Three additional automatic invitations to the 24 Hours of Le Mans have been secured following the conclusion of the Asian Le Mans Series season last weekend.
Nielsen Racing is set for its second Le Mans appearance, with its LMP2 trio of Matt Bell, Ben Hanley and Rodrigo Sales claiming the championship title with maximum points in all four Asian LMS races.
The same trio are set to undertake a full season of the European Le Mans Series with the British-based team.
LMP3 class champion CD Sport, meanwhile, has received an invite for use in the LMP2 class while Inception Racing, which sealed up the Asian LMS GT category title, will have the option of utilizing its auto-invite in LMP2 or GTE-Pro/Am.
The Optimum Motorsport-run operation made its Le Mans debut last year, also courtesy of an invite earned from the Asian series, swapping its McLaren 720S GT3 for a Ferrari 488 GTE Evo.
Should the team take up the entry, it would mark its second car in the race after already securing a place on the GTE-Am grid, courtesy of a partnership with Porsche privateer entrant Team Project 1 for the full FIA World Endurance Championship season.
The three teams join the previously-confirmed auto invites earned from last year’s Le Mans race (Team WRT, AF Corse), 2021 European Le Mans Series season (WRT, United Autosports, DKR Engineering, Iron Lynx and Spirit of Race) and Michelin Le Mans Cup (Iron Lynx).
Two of the three auto entries from IMSA have been confirmed, with Akin Award winner Rob Ferriol set to bring his Hardpoint squad to Le Mans in GTE-Am and LMP3 champion Riley Motorsports planning a Ferrari for GTE-Pro.
The third auto-invite from IMSA, awarded to Ben Keating for winning the Trueman Award, is expected to go to a different team with Keating already having a full-season WEC effort.
The accepted auto-invites will join the 39 full-season WEC entries, although it could be reduced by two if Peugeot does not commit to the second round of the season at Spa-Francorchamps, which is a prerequisite for its Le Mans entries in the Hypercar class.
It means there could theoretically be 53 of the 62 places on the grid confirmed if all 14 auto invites are taken up and Peugeot confirms its Le Mans plans, which both appear unlikely.