At a live webcast the ACO today announced the entries for the 2017 European Le Mans Season which kicks off at Silverstone over Easter Weekend. With a 36 car entry consisting of 16 LMP3 cars, 13 LMP2s and 7 GTE entries the season looks set for a fantastic battle.
In LM GTE reigning champions Beechdean Aston Martin Racing return to defend their crown and we see a second V8 Vantage added this year for fellow British team TF Sport. 2017 marks the first season that the turbo charged Ferrari 488 GTE is eligible for Am competition and two have been entered by the Italian Spirit of the Race team for Gianluca Roda and perennial British Ferrari campaigner Duncan Cameron. Scottish team JMW Motorsport return with their Ferrari 458 Italia, surely hungry to avenge the bad luck at the season-ending race in Portugal which cost them the championship. Finally, we see two Porsche 911 (991) RSRs entered by Proton Competition.
Moving up to what is numerically the biggest class, the LMP3 field features many new-to-ELMS teams. We see four American drivers listed split evenly between United Autosports two entries and the two of Eurointernational. The remainder of the announced drives stack up as 6 French, two British, and a single driver for each of Spain, Italy, Austria and Poland making it a truly diverse driver field. Of the manufacturers, the Ligier JS P3 dominates the entries with all but two of the cars; those ‘black sheep’ being the new-for-2017 M30 from Norma.
In the top category there are 13 entries with an almost exact split between Oreca (4 chassis), Ligier (5 chassis) and Dallara (4 chassis). As with the Nissan engine for the LMP3 class 2017 sees the LMP2 category recieve a spec engine for the first time and all cars will be running the Gibson V8 which will produce circa 100bhp more than the previous LMP2 engines. The majority of the entries have raced in ELMS prototype categories previously with two notable exceptions, Racing Team Nederland who will field Dutch superstar driver Jan Lammers and the Danish High Class Racing team, both of whom will use the Dallara P217 chassis.
Full entry list is available here.