The Automobile Club l’Ouest has confirmed today that five teams have withdrawn from this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans – three from the GTE categories and two from the LMP2 category.
Aston Martin Racing has chosen to pull their No. 89 team from GTE-Pro as well as their No. 96 team from GTE-Am. Another Aston Martin team, the No. 87 from Craft Racing, has also left the entry list.
Those cars will be replaced by a pair of Porsches from IMSA Performance Matmut (No. 76) and Prospeed Competition (No. 79). With no reserves left in GTE, the first reserve from the LMP ranks – the No. 50 Morgan-Judd from Larbre Competition – has been integrated into the LMP2 category.
Millennium Racing yanked their two LMP2 entries, the No. 22 and 23 Oreca 03-Nissans. Replacing them will be the No. 42 Zytek-Nissan from Caterham Racing and the No. 29 Pegasus Racing Morgan-Nissan.
That leaves no more reserves available for the 56-car field. The new breakdown of the field lists 10 LMP1 entries, 18 LMP2 entries, 9 GTE-Pro entries, 18 GTE-Am entries, and the Nissan ZEOD RC in Garage 56.
You can check out the current entry list here.
On Monday, the Formula 1 schedule finally allowed teams to be in Europe before heading to Abu Dhabi for this weekend’s season finale.
And as such, that provided a window for now four-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton to return to the Mercedes AMG Petronas factories in Brackley and Brixworth to be celebrated for taking the driver’s title, as Hamilton an Valtteri Bottas delivered Mercedes its fourth straight constructor’s title.
Hamilton was at Brixworth, the home of Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains (HPP) and its highly successful Mercedes-Benz Power Units first before heading to Brackley, where he was welcomed with a “guard of honor” as the entire team came out to greet him.
The champion was overwhelmed at the response and the welcome.
“This a very emotional day. I was not expecting this, thanks everyone for the warm welcome,” he said. “Today is something that I will never forget, turning up at the front gate of the factory and seeing everyone out on the street to welcome me – I’m blown away.
“This has been an incredible year, it’s been an incredible journey together. There’s a huge amount of respect and appreciation I have for everyone. I’ve been in the sport for a long time now, but to see the work ethic in Brixworth and Brackley really inspires me. Every time I come around, I see everyone operating at 100%, which encourages me to bring my best performance.
“Thank you all for helping me achieve my dreams, it would not have been possible without you. This is the best championship year, because we’ve been fighting another team and because we’ve had the difficulties and challenges we’ve had – that just makes it so much greater.”
A social roundup of images and videos are below, all via Hamilton and the Mercedes team on social media.