European Le Mans Series expects 37 cars at the 2020 season opener next week at Paul Ricard.
The start of the season was pushed back three and a half months, after the COVID-19 situation made it impossible to have the originally planned start in April.
The number of participants is a bit lower, compared to the one released back in March, but that is only natural, since some teams and driver no longer have the economical background to race this year.
15 cars will run in the LMP2 category. Algarve Pro Racing and United Autosports are the only teams with two cars entered. DragonSpeed, IDEC Sport, Duqueine Engineering, Panis Racing, Inter Europol Competition, BHK Motorsport, Cool Racing, Graff, Richard Mille Racing Team, G-Drive Racing and High Class Racing will all run one car each.
That will be 14 times ORECA 07 (The Aurus 01 is an ORECA with Aurus badge), and a single Ligier JS P217. There should have been a Dallara in the field too, but Thunderhead Carlin Racing won’t run at the opening round. Ultimate has also pulled out of the LMP2 category, and Inter Europol Competition has gone from a two to a single car entry.
The LMP3 category will have 12 cars entered. United Autosports will also run two cars here, just as Nielsen Racing and Graff will bring two each. DKR Engineering, Realteam Racing, Eurointernational, Inter Europol Competition, BHK Motorsport and RLR MSport will bring a single car each.
The category will have four of the brand new Duqueine Engineering M30 – D08, which is the new and updated version of the Norma car from previous years. The rest will run Ligier JS P320 cars.
There are 10 cars entered in the GTE category for the opening round. That is an expansion of one car compared to the original list from March. That entry has come from Aston Martin Racing, with their announcement earlier today. Otherwise it’s 7 times Ferrari and double Porsche. The Proton team will run the two German cars, with one of them being run under the Proton Competition name, while the other will be Dempsey-Proton Racing.
The Ferrari entries will be run by AF Corse, Spirit Of Race and JMW Motorsport as single car entries, but the Spirit Of Race will be run by AF Corse. Kessel Racing and Iron Lynx will run two cars each. That combo was the same outfit last year, but they have been split into two this year.
Michelle Gatting will once again pair up with Rahel Frey and Manuela Gostner in the Iron Lynx Ferrari #83. They managed two podium finishes in the 2019 season, and still have a possibility of winning the title right until the final race of the year, where they were innocently involved in a big lap one crash at Portimao.
There will be another all-female car in the LMP2 category with Tatiana Calderon and Katherine Legge running in the Richard Mille Racing Team car. Sophia Flörsch was originally slated to join them, but has been hit by date clashes with her Formula 3 programme. So she won’t be present at Paul Ricard since she is at the Hungaroring, nor at Spa Francorchamps, which clashes with the F3 round at Silverstone.
We are crossing our fingers, that all cars will be present, when the race will run next week. There are some of the cars with some non-European drivers, which potentially could be hit by some travel restrictions, to get into France.
The 4 hours of Le Castellet will be run on 19 July from 11.00 CET, with the race being broadcast on the series YouTube channel again.