30 cars ready for the Prologue

The FIA World Endurance Championship has announced the preliminary entry list for the Prologue ahead of the 2019/20 season.

Circuit de Catalunya hosts the Prologue on 23. and 24 July, where 30 FIA WEC cars will participate in the two-day test.

All 6 remaining LMP1 cars are entered for the test. As we wrote earlier in the day, we no longer have SMP Racing in the championship.

Rebellion Racing hasn’t named any drivers against their cars yet. It is, however, expected that Bruno Senna will be one of the drivers, since the RLR MSport in ELMS made it clear that Senna wouldn’t be able to participate in the Silverstone round in late August due to commitments at Rebellion Racing.

Team LNT has entered Charlie Robertson and Mike Simpson in both their Ginetta cars – which is no big surprise, since both are Ginetta works drivers. No other drivers has been named against those two cars, so there might be surprises at at later state.

Toyota Gazoo Racing continues with 5 of the 6 drivers from the previous season, with the only change of Brendon Hartley replacing Fernando Alonso in #8 alongside Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima. Jose Maria Lopez, Kamui Kobayashi and Mike Conway will be back in #7.

The LMP2 category have all 8 cars ready for the test.

United Autosports #22 has Phil Hanson, Filipe Albuquerque and Paul Di Resta entered in their car.

Racing Team Nederland #29 returns with the same driver line-up like the in previous 12 months in the FIA WEC – Nyck de Vries, Giedo van der Garde, and Frits van Eerd. But they are now running in an ORECA 07 supported by TDS Racing.

GT Pro & GTE Am Spa Francorchamps 2019
Photo: JJ Media

High Class Racing #33 have Mark Patterson in the car for the Prologue. Patterson raced for Algarve Pro Racing earlier in the year, but has signed with High Class Racing for the FIA WEC 2019/20 season. Anders Fjordbach isn’t named against the car for the Prologue, but he will probably jump on his bike and ride to Circuit de Catalunya… The Dane does live in Barcelona after all – and he knows Patterson already, being teammates in the Asian Le Mans Series 2018/19.

Signatech Alpine Elf #36 will only bring two of their three drivers to the test so far – Andre Negrao and Thomas Laurent. But they have already announced Pierre Ragues as the third driver for the season.

Jackie Chan DC Racing #37 will also bring two of three drivers – returnees Ho-Pin Tung and Gabriel Aubry. The final driver isn’t announced just yet.

JOTA #38 will bring the former DragonSpeed lineup – Anthony Davidson, Roberto Gonzalez and Pastor Maldonado.

Cool Racing #42 will bring their ELMS line-up, who will do the FIA WEC season too – Nicolas Lapierre, Antonin Borga and Alexandre Coigny. They will make their debut in FIA WEC, but have showed good pace in the first few ELMS rounds, after advancing from LMP3 to LMP2 ahead of this season.

Cetilar Racing #47 will bring their all-Italian line-up, like we saw at the 24 Hours of Le Mans last month – Roberto Lacorte, Andrea Belicchi and Giorgio Sernagiotto. The three drivers have raced together for the last few seasons in the ELMS, even though Belicchi hasn’t been in the car due to back issues. But now he is back at full force.

5 of the 6 GTE Pro cars will participate in the test.

AF Corse #51 will bring the defending Le Mans champions James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi. In Ferrari #71 we only have Davide Rigon’s named, so that sparks a bit of questions regarding Sam Bird. There are currently 3 clashes between the FIA WEC and Formula E schedules for the 2019/20 season, so Bird might still be in doubt if he will do one or the other – or he might have something else clashing. Lets wait for the official announcement.

Porsche will appear in full force – with the four drivers that secured the Manufacturers title in 2018/19. Gianmaria Bruni and Richard Lietz continues in #91, while World Champions Michael Christensen and Kevin Estre does another year in #92.

Aston Martin will only bring #97, where Alex Lynn, Maxime Martin, Nicki Thiim and Marco Sørensen all will share this one car. The team could do with some test kilometres, to get some more dry-weather pace in the lime green cars, which are fast over one lap, but usually drops towards the back of the GTE Pro field within the first hour of the race – unless it’s rainy conditions, where the team grabbed two wins.

Jackie Chan DC Racing #37 & Rebellion Racing #3
Photo: JJ Media

All 11 GTE Am cars are present, but with a lot of TBAs on the list.

AF Corse #54 continue unchanged with Thomas Flohr, Francesco Castellacci and Giancarlo Fisichella, who were teammates too under the Spirit of Race banner for the last couple of seasons. But it welcomes back Francois Perrodo in #83. The Frenchman won the GTE Am category with the team in 2016, and will be joined once again by Emmanuel Collard, plus Nicklas Nielsen as new addition.

Team Project 1 Porsche #56 and #57 has split the two Am champions from 2018/19 into the two cars – Egidio Perfetti and Patrick Lindsey. But don’t be surprised if Jörg Bergmeister appears at the test too, unless he has other commitments.

Red River Sport Ferrari #62 will bring Bonamy Grimes and Johnny Mowlem to the test. The two haven’t yet announced a third driver, but they need another silver or bronze rated driver in the car, when the season gets going for real. They all have to be at least one bronze plus a bronze or silver driver – and Mowlem is a Gold rated driver.

MR Racing Ferrari #70 will consist of Motoaki Ishikawa, Olivier Beretta and Eddie Cheever III, just like last year.

Dempsey Proton Racing Porsche #77 and #88 have only announced two of the six drivers Matt Campbell in #77 and Matteo Cairoli in #88. But it would quite a surprise if Christian Ried doesn’t appear in #77 once again. He is the only driver in the FIA WEC to do every single race since its introduction in 2012. Satoshi Hoshino was tipped to drive #88, but his achievements during the 24 Hours of Le Mans might have put a slight damper to that, since he isn’t too liked any more by the other teams. But the team haven’t officially announced their full line-ups, so the answer is still blowing in the wind.

Gulf Racing Porsche #86 is back with team owner Mike Wainwright, but has two times TBA against the entry. Ben Barker is expected to be back in the car, while Thomas Preining has been upgraded to Gold driver, and therefore wouldn’t fit with the other two drivers any more in Am.

TF Sport Aston Martin #90 will follow up on the FIA WEC rookie season with Salih Yoluc and Charlie Eastwood back in the car. The pair will try to better the third position from the 2018/19 season, where they finished second on the podium in four out of eight races. But who will be their third driver? That’s not yet announced.

Aston Martin Racing #98 is the final entrant on the list, with Paul Dalla Lana behind the wheel. The Canadian has finally been allowed to run with the new Vantage, that was introduced in GTE Pro for 2018/19, but has to be one season old before it’s allowed to race in GTE Am. We have two TBAs next to him, but it would be a big surprise if Pedro Lamy and Mathias Lauda aren’t back in the car.

While the Prologue happens in two weeks’ time, the first race won’t be run in 1 September at Silverstone in Great Britain. The teams has to declare their full driver line-ups at least one month prior to the race weekend, or they will be facing a fine.

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