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Pre-Le Mans Entries Contribute to Increased 38-Car Monza Grid

WEC grid increases to 38 cars for Monza, final round before 24H Le Mans in August…

Photo: Dirk Bogaerts/SRO

Pre-24 Hours of Le Mans entries from the likes of Rinaldi Racing, Inception Racing and Risi Competizione have contributed to an enlarged 38-car FIA World Endurance Championship grid for the third round of the season at Monza next month.

The provisional entry list published on Tuesday includes a substantial 17 cars for the GTE-Am category and five entries in the top Hypercar class, thanks to the arrival of the No. 708 Glickenhaus SCG 007C which is skipping next weekend’s round at Portimao.

The total entry is set to be the largest of the season so far, after 35 cars signed up for the 6 Hours of Spa in May followed by 32 for the upcoming eight-hour race in Portugal.

GT3 regulars Rinaldi and Inception, which is run by Optimum Motorsport, will each bring a Ferrari 488 GTE Evo to Monza, which marks the last WEC round before Le Mans on August 21-22. Risi Competizione raises the LMP2 car count to a dozen entries.

Both Rinaldi and Inception are preparing for their respective Le Mans debuts, while Risi is set to run an Oreca 07 Gibson for the first time after several GTE-Pro participations.

Jeroen Bleekemolen will captain Rinaldi’s lineup alongside Bronze-rated competitors Christian Hook and the previously-announced Pierre Ehret.

Inception Racing’s Le Mans trio of Ben Barnicoat, Ollie Millroy and Brendan Iribe will share the No. 71 Ferrari. Optimum tested a Kessel Racing Ferrari at Mugello last month.

Kessel is also represented on the Monza grid with the CarGuy Am-class Ferrari of Mikkel Jensen, David Fumanelli and Takeshi Kimura that will also contest the Portimao race.

Kimura recently told Japanese publication Sankei Sports that he also intends to enter the 6 Hours of Fuji after Le Mans.

Another additional Ferrari will be brought by AF Corse, with Simon Mann and Christoph Ulrich the first two named drivers named so far. The Italian manufacturer will be represented by a total of 11 vehicles at its home race across GTE-Am and GTE-Pro.

Mann and Ulrich’s AF Corse entry is on the Le Mans reserve list, where they are named alongside Sergey Sirotkin. The ex-F1 driver is not mentioned on the Monza sheet.

As expected, Andrew Haryanto and Alessio Picariello will return to the No. 88 Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR-19. Team Project 1 is anticipated to bring both of its full-season Porsches after the No. 46 was scratched from the Portimao event.

As announced a few weeks ago, American outfit Risi Competizione will compete in Italy with IMSA DPi stars Felipe Nasr and Oliver Jarvis teaming up with Ryan Cullen.

Elsewhere in the LMP2 field, only Tatiana Calderon and Sophia Floersch are shown in Richard Mille Racing’s Oreca while Beitske Visser is absent.

Renger van der Zande, Filipe Albuquerque and Loic Duval are poised to return to their respective LMP2 teams after skipping the 8 Hours of Portimao due to a date clash with the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship meeting at Detroit Belle Isle.

Additionally, there is a TBA driver slot alongside Oliver Webb and Miro Konopka in the ARC Bratislava Ligier JS P217 Gibson.

Toyota Gazoo Racing and Alpine Endurance Team have unchanged Hypercar driver trios for Monza, while the pilots of the Glickenhaus SCG 007Cs are yet to be declared.

Glickenhaus is making its WEC debut next weekend with one car for Romain Dumas, Richard Westbrook and Ryan Briscoe but is due to have both its planned entries at Monza.

The GTE-Pro entry for Monza features the expected full-season cars and driving pairs from Porsche and Ferrari.

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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