Before February’s reveal of the full 56 cars that will compete in the 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans, 12 teams have already earned entries into next year’s race via automatic invitations from the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO).
Those 12 are:
- OAK Racing (2 LMP2 entries; 1st LMP2 in 24H of LM, 1st LMP2 in Asian Le Mans Series)
- Audi Sport Team Joest (1 LMP1 entry; 1st LMP1 in 24H of LM)
- Porsche AG Team Manthey (1 GTE Pro entry; 1st GTE Pro in 24H of LM)
- Imsa Performance Matmut (1 GTE Am entry; 1st GTE Am in 24H of LM)
- Signatech Alpine (1 LMP2 entry; 1st LMP2 in European LMS)
- RAM Racing (1 GTE entry either Pro or Am; 1st GTE in European LMS)
- Proton Competition (1 GTE entry either Pro or Am; 2nd GTE in European LMS)
- Team Endurance Challenge (1 LMP2 entry; 1st LMPC in European LMS)
- Muscle Milk Pickett Racing (1 LMP2 entry; American Le Mans Series at-large)
- Risi Competizione (1 GTE Pro entry; ALMS at-large)
- AF Corse (1 GTE Am entry; 1st GTC in Asian Le Mans Series)
- Craft Racing (1 GTE Am entry; 2nd GTC in Asian Le Mans Series)
Teams need to compete in either of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, Asian or European Le Mans Series for their entry to be recognized. All full-season FIA World Endurance Championship entrants gain a spot on the 24 Hours of Le Mans grid.
MotorSportsTalk continues its annual review of the Verizon IndyCar Series drivers that raced in 2017. The 2017 season behind the wheel was better for Ed Carpenter than either of the last two years, but still wasn’t ideal results-wise in his six oval starts.
Ed Carpenter, No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet
- 2016: 25th Place (5 Starts), Best Finish 18th, Best Start 5th, 0 Top-5, 0 Top-10, 1 Lap Led, 11.2 Avg. Start, 21.8 Avg. Finish
- 2017: 22nd Place (6 Starts), Best Finish 7th, Best Start 2nd, 0 Top-5, 1 Top-10, 5 Laps Led, 11.3 Avg. Start, 12.3 Avg. Finish
Ed Carpenter’s 2017 season was largely one of frustration, both behind the wheel and as a team owner.
While a respectable turnaround in results occurred – Carpenter finished between seventh and 12th in five of his six oval races after a nightmare season of ending 18th or worse in each of his 2016 starts – this is still not what he sets out to strive for in the races he does. Lost opportunities loomed larger than any official result he or the Ed Carpenter Racing team achieved.
Carpenter and new teammate JR Hildebrand, in for the departed Josef Newgarden, dominated preseason testing in Phoenix but Hildebrand could only muster third in the race, Carpenter a season-best seventh. Then at Indianapolis, Carpenter (second) and Hildebrand (sixth) flew the flag for Chevrolet in qualifying and practice pace, but they fell to 11th and 16th on race day owing to a front-wing change and late-race penalty for passing before a restart.
Both drivers got collected in incidents at Texas. Hildebrand qualified and finished a season-best second in Iowa but that result came only after the ECR crew rebuilt his car from a crash in practice. Then Carpenter had a practice crash in Pocono and despite a rapid rebuild, they missed the clock to qualify by mere minutes and were unable to do so. Carpenter’s spin on a slick Gateway track at the start of the race sent him over Will Power’s nose assembly in one of the scarier looking incidents of the year, although fortunately he was OK.
In a similar refrain as we often write, it’s not that Carpenter’s lost his ability to drive and he remains one of the series’ savviest and smartest people in the paddock. There have been a lot of extenuating circumstances of late, and it almost felt as though this team had “empty nest” components. Since September, Carpenter has had to secure his team’s future with a move away from its Speedway, Ind. shop, line up Spencer Pigot for a full-time drive replacing Hildebrand in the No. 21 car, find a new road/street course driver in the No. 20 car, and manage both driving and owning himself.