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.
Takuma Sato isn’t the only major Japanese athlete to take home top honors at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this year. Countryman Yoshihide Muroya joined him in that on Sunday after winning Red Bull Air Race at IMS, and the Red Bull Air Race World Championship in the process.
Fittingly, the 101st Indianapolis 500 champion was there on site to join him in the celebration.
Muroya flew with a track-record run in the final and erased the four-point deficit to points leader Martin Sonka. The record run came after a disappointing qualifying effort of 11th in the 14-pilot field in the Master Class.
A day after the win, Muroya joined Sato in heading to Sato’s new Verizon IndyCar Series team, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s, Indianapolis-based shop.
A few social posts from Muroya’s victory and the subsequent celebration are below.
Muroya wasn’t alone among big winners at the Speedway. In the Challenger Class, Melanie Astles of France became the first woman to win a major race at IMS, and is the first female winner in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship.
Nine women have competed in the Indianapolis 500 (Janet Guthrie, Lyn St. James, Sarah Fisher, Danica Patrick, Milka Duno, Simona de Silvestro, Pippa Mann, Ana Beatriz, Katherine Legge) and Mann is the first woman to have been on the pole position at IMS, having done so for the Freedom 100 in 2010 in Indy Lights.