The Michelin Le Mans Cup season gets underway this weekend with a two-day preseason test at Portimao, but with only 14 cars entered despite now being open to LMP3 cars as well as GT3.
ENTRY LIST: Portimao
The field is larger than last year, which was only open to GT3 machinery. Just six cars took to the test sessions ahead of the first round, with the grid size fluctuating between ten and 13 cars for the remainder of the season.
This excludes the Road to Le Mans round, which was open to LMP3 cars and saw an increased grid size as entrants took the opportunity to tackle the Circuit de la Sarthe.
The GT3 contingent currently looks to be less than half the size of last year’s however, with just five cars confirmed for Portimao.
This comprises a Mercedes-AMG GT3 each for Ram Racing and AmD Tuning, while Gulf Racing and Optimum Racing enter a Porsche 911 GT3 R and Audi R8 LMS respectively.
A Lamborghini Huracan GT3 entered under the SVC Sport Management GmbH banner rounds out the class.
While 2016 champion TF Sport moved up to the European Le Mans Series, several teams from last season’s grid appear to be absent from the series for its second season, including AF Corse, FFF Racing Team by ACM and Mentos Racing.
As it stands, four Gold-rated GT3 drivers will take part in the test, with Joe Osborne, Phil Keen, Andrea Belicchi and Ben Barker all on the provisional entry list.
Nine LMP3 cars are also set to take to the Portimao track this weekend, including eight Ligier JS P3 Nissans and one Norma M30 Nissan.
The likes of Graff, M.Racing – YMR, By Speed Factory and RLR Msport are all on the entry list, with Peter Kox, Alex Kapadia and Fabio Babini amongst the driving talent.
The test clashes with the first round of the UK-based LMP3 Cup series at Donington Park, which accounts for some of the missing LMP3 entries, including United Autosports’ two confirmed cars.
Two sessions each day are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, with a total of 14 hours of testing time on offer.
The first round of the series will be held in support of the European Le Mans Series Four Hours of Monza next month.