Howson, Bradley set for KCMG return at Le Mans

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Two-thirds of the winning lineup in last year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans LMP2-winning KCMG Oreca 05 Nissan will be back on board this year, with Matt Howson and Richard Bradley set to join Tsugio Matsuda in the No. 47 car.

Howson and Bradley joined ex-Toyota factory star Nicolas Lapierre last year to secure the Oreca 05’s first Le Mans win, and also end a run of victories by open-top cars at Le Mans.

Matsuda, a past Formula Nippon and the two-time defending Super GT champion, shifts into LMP2 after running one of the Nissan GT-R LM NISMOs at Le Mans last year in LMP1. Lapierre is now with Signatech Alpine’s effort, in the rebadged Alpine A460 – an Oreca 05 chassis.

The KCMG LMP2 entry isn’t a full-season entry in any ACO championship this year but did earn an automatic invitation back for winning last year; instead, KCMG has a full-season GTE-Am Porsche 911 RSR run by Proton Competition in the FIA World Endurance Championship.

The chance for Howson and Bradley to reunite comes as Bradley is in Manor WEC’s No. 45 Oreca 05 Nissan, which does not have a Le Mans entry as it was entered too late in the process. He shares that car with Matt Rao and ex-Manor F1 driver Roberto Merhi.

Manor’s lone Le Mans entry will be its No. 44 car, driven by Tor Graves, James Jakes and Will Stevens.

With this confirmation there’s less than a handful of remaining seats in LMP2 for Le Mans, which is projected as a 23-car class in the 60-car field.