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FIA, ACO confirm 2017 entry lists for WEC and Le Mans

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The FIA and Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) have jointly confirmed the entry lists for this year’s FIA World Endurance Championship and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

As expected, the launch conference revealed a slimmed-down WEC field for 2017, with the headline omission being Audi following its decision to end its LMP1 program at the end of last year.

Toyota confirmed late last night that it would be fielding three cars with the rounds at Spa and Le Mans, with Jose Maria Lopez replacing Stephane Sarrazin in a full-time seat. Sarrazin will race in the third car at Spa and Le Mans.

Defending manufacturers’ champion Porsche confirmed its line-up last December, with Andre Lotterer, Nick Tandy and Earl Bamber all getting LMP1 seats. Despite many hoping it would revive its third car entry from 2015, Porsche will only race with two cars at Le Mans once again.

Following Rebellion Racing’s move down to LMP2 means that ByKolles is the only non-factory team racing in the LMP1 class this year, entering one car. Ex-Formula 1 racer Robert Kubica will make his Le Mans debut with the privateer team, being listed as its driver for Le Mans.

The LMP2 grid will feature 10 cars through the WEC season, with a bumper grid of 25 slated for Le Mans. As expected, all the full-season entries will run ORECA chassis.

In GTE Pro, 13 cars were confirmed to be racing at Le Mans, including a full complement of four Ford GTs that combines both the US and European squads, as seen at Daytona last weekend. The biggest talking point here is the signing of rising endurance star Pipo Derani for the first three races, the Brazilian joining Andy Priaulx and Harry Tincknell in the No. 67 Ford GT.

In GTE Am, five cars will take part in the full WEC season, with a grid of 16 set for Le Mans.

The full list for Le Mans, and by extension the FIA WEC, is linked here.

Recapping the proper Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel rivalry (VIDEO)

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Lewis Hamilton and Sebastien Vettel are the two most decorated drivers currently on the Formula 1 grid, with seven World Championships between them (four for Vettel, and three for Hamilton).

However, their paths have rarely crossed on the track, and only in 2010 did both drivers battle each for a World Championship in the same year. They also battled Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber that year, with Vettel emerging on top to claim his first World Championship.

However, the 2017 season sees Hamilton and Vettel in the two best cars on the grid, and they have gone head-to-head multiple times already this year, with each claiming two victories through the first five races. Currently, Vettel leads Hamilton 104-98 in the world championship, and the two men are developing a strong on-track rivalry.

Monaco Grand Prix coverage continues with FP3 and qualifying on Saturday. Full times are linked here.

 

Take a look behind the scenes of Fernando Alonso’s Indy 500 qualifying runs (VIDEO)

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In Friday’s NASCAR AMERICA Motorsports Special on NBCSN, we take you behind the scenes during F1 superstar Fernando Alonso’s qualifying runs for the Indy 500, including when he was on the pole for a brief period. He’ll eventually start fifth. 

Simulator ride tells what Fernando Alonso can expect in Indianapolis 500 (VIDEO)

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On Friday’s NASCAR AMERICA Motorsports Special on NBCSN, Parker Kligerman and his backseat driver, Kyle Petty, took to the iRacing simulator to make a mock run around Indianapolis Motor Speedway in preparation for Sunday’s Indianapolis 500.

They look at the challenges of IMS, as well as the challenges two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso will face in the first oval track race in his illustrious career. Alonso is among the favorites in the race and will take the green flag from the middle of Row 2 (fifth position).

Check out the above video.  

Legendary announcer Ken Squier gets you ready for Sunday’s big day of racing (VIDEO)

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Sunday is the biggest day of the year in motorsports, starting in the morning with Formula 1’s legendary Monaco Grand Prix.

Then, at Noon ET, it’s the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The final part of the tripleheader of racing is NASCAR’s longest race of the season, the 400-lap, 600-mile Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Newly-named NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2018 inductee Ken Squier gives you a great primer for what promises to be a memorable day around the world (see video above).