets – not for the teams, but for individual gentlemen drivers. Misha Goikhberg has won a place in LMP2, and Ben Keating has got an entry for GTE Am. While Goikhberg hasn’t announced his plans just yet, Keating has already announced that he will team up with Risi Competizione in a Ferrari F488 GTE.
There are still four spots to be decided, that hasn’t yet been handed out. Those are the four entries from the Asian Le Mans Series, which starts in just under four weeks’ time in Shanghai. The LMP2 Championship, first and second position in the GT3 category, plus the LMP3 Championship a spot each. While LMP2 winners go straight to LMP2, the GT teams have an option for both GTE Pro or Am, depending on their ambitions. The LMP3 Championship have a free choice between LMP2 or GTE Am.
As an extra bonus, the best LMP2 gentleman team in the Asian LMS, consisting of only Silver and Bronze rated drivers, will get a ticket for the LMP2 category.
If we add all these numbers, we have 52 of the 60 spots already reserved.
But… – and now there is a big but. They are all invites. We don’t know yet, how many of the team, that actually wants to take up the spots. The teams might not have resources to participate in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. This is only an automatic entry, but the team still has to find three drivers, sponsors, pay for tires, fuels etc etc.
And then we have a big asterisk next to the two CEFC TRSM Racing LMP1 cars, even though they have entered the FIA WEC 2018/19 series. They have only actively run the Le Mans 2018 race, but hasn’t even been present at Silverstone, Fuji and neither will they be in Shanghai in three weeks time.
Our estimation is that at least 10 of the 16 entries will be taken up, but it could very well be even more. Because, Le Mans is Le Mans, and if you have even just the slightest chance of participating, or selling the seats, it would be stupid not to do so.
So it will be a tough battle for the remaining 8-14 spots in the race – and we know that two yellow American Corvette cars really want a couple of spots in the race, in addition to a lot of ELMS teams.