Already a good amount of FIA WEC, Le Mans entry list details are known

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The release of the FIA World Endurance Championship and 24 Hours of Le Mans entry lists on Thursday provide full details and car numbers to what have trickled out in announcements over the last couple months.

So while there’s designated drivers that are listed today, that doesn’t mean they’re the only drivers that are known.

By class, here’s a breakdown of what drivers are known for the FIA WEC and Le Mans. Bold drivers are the designated ones from the Le Mans entry list.

LMP1

All that’s left to fill here is the third seat at ByKolles and second and third seats in the third Toyota. For the first time since its WEC arrival in 2012, Toyota has the majority of the entries in LMP1.

1-Porsche LMP Team-Neel Jani/Andre Lotterer/Nick Tandy, Porsche 919 Hybrid
2-Porsche LMP Team-Timo Bernhard/Brendon Hartley/Earl Bamber, Porsche 919 Hybrid
4-ByKolles Racing Team-Robert Kubica/Oliver Webb, ENSO CLM P1/01 NISMO
7-Toyota Gazoo Racing-Mike Conway/Kamui Kobayashi/Jose Maria Lopez, Toyota TS050 Hybrid
8-Toyota Gazoo Racing-Sebastien Buemi/Anthony Davidson/Kazuki Nakajima, Toyota TS050 Hybrid

9-Toyota Gazoo Racing-Stephane Sarrazin, Toyota TS050 Hybrid

LMP2

Gustavo Menezes (Signatech Alpine) and Renger van der Zande (Keating) are two of the names you’d expect to see added here. Manor was a round-robin last year of drivers, while the Jackie Chan DC Racing team now has a technical partnership with Jota Sport.

13-Vaillante Rebellion-Nelson Piquet Jr./Mathias Beche/David Heinemeier Hansson, Oreca 07 Gibson
31-Vaillante Rebellion-Nicolas Prost/Bruno Senna/Julien Canal, Oreca 07 Gibson
24-CEFC Manor TRS Racing-Tor Graves, Oreca 07 Gibson
25-CEFC Manor TRS Racing-Roberto Gonzalez, Oreca 07 Gibson
26-G-Drive Racing-Roman Rusinov/Pierre Thiriet, Oreca 07 Gibson
28-TDS Racing-Francois Perrodo/Emmanuel Collard/Matthieu Vaxviere, Oreca 07 Gibson
35-Signatech Alpine Matmut-Stephane Richelmi, Alpine A470 Gibson
36-Signatech Alpine Matmut-Nicolas Lapierre, Alpine A470 Gibson
37-Jackie Chan DC Racing-David Cheng, Oreca 07 Gibson
38-Jackie Chan DC Racing-Ho-Pin Tung, Oreca 07 Gibson

17-IDEC Sport Racing-Patrice Lafargue, Ligier JS P217 Gibson
21-DragonSpeed-10 Star-Henrik Hedman, Oreca 07 Gibson
22-G-Drive Racing-Memo Rojas, Oreca 07 Gibson
23-Panis Barthez Competition-Fabien Barthez, Ligier JS P217 Gibson
27-SMP Racing-Mikhail Aleshin, Dallara P217 Gibson
29-Racing Team Nederland-Jan Lammers/Rubens Barrichello/Fritz van Eerd, Dallara P217 Gibson
32-United Autosports-William Owen/Hugo de Sadeleer, Ligier JS P217 Gibson
33-Eurasia Motorsport-Chris Hoy, Ligier JS P217 Gibson
34-Tockwith Motorsports-Nigel Moore, Ligier JS P217 Gibson
39-Graff-James Allen, Oreca 07 Gibson
40-Graff-Enzo Guibbert, Oreca 07 Gibson
43-Keating Motorsports-Ben Keating, Riley Mk. 30 Gibson
45-Algarve Pro Racing-Mark Patterson, Ligier JS P217 Gibson
47-Cetilar Villorba Corse-Roberto Lacorte, Dallara P217 Gibson
49-ARC Bratislava-Miro Konopka, Oreca 07 Gibson

GTE PRO

Sam Bird (AF Corse Ferrari), Fred Makowiecki (Porsche) and Giancarlo Fisichella (Risi) are expected back at those places, with Corvette Racing’s Le Mans lineup also rumored to be similar in nature to past ones. Porsche has a number of GTE works drivers it could plug-and-play to fill its two works cars. Gianmaria Bruni’s status within the category arguably remains its biggest question mark at the moment.

51-AF Corse-James Calado, Ferrari 488 GTE
71-AF Corse-Davide Rigon, Ferrari 488 GTE
66-Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK-Stefan Muecke/Olivier Pla/Billy Johnson, Ford GT
67-Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK-Andy Priaulx/Harry Tincknell/Pipo Derani, Ford GT
91-Porsche GT Team-Richard Lietz, Porsche 911 RSR
92-Porsche GT Team-Michael Christensen, Porsche 911 RSR
95-Aston Martin Racing-Nicki Thiim/Marco Sorenson, Aston Martin Vantage
97-Aston Martin Racing-Darren Turner/Jonny Adam, Aston Martin Vantage

63-Corvette Racing-Jan Magnussen, Corvette C7.R
64-Corvette Racing-Oliver Gavin, Corvette C7.R
68-Ford Chip Ganassi Team USA-Joey Hand/Dirk Mueller/Sebastien Bourdais, Ford GT
69-Ford Chip Ganassi Team USA-Ryan Briscoe/Richard Westbrook/Scott Dixon, Ford GT
82-Risi Competizione-Toni Vilander, Ferrari 488 GTE

GTE AM

Quite a lot remains to be filled in in the GTE-Am class, with only a handful of cars having more than just the designated driver listed.

54-Spirit of Race-Thomas Flohr/Francesco Castellacci, Ferrari 488 GTE
61-Clearwater Racing-Mok Weng Sun/Keita Sawa/Matt Griffin, Ferrari 488 GTE
77-Dempsey Proton Racing-Christian Ried, Porsche 911 RSR
86-Gulf Racing-Michael Wainwright, Porsche 911 RSR
98-Aston Martin Racing-Paul Dalla Lana/Pedro Lamy/Mathias Lauda, Aston Martin Vantage

50-Larbre Competition-Ricky Taylor, Corvette C7.R
55-Spirit of Race-Duncan Cameron, Ferrari 488 GTE
60-Clearwater Racing-Matt Griffin, Ferrari 488 GTE
62-Scuderia Corsa-Cooper MacNeil, Ferrari 488 GTE
65-Scuderia Corsa-Christina Nielsen, Ferrari 488 GTE
83-DH Racing-Riccardo Ragazzi, Ferrari 488 GTE
84-JMW Motorsport-Robert Smith, Ferrari F458 Italia
88-Proton Competition-Wolf Henzler, Porsche 911 RSR
90-TF Sport-Salih Yoluc/Euan Hankey/Rob Bell, Aston Martin Vantage
93-Proton Competition-Patrick Long, Porsche 911 RSR
99-Beechdean AMR-Andrew Howard, Aston Martin Vantage

Jenson Button joins NASCAR Garage 56 at Le Mans with Jimmie Johnson, Rockenfeller

Jenson Button NASCAR Le Mans
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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The NASCAR Garage 56 entry in the 24 Hours of Le Mans will be driven by champions of three major-league series — Jenson Button, Jimmie Johnson and Mike Rockenfeller.

The lineup of the Hendrick Motorsports-prepared Next Gen Camaro was announced Saturday before the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

NASCAR’s Garage 56 project was announced in March 2022 as a joint effort by NASCAR, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet and Goodyear. It marks the return of a NASCAR team to Le Mans for the first time in nearly 50 years with Hendrick fielding a Camaro ZL1 as the “Garage 56” entry in the 100th edition of the sports car classic.

It’s long been expected the car would include Johnson, the seven-time Cup Series champion who is returning to NASCAR’s premier series as a driver-owner in 2023. Rockenfeller, the 2013 DTM champion and 2010 Le Mans overall winner, has attended every NASCAR Garage 56 test since last year while racking up simulator testing hours.

The surprise was Button, the 2009 Formula One champion who has become a popular commentator. Rick Hendrick initially said wanted four-time Cup champion and current Hendrick Motorsports COO Jeff Gordon to drive the car, and Gordon had raced a sports car at Indianapolis last year to test his race shape.

GARAGE 56 ANSWERS, ANALYSISMore on the NASCAR-Hendrick entry for the 24 Hours of Le Mans

“Since the beginning of the Garage 56 project, it has been our goal to partner with the top racers in the world to represent us in Le Mans,” NASCAR chairman and CEO Jim France said in a release. “The lineup of Jimmie, ‘Rocky’ and Jenson is everything we could have dreamed of – three elite drivers who have won at the highest levels of motorsports worldwide. As we celebrate the 75th anniversary of NASCAR, we are honored to have these world-class champions help bring the sights and sounds of a NASCAR race car to fans in Le Mans, and across the world.”

Button had one of the most prolific careers in F1 history finishing with 15 wins and 50 podiums on top of his 2009 World Championship and is widely considered one of the top British drivers of all time.

“As a lifelong racing fan, I have always dreamed of racing certain cars, with and against certain drivers and competing in certain events,” Button said in a release. “In June, a number of those dreams will come true in one event when I get to bring NASCAR to the world stage alongside my pals Jimmie and ‘Rocky’ for the 100th anniversary of the most prestigious race in the world. I’m really looking forward to sharing this journey with NASCAR, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet and Goodyear, and current and future NASCAR fans from around the world.”

Johnson will make his 24 Hours of Le Mans debut a year after starting his first Indy 500. He has 83 victories in the Cup Series, where he will return for the Daytona 500 next month with his Legacy Motor Club team.

He also has been involved with testing the Garage 56 Camaro.

“I’m super thrilled – it’s been at the top of my bucket list to compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans someday,” Johnson said. “To have this opportunity come – and to partner with everybody and this driver lineup – is truly an incredible opportunity and one that I am thankful to be a part of.”

Rockenfeller teamed with Johnson on the No. 48 Ally Cadillac in the Rolex 24 at Daytona in 2021-22. The German driver has been the lead test driver for Garage 56 and has driven during every on-track test.

“It has been a great journey so far with the whole team and project,” Rockenfeller said. “To be involved as a driver from day one until now was already a great honor, and to now have Jimmie and Jenson alongside me as teammates in Le Mans is unbelievable.”

The car will continue testing with all three drivers next week at the Daytona International Speedway road course. Rolex 24 and four-time IMSA champion Jordan Taylor, who drives for Corvette Racing, will be the team’s backup driver and coach. Taylor also won the GTE Pro class in 2015 at Le Mans, where he has four podium finishes.

The project also is being supported by IMSA GTP team Action Express, whose general manager is former NASCAR executive and Daytona 500-winning crew chief Gary Nelson. Action Express built the first test car for the Garage 56 but since has handed off the project to Hendrick, where it’s being over seen by vice president of competition Chad Knaus (the crew chief for Johnson’s seven championships).

“Action Express got it going and built the mule car, and then Hendrick joined the program, took it from where we had it, and they’re doing a major percentage of the work,” Nelson told NBC Sports. “We just did a test a couple months ago on a wet track. We’ve done a couple of other tests as they were ramping their program up. Now their car is good, tested and running. We’re still involved and here to help. The Hendrick guys have taken the reins, and Rick Hendrick and Chad Knaus are a thrill to work with and doing a much better job. It’s more NASCAR than prototype racing.”