Three additional auto invites have been confirmed for this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans ahead the full entry list reveal for the French endurance classic on Friday.
G-Drive Racing by Algarve, Nielsen Racing and HubAuto Corsa joined Rick Ware Racing with entries to Le Mans after being crowned 2019-20 Asian Le Mans Series class champions following Sunday’s seeason-ending 4 Hours of Buriram.
The No. 26 G-Drive entry of Roman Rusinov, James French and Leonard Hoogenboom finished second in the race but was enough to take the title by a single point over Thunderhead Carlin.
It marked the second Le Mans auto-invite for the Russian-flagged entity, with Rusniov securing an invite for finishing second in the European Le Mans Series with his TDS Racing-run squad.
Nielsen, which claimed the Asian LMS LMP3 title, meanwhile, has been awarded an entry to use in LMP2 or GTE-Am, with HubAuto’s GT title allowing the team to compete in either of the GTE classes.
RWR’s entry for LMP2 was already decided two weeks ago when the American team locked up the LMP2-Am class title in Sepang.
It now means all 17 auto entries have been awarded from the European Le Mans Series, last year’s Le Mans race and the two “at large” invites from the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
At least three of those are not expected to be taken up, with reigning Le Mans winners Toyota Gazoo Racing (LMP1) and Signatech Alpine (LMP2) already having invites through its full-season FIA World Endurance Championship entries.
It’s unclear if AF Corse will field a third Ferrari 488 GTE in GTE-Pro, while Team Project 1 is understood to be accepting its GTE-Am invite, for what would be a third Porsche 911 RSR fielded by the WEC team.
However, the German squad doesn’t have a corresponding full-season ELMS, Asian LMS or IMSA entry that would typically be required for the auto invite to be granted.
ELMS GTE champions Luzich Racing, meanwhile, is understood to have ceased operations.
The full Le Mans entry list will be revealed by the ACO on Friday.
It is expected to again feature 62 entries, with the continued use of two temporary garages, but with the first Garage 56 entry in four years.
Frederic Sausset’s SRT41 initiative, featuring an all-disabled driver lineup in a Graff-run Oreca 07 Gibson, is expected to be accepted. Sausset, himself, drove in the first experimental entry to finish the race in 2016.