2015 Le Mans 24 Hours: A cracking field!
Today in Paris the Automobile Club de l’Ouest announced the list of 56 cars invited to take part in the 2015 Le Mans 24 Hours on 13-14 June, and unveiled the poster and the advertisement for the event. The field entered for the 83rd event promises a hotly-contested race, and choosing a winner in each of the four categories is like looking for a needle in a haystack!
The start of the 83rd Le Mans 24 Hours will be given at 15h00 on Saturday 13th June. Fifty-six cars will take part in the blue riband event on the FIA World Endurance calendar, the third round of the championship, divided up into four categories: 14 LM P1s (Le Mans Prototype 1) 20 LM P2s (Le Mans prototype 2), 9 LM GTE Pros and 13 LM GTE Ams.
In LM P1 the big news is the return of Nissan with three of its spectacular GTR-LM NISMOs. The car was presented last Sunday in the United States. Thus, the Renault-Nissan tandem will take on Audi, Porsche and Toyota in the battle for outright victory. It will be a German-Japanese duel with two German manufacturers up against two from the land of the rising sun, each one using a different technology, proof of the validity of the regulations introduced by the ACO in 2014. Completing the LM P1 field are three privately-entered cars from Rebellion Racing (2) and TeamByKolles. A total of six manufacturers will go head to head in LM P1.
Eight different makes of chassis will go at it hammer and tongs in LM P2 making up a field of 20 cars, once again the biggest in the race. Jota Sport, which will be back with an up-dated version of the winning car in 2014 (now called the Gibson 015S-Nissan), will have a tough job on its hands to repeat last year’s feat as it will be up against newcomers like the HPD ARX-O4bs and the Oreca 05s. Ligier, which made its Le Mans comeback in 2014, will be the best-represented make in the category with five cars.
Once again thrilling scraps will take place in LM GTE Pro and GTE Am. In GTE Pro Corvette, victorious in last month’s Daytona Rolex 24 Hours, is hoping to beat Ferrari at Le Mans, as the Italian make won the GTE Pro category in last year’s 24 Hours. Aston Martin and Porsche harbour the same ambitions.
In GTE Am Aston Martin will be out to achieve a repeat of its 2014 victory, but to do so the English make will have to fend off top teams like AF Corse, JMW Motorsport and SMP Racing. Back for the fourth time is American actor, Patrick Dempsey, at the wheel of a Porsche entered by the Dempsey Proton Racing team for the third year on the bounce.
Thus, the field for the 2015 Le Mans 24 Hours breaks down into 34 prototypes and 22 GTs made by 17 different makes from the biggest car groups in the world, ranging from the competition versions of the most beautiful GT cars on the market to the best builders of racing chassis.
The 31 teams entered represent 13 different nationalities and the highest numbers of cars come from Germany (11), Great Britain and the United States (9), Japan (6) and Russia, Italy and France (5) respectively further proof of the incredible appeal of the race.
The list of reserves comprises seven teams combining LM Ps and LM GTEs, which will be allowed to race in the order on the list should there be any withdrawals.
During this press conference the Automobile Club de l’Ouest also unveiled a couple of vital communications tools, the 2015 Le Mans 24-Hours poster and the advertisement which will be used in the buildup to the 83rd event on 13-14 June.
Pierre Fillon, President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest: "Once again the field for the Le Mans 24 Hours consists of fifty-six top-quality cars. We’re delighted to welcome a new manufacturer with the arrival of Nissan, which is proof of the immense appeal of our event for the major motor car manufacturers. Viewing things from a wider perspective, the fact that we have teams from thirteen different nationalities again shows the international appeal of our race. We’re very proud that the major countries in the motor industry and car culture in general provide the highest number of representatives, and it confirms yet again the link between our race, the car industry and the everyday motorist’s car of tomorrow."
Vincent Beaumesnil, Automobile Club de l’Ouest’s Sport Manager: "Every year the selection committee for the Le Mans 24 Hours is finding it increasingly difficult to establish the list of entries. Things are really looking up in the prototype categories with more top-level teams arriving. In GTE Pro the quality of the manufacturers entered guarantees yet another incredibly closely-fought race, and in GTE Am the overall high level of preparation and involvement is very impressive. From a technical and sporting point of view we’re expecting to see a level never before achieved: it’s going to be a great race.