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GPX Chooses Not to Take Up Le Mans Automatic Entry

24H Spa, Dubai winner GPX Racing won’t race at Le Mans this year despite auto invite…

Photo: Xynamic Automotive Photography

GPX Racing has confirmed that it will not take up its automatic invitation to the 24 Hours of Le Mans that it earned through its results in the recent 2021 Asian Le Mans Series.

The 2019 Total 24 Hours of Spa-winning outfit picked up a GTE-Am entry to this year’s Le Mans edition by finishing second in the Asian Le Mans GT category standings.

GPX won half of the races in the four-round Asian LMS season with its Porche 911 GT3 R driven by Julien Andlauer, Axcil Jefferies and Alain Ferte.

The Dubai-based team ultimately finished second in the championship to fellow Porsche squad Herberth Motorsport following last Saturday’s season finale at Yas Marina Circuit, but still qualified for a Le Mans berth as one of the top four teams in GT.

Team principal Pierre-Brice Mena then confirmed on Tuesday that the team is currently facing “too many unknowns” to commit to what would have been its Le Mans debut.

“Le Mans is still one of GPX Racing’s objectives, but as things stand at present, we feel that we don’t have the right package,” explained Mena.

“It would be a hasty decision that would not allow us to be at the start in the kind of conditions we desire.

“There are too many unknowns to plan the project in keeping with our standards. Quite simply, it’s not the best moment. We’re convinced there will be other opportunities so we still have to be a little patient.”

GPX Racing, which is the motorsport arm of the GP Extreme automotive business, first ran Porsche GT3 cars in 2019 and quickly notched up its first major endurance prize with the German manufacturer at Spa.

Since then, the team has continued to run Pro entries in Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup and has also appeared in 24H Series events.

Last month it claimed its second major 24-hour race victory in the Hankook 24 Hours of Dubai with Andlauer, Jefferies, Ferte, Mathieu Jaminet and Frederic Fatien, before embarking on its maiden Asian LMS program.

Herberth Motorsport, Rinaldi Racing and Inception Racing with Optimum were the other Asian LMS teams to receive guaranteed Le Mans GTE-Am entries.

Furthermore, G-Drive Racing and United Autosports gained LMP2 invitations courtesy of their title wins in LMP2 and LMP3, although United had already accrued the maximum of two automatic entries for its results in last year’s Le Mans race and the ELMS.

Herberth Title Confirmed after GPX Drops Appeal

In addition to withdrawing from Le Mans, GPX has backed out of its appeal against Herberth Motorsport which has now been confirmed as the Asian LMS GT champion.

The results of Saturday’s four-hour race in Abu Dhabi remained provisional beyond the end of the weekend due to an appeal lodged by GPX against the Herberth car driven by Robert Renauer, Alfred Renauer and Ralf Bohn.

The appeal concerned Herberth’s completion of the race with a damaged right-side door that it was told to fix during a pit stop.

An investigation from the Asian LMS found that Herberth followed the instructions given to it by the race officials via a series-specific messaging app, and therefore didn’t warrant penalization despite its Porsche finishing without the required repairs.

A complete follow-up to the admissable appeal was deemed impossible due to the fact that part of the messaging exchange happened in a private section of the app.

GPX, which lost the title by 1.5 points, subsequently chose to back down from its protest. A Herberth penalty would have handed the championship to the GPX squad.

“We contested a sporting decision at the finish of the last race, but in a spirit of conciliation we decided not to appeal,” said Mena.

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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