Europe may be in the grip of austerity, but not, it seems, in the arena of endurance racing. Yesterday the organisers announced that entries for the 2013 Le Mans 24 Hours were up on the previous year.
The organisers of the Le Mans 24 Hour race, the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO), yesterday announced they had received 71 entry applications for the 2013 Le Mans 24 Hours which will take place at Circuit de la Sarthe, Le Mans, France over the weekend of June 22-23.
The ACO had received 71 entry requests for the 55 available grid spots at this year’s 90th anniversary Le Mans 24 Hours as at the deadline for entries of 12 midnight on January 16. A 56th space on the grid has already been reserved for the Green GT H2 project.
The number of entries, at 71, is the same as 2011 and an increase on last year, proving that endurance racing is in rude health despite these straitened economic times.
Commenting on the high number of applications to participate in the 90th anniversary running of the Le Mans 24 Hours, the ACO said, “The most extraordinary fact is that these 71 entries are of top-class quality: all the cars without exception could be on the starting grid of the 2013 Le Mans 24 hours if the sporting regulations didn’t limit the number of starters to 56.”
The special 56th place, ear-marked for an innovative technological project, has been allocated to the Green GT H2 prototype, a racing a car with an electric engine powered by a fuel cell fed by hydrogen. As was the case in 2012, when the Nissan Deltawing participated in the Le Mans 24 Hours, the experimental car can take part in practice and the race itself, subject to it meeting all safety criteria and performance minima set by the ACO. The 56th car is, however, outwith the main Le Mans car classifications of LMP1, LMP2 and LMGTE.
On the strength of previous proven success on the race track, a number of teams, including Audi Sport Team Joest, Oak Racing and AF Corse gain automatic entry to the 2013 Le Mans 24 Hours, spread over the main race car classifications of LMP1, LMP2 and LMGTE.
The ACO are due to announce the successful list of the remaining 55 entrants for the 2013 Le Mans 24 Hours, along with 10 reserves to cover any subsequent withdrawals, at a press conference scheduled for February 1.
A taste of the atmosphere of the 80th Le Mans 24 Hours, by former driver Sam Posey. Born in New York in 1944, he has raced the Le Mans 24 Hours twelve times.
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