This year's Indianapolis 500 will have at least 32 drivers contending to make the starting grid for the May 26 race, the 97th running of the famed 'greatest spectacle in motorsport. (See full entry list
With Opening Day coming up on Saturday, teams are heading to Indianapolis - many of them having to jet all the way back from Brazil after Sunday's thrilling Sao Paulo Indy 300 race - in order to be ready for a full week of practice before a weekend consisting of Pole Day and Bump Day qualifying efforts.
This year's line-up will consist of three past winners of the Indy 500 and four IZOD IndyCar Series champions. Dario Franchitti and Helio Castroneves are both three-time winners of the event and both are keen to match AJ Foyt, Al Under and Rick Mears in taking a fourth victory at the 2.5-mile speedway.
Castroneves has the most appearances in the Indy 500 of the current field of active drivers with 12 starts to his name, while Franchitti is the oldest competitor currently entered in the race - he'll turn 40 the week before.
Andretti Autosport's Carlos Munoz is the youngest driver listed at the age of 21, and he is one of four rookies entered in this year's event. Along with AJ Allmendinger (Penske), Conor Daly (AJ Foyt Racing) and Tristan Vautier (Schmidt-Peterson Motorport), Munoz will have to complete the mandatory Rookie Orientation Program at Indianapolis which this year has been organised in special two-hour slots on Saturday and Sunday.
In total there are 17 Chevrolet entries listed and 16 Honda-powered cars, making 33 in all together with a matching spare 'T' car in all cases making 66 cars altogether. One car - the #40/T Ed Carpenter Racing entry - does not yet have a driver nominated.
Former winners Buddy Lazier and Buddy Rice are two drivers expected to join the field in some capacity over the next couple of weeks, with Jaques Lazier also said to be looking for a race seat. English racer Jay Howard is said to be working on a late race deal, while compatriot Katherine Legge said last week that she hadn't given up hope of making the race either.
That means there is a decent prospect of more than 33 cars vying to make the starting grid of the race, which could restore 'Bump Day' to a time of nail-biting drama once again after a lacklustre time of it in 2012 in which all entrants were guaranteed a place on the starting grid - even those struggling with the significantly under-powered Lotus engine.
Last year's polewinner Ryan Briscoe will return to Ganassi Racing for this year's event, after several seasons spent competing with Team Penske. Pippa Mann was last confirmed as having a race seat at Dale Coyne Racing, while Michel Jourdain Jr. will return to competition with Rahal Letterman Lanigan for the second year in succession.