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37 Cars for Petit Le Mans

Entry list released for final round of IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship…

Photo: Rick Dole/IMSA

A total of 37 cars are on the entry list for next weekend’s Motul Petit Le Mans, which will close out the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season.

The number is three higher than the penultimate round at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca with the appearances of Performance Tech Motorsports in Prototype, Risi Competizione in GTLM and Montaplast by Land-Motorsport in GTD.

Fourteen cars are listed in the Prototype class with most entries carrying an additional driver for the 10-hour race.

Timo Bernhard and Norman Nato will step in for their respective debuts with Tequila Patron ESM squad, while Marino Franchitti will partner Jonathan Bomarito and Spencer Pigot in the No. 55 Mazda Team Joest entry.

Franchitti comes in to replace Harry Tincknell, who is unable to make the trip to Road Atlanta because of the clashing FIA World Endurance Championship round at Fuji.

The sister No. 77 Mazda RT24-P DPi, meanwhile, will see 2016-17 Formula E champion Lucas di Grassi partner Oliver Jarvis and Tristan Nunez.

It will mark the former Audi LMP1 star’s first appearance in WeatherTech Championship competition.

Elsewhere, Wayne Taylor Racing only has Jordan Taylor and Renger van der Zande listed in its Cadillac DPi-V.R after contesting Daytona and Sebring with former IndyCar champion Ryan Hunter-Reay. 

The publication of the entry list has also confirmed Toni Vilander, Miguel Molina and Andrea Bertolini in the previously-announced Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE for the Houston-based team’s first outing since the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.

Pirelli World Challenge SprintX GT champions Vilander and Molina, who are both Ferrari factory drivers, will be joined by Bertolini who is set to make his first IMSA race appearance since 2016.

Nine cars are listed in GT Le Mans as a result of Risi joining the field, which also includes the usual two cars apiece for Corvette, Ford, Porsche and BMW.

Virgin Australia Supercars star Chaz Mostert will make his series debut in one of the RLL-entered BMW M8 GTEs, while Marcel Fassler is currently listed in both Corvette C7.Rs.

This is because Mike Rockenfeller, who is the usual ‘endurance’ driver in the No. 3 Corvette, has a commitment clash with the DTM season finale.

In GT Daytona, P1 Motorsports is a new entry with a Mercedes-AMG GT3 to be driven by factory driver Maximilian Buhk, Brazilian racer Felipe Fraga and JC Perez.

The addition of the IMSA Prototype Challenge squad counters the omission of the Squadra Corse Garage Italia Ferrari, which only committed to select rounds this year, while Montaplast by Land Motorsport boosts the GTD car count up to 14 with its already-announced driver lineup.

Spirit of Daytona to Miss Season Finale 

The Troy Flis-led Spirit of Daytona squad, which had planned to return for the season-ending round, will not take part as originally scheduled.

While an official statement has not been released, Sportscar365 understands that continued budget-related issues is likely cause for its withdrawal. 

The team made only four starts this year with its new-for-2018 Cadillac DPi-V.R package, following crash damage at Sebring that initially put them out of action at Long Beach and Mid-Ohio, before returning for Detroit and the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen.

John Dagys contributed to this report.

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365 and e-racing365, with a focus on the FIA World Endurance Championship and various electric racing series.

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