With less than 60 days until the 82nd Le Mans 24 Hours, there are still questions surrounding a number of notable teams for the twice-around-the-clock French endurance classic.
Between new car delays, funding issues and other variables, close to a dozen entries are still in flux, with Friday’s deadline for a partial refund in entry fees set to potentially trigger at least a few withdrawals over the next 48 hours.
The new-for-2014 LMP1 regulations has resulted in delays for both LMP1-L cars from Rebellion and Lotus, although the Angl0-Swiss sqaud’s ORECA-built Rebellion R-Ones are on track to debut in next weekend’s FIA WEC Six Hours of Spa-Francorchamps.
The story of the Lotus T129, however, is a bit more unclear, with little news having come from the Kodewa squad, other than its AER-powered prototype having been forced to miss Silverstone due to a late change of engine manufacturer.
LMP2 saw a FIA WEC series-low four entries at Silverstone due to the withdrawals of the two Millennium Racing Oreca 03 Nissans over funding issues and the new Strakka-Dome S103 Nissan, which is now scheduled to make its debut at Le Mans after setbacks in testing.
There’s also a question mark over the two SMP Racing Oreca-Nissans, which were present in Silverstone despite U.S. and European sanctions on team principal Boris Rotenberg, which has resulted in frozen bank accounts. While Rotenberg did not make the trip to England, the Russian squad has vowed to continue, reportedly with an alternative source of funding.
Should any of the LMP1 or LMP2 entries withdraw, it would give the Larbre Competition Morgan-Nissan a confirmed place on the grid, with the No. 30 Signatech Alpine A450 Nissan, the former Caterham-backed Greaves Motorsport Zytek Z11SN Nissan and Pegasus Racing Morgan-Nissan also all still on the prototype reserve list.
There are at least four unconfirmed entries in the GTE ranks, three of them being Aston Martins.
Craft Racing has yet to decide whether it’s No. 87 Vantage V8, with the nominated driver of Frank Yu, will race, while Aston Martin Racing has two additional Le Mans-only Vantage entries, one for each GTE-Pro and GTE-Am, that it has yet to finalize.
Additionally, Team Taisan, which along with JMW Motorsport were awarded entries following the withdrawal of the SRT Vipers last month, is understood to still be looking to finalize its lineup, having spoken to at least two American drivers with funding.
Two cars remain on the GTE reserve list, the No. 76 IMSA Performance Matmut and the No. 79 ProSpeed Competition Porsche 911 GT3 RSRs, both of which would be second race entries for the respective teams.
While all teams have already paid their entry fees, the deadline for receiving a partial ($34,000) refund is Friday. Any withdrawal after May 9 is subject to a $69,000 penalty, unless in the case of “force majeure.”