The Automobile Club de l'Ouest has confirmed the entry list for the 90th running of Le Mans 24 Hours as well as revealing a 32 car field for the 2013 FIA World Endurance Championship.
The WEC entry features six LMP1 cars, twelve cars in LMP2, six in GTE-Pro and eight in GTE-Am with a number of additional cars expected to join the field on a race-by-race basis.
The headline news is two car teams from both Audi and Toyota in LMP1 – the latter having been expected to only enter one car – with Rebellion Racing and Strakka Racing representing the privateer teams with single-car entries.
LMP2 sees Starworks return to defend the title it won last season, with each of the teams that competed last year again on the grid this year, albeit with the Signatech team entered under the G-Drive Racing banner. Greaves Motorsport and HVM Status GP both step up from the European Le Mans Series having contested limited WEC programmes last year.
GTE-Pro features the return of a factory Porsche team with two cars being run by Manthey Racing against two factory Aston Martins and two Ferraris from AF Corse, while Ferrari, Aston Martin, Porsche and Corvette are all represented in GTE-Am, where Larbre Competition will attempt to defend its title.
“We are extremely pleased to announce a grid of 32 full season entries for the 2013 season,” ACO president Pierre Fillon said. “2012 was a great first year for the championship and we hoped to secure between 28 and 30 cars on the list for 2013. To receive 32 full season entries underlines the importance of the WEC and a great indication that we have created a world championship that teams and manufacturers want to take part in.”
The 32 car WEC field is bolstered by a number of strong entries for Le Mans, where the 71 potential entrants has been whittled down to the 56 that are set to contest the 90th running of the famous race in June.
In LMP1, Audi will field a third car at the Circuit de la Sarthe with the other entry in the premier class coming from Rebellion Racing, which will field the car that it plans to use in the American Le Mans Series this season.
British squad JRM Racing had been expected to secure an entry before halting its plans after struggling to find the financial support needed, while OAK Racing has elected to focus on its LMP2 programme this season with new regulations coming into force in LMP1 from 2014.
While that means just eight cars in LMP1, the second prototype class will feature an impressive 22 cars with ten additional entries for the 24 Hours.
Having run strongly last year, Murphy Prototypes returns for another crack at the race and is joined by the likes of Jota Sport, Level 5 Motorsports and Sebastien Loeb Racing; the team headed by WRC champion Sebastien Loeb having earned an entry for the first time. KCMG will fly the flag for the new Asian Le Mans Series having earned an entry, while the OAK Racing, Greaves Motorsport and Signatech all add extra cars to those to have earned an entry through the WEC.
Six LMP2 cars sit on the reserve list, with Race Performance and Morand Racing heading the queue in the event of any withdrawals.
GTE-Pro features an additional five cars, the headline being a return to Le Mans for the Chrysler Viper after the SRT Motorsports team was granted two entries with the cars it debuted in the ALMS last year.
“The new SRT Viper GTS-R represents a rebirth for us in road racing by bringing an elevated level of technical sophistication to the track,” Beth Paretta, Director of Marketing and Operations SRT Brand and Motorsports, said. “The invitation to return to the 24 Heures du Mans gives SRT Motorsports and the SRT Viper GTS-R the opportunity to compete on a stage with the best sports car teams from around the world.”
The factory Corvette team will also head to Le Mans for what looks set to be a mouth-watering battle for honours, with JMW Motorsport taking up the entry it secured through the European Le Mans Series last season.
GTE-Am meanwhile adds an additional six cars to make a 14 car entry - making 25 GTE cars in total across the two classes.
Extreme Speed Motorsport and Dempsey/Del Piero Racing will both debut in the race, the latter in partnership with Proton Competition, while AF Corse, Larbre and IMSA Performance MATMUT add to their WEC entries with additional cars.
Amongst the GTE reserves are the newly-formed RAM Racing team and TRG, now running an Aston Martin programme in the USA.
The entry list is completed by the GreenGT Technologies hydrogen car, which runs as the 'Garage 56' entry in the same way as the Deltawing appeared last year.
To view the full entry for the Le Mans 24 Hours, CLICK HERE
To view the World Endurance Championship entry list, CLICK HERE