There will be added American interest in this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, with JMW Motorsport confirming Tuesday a joint effort with members of Flying Lizard Motorsports for the French endurance classic.
Flying Lizard team principal Seth Neiman and teammate Spencer Pumpelly will join Abdulaziz Alfaisal at the wheel of the British squad’s Ferrari F458 Italia, which will compete for top honors in the GTE-Am class.
Both Neiman and Pumpelly, who make their Ferrari racing debuts, return to Le Mans after a one-year absence. The California-based team previously made eight starts, all with Porsche machinery, with a best finish of third in class in 2005.
“I wasn’t sure I could find a way back to Le Mans after the class changes with the creation of TUSC,” Neiman said. “Missing last year, my first June home in nearly a decade, was no fun at all.
“Doing so with JMW and Ferrari promises to be a very competitive experience. We will miss our normal co-drivers from the States, Dion [von Moltke] and Nelson [Canache], but Spencer’s Le Mans experience is irreplaceable for this effort.
“This is a strong team, a strong car, with great co-drivers. I am really looking forward to this effort with JMW”
In addition to Neiman and Pumpelly, Flying Lizard team manager Eric Ingraham and lead strategist Thomas Blam will also be making the trip to La Sarthe to lend their expertise.
“Seth and I have had great opportunities to win there in the past and hopefully we can make this the year we do it,” Pumpelly added.
“I’m also looking forward to racing Ferrari for the first time in my career and while we’ll miss Dion and Nelson we’ll do our very best to represent them and the entire Flying Lizard organization in France at this great race”
Saudi driver Alfaisal, meanwhile, will be making his second consecutive Le Mans start with the Jim McWhirter-led squad, which has switched from Dunlop to Michelin tires for 2014.
The Anglo-American JMW effort joins the recently announced ProSpeed Competition Porsche, which will carry the WeatherTech colors for Cooper MacNeil, Jeroen Bleekemolen and Bret Curtis, also competing in GTE-Am.
Other American-backed efforts for Le Mans includes Corvette Racing (GTE-Pro), Dempsey Racing-Proton (GTE-Am) and 8Star Motorsports (GTE-Am).