The 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship grid will be made up of 28 cars from 11 different nations, ensuring the highest level in endurance racing remains a truly global event.
Somewhat stealing the march on the day, Toyota confirmed overnight that it will indeed run a third car at Spa and Le Mans (and possibly the manufacturer’s home race of Fuji as well) and many expected German rivals Porsche to respond in king, however at today’s live webcast it was confirmed that there will only be two 919 Hybrids fielded for the entire season. The third LMP1 entry comes from privateer team ByKOLLES Racing who will field their CLM after ditching the troublesome AER engine for a Nissan sourced 3.0 V6 (most likely form the doomed GTR-LM project).
As with the previous two years there will be 10 entries in the LMP2 full-season grid however, unlike previous years the change to just four chassis for teams to choose from appears to have thrown up a clear favourite with all teams running the Oreca 07 (with the notable exception of the Signatech Alpine team who’s two Oreca 07s are badged as the Alpine A470). As announced earlier today, British team JOTA Sport will tie up with Jackie Chan DC Racing to run a two car program under the Chinese flag with the other key British team Manor re-branding to CEFC Manor TRS Racing also running a two car, Chinese badged entry for Briton Tor Graves and Mexican Roberto Gonzales, who’s own team RGR will take a sabbatical in 2017. TDS Racing have a two car entry with one keeping the TDS branding and the second car sporting the G-Drive orange livery and backing of Russian Roman Rusinov. Last year’s LMP1 privateer champions Rebellion Racing switch to LMP2 with new branding and a single car entry.
In LM GTE Pro Ford again enter two GTs with Germany’s Stefan Mücke and Briton Andy Priaulx the initially named drivers. Aston Martin Racing, AF Corse and Porsche, now a full factory effort, all also enter two cars in into the category.
Finally, GTE Am sees Canadian Paul Dalla Lana’s car again being fielded by Aston Martin Racing against two Porsche 911 RSR (991) from Dempsey Proton Racing and Gulf Racing and a pair of Ferrari 488 GTEs from Swiss team Spirit of the Race and Clearwater Racing.
The full season entry list can be downloaded here.