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24H Le Mans

SARD-Morand Withdraws Entry, Riley Viper Confirmed for 24H Le Mans

Riley-TI Auto Viper secures entry for 24 Hours of Le Mans…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

Riley Motorsports-TI Automotive has secured an entry for this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, following the withdrawal of one of Team SARD-Morand’s Morgan LMP2 EVOs from the French endurance classic.

The ACO confirmed Thursday that the No. 53 Dodge Viper GTS-R, with nominated driver Jeroen Bleekemolen, will compete in the GTE-Am class. It had been the first reserve entry.

It comes following a reduction of the Swiss-Japanese LMP2 squad’s commitment, with the withdrawal of its No. 39 car. SARD-Morand’s No. 43 car remains on the entry list.

The team missed last weekend’s FIA WEC season-opening Six Hours of Silverstone due to “administrative and legal issues.” It is, however, on the entry list for next month’s Six Hours of Spa-Francorchamps but also with only one entry.

Riley, meanwhile, will make its return to Le Mans for the first time since 2013 when it fielded the Vipers as a two-car factory effort in GTE-Pro.

Bleekemolen will be joined by Ben Keating and a third to-be-announced co-driver in the TI Automotive-backed entry, which is coming off a successful shakedown at Road Atlanta last week.

“It is great to return to Le Mans. It will be my tenth time, so it is something special,” said Bleekemolen, “and to do it with a Viper is super!”

“We knew we had a chance, being the first reserve entry, but nothing is certain until you get the confirmation. The team is working hard to prepare, we even tested the car already.”

“Obviously we’ll try go get a decent result. Our third driver isn’t one that brings money, but simply the best available driver. Winning the race is our aim, but it won’t be easy to do that.”

Five reserve cars remain on the entry list, with the No. 49 KCMG Oreca 05 Nissan having now been promoted to first on the list. An updated entry list can be found here.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

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