Entries have been announced for the 88th 24 Hours of Le Mans, and as usual, there will be a strong contingent of full-time IMSA drivers and teams in the twice-around-the-clock race on June 13-14.
Seven full-time IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship teams and 18 full-time drivers appeared on the initial list revealed by the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO), which organizes the race.
The list includes a pair of drivers who earned automatic entries via their performance in the 2019 WeatherTech Championship. Cameron Cassels won last year’s Jim Trueman Award as the top sportsman driver in the LMP2 class, and Richard Heistand took the Bob Akin Award as the top GT Daytona (GTD)-class sportsman driver, earning each of them a ticket to the Circuit de la Sarthe.
Cassels, who finished second in the 2019 WeatherTech Championship LMP2 standings and won his class in the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup, will be competing at Le Mans with the support of the same Performance Tech Motorsports team that fields him in IMSA competition. He will be driving the No. 48 Performance Tech ORECA in the LMP2 class with an as-yet-unnamed pair of co-drivers.
In addition to Cassels, other 2020 WeatherTech Championship full-timers in the LMP2 class include Pipo Derani in the No. 21 DragonSpeed USA ORECA, Simon Trummer in the No. 25 Algarve Pro Racing ORECA and Katherine Legge in the No. 50 Richard Mille Racing Team ORECA. As she’s done since the start of the 2019 season, Legge will be part of an all-female driver lineup at Le Mans with co-drivers Tatiana Calderon and Sophia Florsch.
Heistand, meanwhile, had a breakthrough year of sorts in 2019 in the No. 14 AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3. This year, he is competing in Michelin Endurance Cup rounds as part of the No. 11 GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracán GT3 squad and is entered at Le Mans to drive the No. 87 JMW Motorsport Ferrari 488 GTE machine in the GTE Am class. As is the case with Cassels, Heistand’s co-drivers for the race also have not yet been revealed.
Joining Heistand in the GTE Am ranks is the No. 65 WeatherTech Racing Ferrari 488 GTE with Cooper MacNeil as the only listed driver currently, two-time WeatherTech Championship GTD champion Christina Nielsen in the No. 81 GEAR Racing Ferrari, Patrick Long in the No. 99 Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR and the same trio that won the 2019 Michelin Endurance Cup in the GTD class – Jeroen Bleekemolen, Ben Keating and Felipe Fraga in the No. 57 Team Project 1 Porsche 911 RSR.
The GTE Pro class once again features four entries from WeatherTech Championship GT Le Mans (GTLM) teams.
The ballyhooed, midengined Corvette C8.R race car makes it Le Mans debut this year with a pair of entries from Corvette Racing. Co-driving the No. 63 Corvette will be WeatherTech Championship regulars Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor, with their endurance racing teammate, Nicky Catsburg. Longtime IMSA teammates Tommy Milner and Oliver Gavin will share the No. 64 C8.R at Le Mans with Marcel Fassler.
The U.S.-based Porsche GT Team operated by CORE autosport is back for another Le Mans run as well with two new-for-2020 GTE Pro entries of its own. The team will field the No. 93 Porsche 911 RSR-19 for WeatherTech Championship regulars Nick Tandy and 2019 GTLM co-champion Earl Bamber, who will welcome Australia’s Matt Campbell to their Le Mans driver lineup.
Bamber and Tandy co-drove to an overall Le Mans victory in 2015 with Campbell taking a class victory in 2018. In the U.S. team’s No. 94 Porsche will be Patrick Pilet, Mathieu Jaminet and Julien Andlauer.
The GTE Pro class also sees 2019 WeatherTech Championship GTLM co-champion Laurens Vanthoor in the German Porsche GT team’s No. 92 entry and another 2020 GTLM full-timer, Frederic Makowiecki in the No. 91 Porsche.
Sebastien Bourdais is yet another full-time 2020 WeatherTech Championship driver with a Le Mans ride. The native of Le Mans will trade his regular No. 5 Mustang Sampling/JDC-Miller MotorSports Cadillac DPi-V.R ride for the No. 82 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE in the 24 Hours.
He’ll share that ride with countryman Olivier Pla – who is racing Michelin Endurance Cup rounds in the No. 77 Mazda Team Joest RT-24P DPi machine in 2020 – and a third driver yet to be named.
Rick Ware Racing – which ran at the Roar Before the Rolex 24 in early January and may potentially field an entry in the WeatherTech Championship later this year – will also be entered in the No. 49 Riley MK30 – Gibson LMP2.