Le Mans 24h Race

24 Hours of Le Mans entry list updated on race website

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The entry list for the 90th anniversary 24 Hours of Le Mans was first revealed in February, with a 56-car grid split between four classes: LMP1, LMP2, GTE Pro and GTE Am. On Tuesday, the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) put out the latest update, with the driver lineups for each car all but set. It can be viewed here.

A total of eight LMP1 cars, 22 LMP2, 12 GTE Pro and 13 GTE Am, plus the experimental Green GT LMP H2 hydrogen-powered as the “Garage 56” entrant, make up the field.

Twenty-nine of the 56 are registered as full-season entrants in the FIA World Endurance Championship, although Le Mans always features a “bumper crop” of entries.

Audi has won the last two years with Andre Lotterer, Benoit Treluyer and Marcel Fassler in versions of its R18, first the R18 TDI in 2011 and the R18 e-tron quattro hybrid a year ago.

There are 17 ex-Formula One drivers on the entry list. They include:

  • LMP1: Allan McNish, Marc Gene, Lucas di Grassi (Audi), Alexander Wurz, Kazuki Nakajima, Anthony Davidson, Sebastien Buemi, Stephane Sarrazin (Toyota), Nick Heidfeld (Rebellion Lola Toyota)
  • LMP2: Shinji Nakano (Delta-ADR Oreca Nissan)
  • GTE Pro: Gianmaria Bruni, Giancarlo Fisichella, Kamui Kobayashi, Olivier Beretta (AF Corse Ferrari), Jan Magnussen (Corvette), Pedro Lamy, Bruno Senna (Aston Martin)

There are also nearly 20 American drivers in the field. They include:

  • LMP2: Kevin Weeda (Lotus), Scott Tucker (Level 5 HPD), Alexander Rossi, Eric Lux (Greaves Zytek Nissan), Matt Downs, Rodin Younessi (Boutsen Ginion Oreca Nissan), Mark Patterson (Murphy Oreca Nissan)
  • GTE Pro: Jordan Taylor (Corvette), Tommy Milner (Corvette), Tommy Kendall, Jonathan Bomarito (SRT Viper), Bill Auberlen (Aston Martin)
  • GTE Am: Ricky Taylor, Cooper MacNeil (Larbre Corvette), Howard Blank (AF Corse Ferrari), Tracy Krohn (Krohn Ferrari), Patrick Dempsey, Joe Foster, Michael Avenatti (Dempsey Proton Porsche)

A handful of other names to note include Tucker’s teammates at Level 5 HPD, Marino Franchitti and Ryan Briscoe, Mike Conway (G-Drive) in his Le Mans debut and Christophe Bouchut (Lotus) in his 20th Le Mans start.

IndyCar 2015 Driver Review: Marco Andretti

Marco Andretti
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MotorSportsTalk continues its run through the Verizon IndyCar Series field in 2015 with Marco Andretti, who finished ninth after another top-10 season in points.

Marco Andretti, No. 27 Andretti Autosport Honda

  • 2014: 9th Place, Best Finish 2nd, Best Start 5th, 2 Podiums, 2 Top-5, 9 Top-10, 23 Laps Led, 12.4 Avg. Start, 12.2 Avg. Finish
  • 2015: 9th Place, Best Finish 2nd, Best Start 3rd, 2 Podiums, 4 Top-5, 11 Top-10, 60 Laps Led, 11.5 Avg. Start, 9.1 Avg. Finish

It was a dependable, quiet but usually consistent season from Marco Andretti, who up until the final quarter of the season had actually been his father’s most reliable finisher.

Andretti didn’t necessarily have a ton of standout drives but he was usually there or thereabouts, and by the end of the day he was often at the low ends of the top-10, which earlier this year given the at-times troublesome Honda aero kit package on road and street courses was more of an accomplishment than you’d think. Three top-10 results in the first four races was proof positive of that.

As ever Andretti excelled most on the big ovals. Sixth at the Indianapolis 500 was as good as was possible given the lack of top-end speed; similarly, he probably could have emerged at the head of the field at Fontana, ending third when all was said and done.

His best result was second in the rain at Detroit race one, although coming second to teammate Carlos Munoz had to sting a little bit. Andretti had driven well that race, and was unfortunate not to be rewarded with his first win in four years.

The thing that would have been his standout stat of the year, finishing every lap, game unglued with an odd accident on home soil in Pocono. It was a shame to see because Andretti was typically good, if not great, for yet another season.

IndyCar 2015 Driver Review: Tony Kanaan

Tony Kanaan
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MotorSportsTalk continues its run through the driver-by-driver lineup in the Verizon IndyCar Series, after the 2015 season, with eighth-placed Tony Kanaan.

Tony Kanaan, No. 10 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet

  • 2014: 7th Place, 1 Win, Best Start 2nd, 6 Podiums, 6 Top-5, 12 Top-10, 407 Laps Led, 9.2 Avg. Start, 9.3 Avg. Finish
  • 2015: 8th Place, Best Finish 2nd, Best Start 2nd, 3 Podiums, 6 Top-5, 10 Top-10, 213 Laps Led, 7.6 Avg Start, 9.9 Avg. Finish

You have to give TK credit. Armed with one of the best cars on the grid, Kanaan has certainly raised his game the last two years, and probably hasn’t received enough credit or enough results for some of his drives he’s put in since joining Chip Ganassi Racing after the 2013 season.

The 2015 season was no exception. All 10 of his top-10 finishes were between second and seventh, so there were plenty of times he was in win and podium contention. The other area where he improved was his qualifying. Kanaan only had two starts outside the top-12 all season, one of which occurred at Detroit race two, where the grid was set by points following a rain cancellation. Detroit was pretty much the only weekend where Kanaan didn’t figure into qualifying or the race. Blame the Taylor Swift-inspired Big Machine Records livery for that one if you want.

Accidents at the Indianapolis 500 and Pocono were costly retirements as Kanaan definitely had a shot to win both those races. But realistically you couldn’t find many other faults. Losing a sure win at Iowa due to a mechanical issue was a gutting blow. He was also unlucky to come up just shy at Fontana, and may have prevailed in a last-lap shootout.

More often that not however, Kanaan was firmly on top of his game, and reliably on par with his championship-winning teammate Scott Dixon, which was all you could ask for. It’s fitting the two of them opened the year as part of the winning lineup in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, with Kanaan then helping out matters by finishing ahead of Juan Pablo Montoya at Sonoma, to ensure Dixon had enough points to win the title on countback.