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Le Mans Cup

Record Number of Full-Season Entries Registered for 2022

Previous-record Michelin Le Mans Cup grid of 32 cars surpassed for 2022 campaign…

Photo: MPS Agency

The Michelin Le Mans Cup is set for a record full-season grid this year with more than 40 cars signed up for the seven-race campaign which includes the Road to Le Mans in June.

The majority of the field is competing in LMP3 where 34 entries are shown on the official entry list, while eight cars are due to race in GT3.

Mission H24’s hydrogen-powered, LMP3-based prototype is also entered although the team has not confirmed whether it will take part in any races. The program featured in Michelin Le Mans Cup practice sessions last year as part of ongoing work to explore the potential of hydrogen technology in motorsport.

Norman Nato and Stephane Richelmi are named in the Innovative-class entry’s lineup and were both behind the wheel for a multi-day test at Paul Ricard last month. 

New teams on the LMP3 grid include 360 Racing, ANS Motorsport, Haegeli by T2 Racing, Optimum Motorsport, 24-7 Motorsport, AF2 Motorsport and Reiter Engineering.

Of note, Optimum arrives in LMP3 as an experienced GT3 outfit, most recently as the operator of Inception Racing, while Reiter has been involved in developing KTM’s four-wheel racing models including the X-Bow GT2.

AT Racing and Graff are back in the Michelin Le Mans Cup after one and two years away respectively. 16 of the confirmed teams have returned after competing in 2021.

Colin Noble and Tony Wells will arrive at next month’s Paul Ricard season-opener with the task of defending their 2021 driver’s title in a Nielsen Racing Ligier JS P320 Nissan.

Ligier is the most common LMP3 marque with 26 examples of the JS P320 registered, while eight Duqueine D08 Nissans complete the top-category field.

Notable drivers taking part include reigning ELMS LMP3 champion Laurents Hoerr (DKR Engineering), ex-Formula E driver Tom Dillmann (Racing Spirit of Leman), Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring class winner Malthe Jakobsen (Cool Racing) and Freddie Hunt, the son of 1976 Formula 1 world champion James Hunt (Reiter Engineering).

The GT3 entry includes three Honda NSX GT3 Evo22s, marking the car’s series debut.

All of them will be run by Danish outfit GMB Motorsport and driven by pairs of Danish drivers, with FIA World Endurance Championship competitor Mikkel Pedersen and 2019 GT Sports Club champion Jens Reno Moller among the roster.

Lamborghini factory driver Giacomo Altoe will share a Vincenzo Sospiri Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo with Hiroshi Hamaguchi, who has driven for FFF Racing Team in recent years and won both Road to Le Mans legs with the team in 2020.

Another Lamborghini is being run by Ebimotors and has Fabio Babini as its lead driver.

Two AF Corse-run Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020s are present, although fellow Ferrari outfit and reigning class champion Iron Lynx has not returned to the series.

2020 Aston Martin Racing Academy winner Valentin Hasse-Clot is the professional driver in Bullitt Racing’s Aston Martin Vantage GT3, for the team’s maiden season in the formula. Hasse-Clot will share the wheel with British racer Stephen Patrick.

“This year’s Michelin Le Mans Cup promises to be an exciting one. As with our other championships, we are delighted to see a record number of entries this year,” said ACO President Pierre Fillon.

“The 42 competitors will be able to gain experience in this essential series, which forms the base of the endurance racing pyramid, at seven races on prestigious tracks in four countries. I wish all the competitors an excellent season.”

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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