Image credit: ACO.
It is no just 100 days until Saturday 13th June at 15:00 CET when the 56 cars entered for the 83rd Le Mans 24 Hours will be unleashed to do battle in the world’s most famous race.
The third round of the 2015 FIA World Endurance Championship is the pinnacle of the endurance calendar, and as in previous years, SportscarGlobal will be onsite and hosting a band of ‘die-hards’ on Maison Blanche.
This year’s race see’s Nissan joining the manufacturers the field in the LMP1 category where the technical regulations give pride of place to technological innovation and the class boasts an impressive 14 entries.
Nissan’s comeback to the summit of endurance racing after a 16-year absence is eagerly awaited. The GT-R NISMO created a sensation when it was unveiled in an ad during the Super Bowl because of its radically innovative design and one car has been testing at Sebring this week while another is currently on display at the Geneva International Motor Show, where it is one of the star attractions.
Toyota, winner of the 2014 world endurance championship, will be out to clinch the trophy that keeps slipping through its fingers, and is making victory at Le Mans its priority objective.
Audi has emerged on top in the last five races and is determined to add a 14th success in the Sarthe to its laurels to close in on the record of 16 wins held by Porsche.
Talking of the Stuttgart firm, which made its comeback to the blue riband category in 2014, Porsche will return to the Le Mans circuit with greater ambitions after finishing the 2014 season on a high note thanks to some excellent results.
Although the four major manufacturers which have entered works cars have made radically different technical choices with regard to power/drivetrain there’s little to choose between them in terms of potential and, if 2014 is any indicator, lap times.
Once again the LMP2 category has the lion’s share of entries with 20 cars. This year it has attracted 10 different chassis, which makes the rumoured limiting of only 4 chassis manufacturers in 2017 even more difficult to understand.
On paper, all of the entries are in with a chance of following in the footsteps of the Jota Sport team that wrapped up victory in 2014 with its Zytek Z11SN-Nissan (now renamed Gibson-Nissan) driven by Dolan, Tincknell and Turvey.
The LM GTE Pro category boasts a mere 9 entries although the four manufacturers in contention for victory, Aston Martin, Corvette, Ferrari and Porsche, will not give each other any quarter.
Last year first place honours went to Ferrari after an awesome battle with Aston Martin. Picking a winner this early on is a risky business and the same goes for the LM GTE Am category where there are 13 cars entered. In 2014 Aston Martin came out on top in 2014 thanks to Poulsen, Hansson and Thiim in their #95 Vantage GTE.
In addition to it’s GTE entries The ‘British Bulldog’ manufacturer will be hosting the Aston Martin Festival compromising some 60 cars from the last 11 years, certainly this is one of the major ebents at this year’s Le Mans we are really looking forwards to!
The other event we’re excited about takes place on Saturday morning and is organised by Le Mans Legend and will be 61 historic Le Mans racers from 1949 and 1968.
Luckily, although 100 days is not long to wait there is still plenty to keep us busy until then.
Of course, before the race its self we’ll have some great opportunities to see the field, starting with FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) Prologue at the Paul Ricard circuit in France’s Mediterranean coast which is now just three weeks away.
Two weeks later the WEC moves to Silverstone where it joins up with the European Le Mans Series and both host their season opening rounds over the weekend of the 11th-12th April. Following that the WEC heads to Spa’s mountains for Round 2 on the 2nd May. Not forgetting of course the official Le Mans test day on 31st May.
Across the ocean, the American teams heading to Le Mans who are entered for the Tudor United SportsCar Championship will have already raced in five rounds of the series giving them plenty of opportunity to optimise their preparation for the Sarthe challenge.
We here at SportscarGlobal will be on hand to being you live updates from all of the European rounds up to Le Mans, and of course, we’ll be live from the circuit from Monday 8th in the run-up to ‘the race’. It’s also not too late to join us in our fully catered trackside hospitality either, just drop us a direct message on twitter (@SportsCarGlobal) for further details.
We have a feeling 2015 is going to be they best yet for sportscar racing, we hope you’ll join us for the ride!