Thursday’s press conference in France revealed several key items for the 2014 endurance sports car season.
Remember the numbers 56, 42 and 31. 56 is the number of entries for the 24 Hours of Le Mans – per usual – 31 of which are from the FIA World Endurance Championship. And 42 is the number of entries received for the European Le Mans Series, which has surged back in entries after a pair of challenging seasons.
24 HOURS OF LE MANS
There’s an even split of 28 prototypes (10 LMP1, 17 LMP2 and the Nissan ZEOD RC) and 28 GTs (12 GTE Pros, 16 GTE Ams).
The top LMP1 (now LMP1-H for hybrid technology) arms race features new 2014 regulations, and a three-way bout between Audi, Toyota and Porsche for the overall win. The privateers have their own subcategory, LMP1-L, and will have minor bragging rights with that.
In LMP2, ORECA 03 Nissans appear popular, but there’s also Dome, Morgan, Ligier, Alpine and Zytek chassis, as well as HPD and Judd engines. Nissan though has the bulk of the engines, powering 14 of 17 cars in class.
GTE Pro will see your Ferrari-Aston Martin-Porsche battle joined by the American muscle from Corvette and Viper. Always an entertaining show.
And GTE Am, often the hardest class to project simply due to the driver requirements (LMP2 requires only one Silver or Bronze-rated driver; GTE Am requires at least one Bronze to go with a Silver), has a heavy Ferrari base but also entries from Porsche (notably Dempsey Racing) and Aston Martin.
Take the above copy, look at the entry list to see which cars have the FIA WEC logo next to them, and there’s your field of 31.
LMP2 takes the biggest drop in WEC, with only 7 full-season cars compared to the 17 at Le Mans. GTE Pro drops to 7 from 12; GTE Am is cut in half to 8 from 16. Meanwhile there’s only one LMP1 addition for Le Mans, and that’s the third Audi R18 e-tron quattro.
The ELMS has 42 entries received during Thursday’s presentation in Paris. Both the LMP2 and GTE classes have 13 cars listed, with the GTC class (GT3-based) featuring 16.
Cars set to compete in the LMP2 ranks include: Alpine A450 Nissan, ORECA 03 Nissans and Judds, Morgan Nissans and Judds, Ligier Nissans and Zytek Nissans.
The GTE field includes eight Ferraris, four Porsches and a solitary Aston Martin. Meanwhile in GTC, there are primarily Ferraris but also entries from McLaren, Audi and BMW.