Even as the Automobile Club de l'Ouest prepared to reveal the full list of drivers competing at this year's Le Mans 24 Hours, the entry list was undergoing another late change.
In all, 168 drivers from 26 countries will be looking to get behind the wheel when the 2014 event starts on 14 June, but the Lotus line-up will not be amongst them, as the team has now officially withdrawn and been replaced by Millennium Racing.
The team cites a 'lack of preparation' as the reason for being unable to honour its invitation, despite the ACO having worked hand-in-hand with it in a bid to ensure its participation.
The outfit, which intends to step up to the LMP1 L class - a category within LMP1 for privateer non-Hybrid cars - this season, had been due to run at Silverstone with former F1 driver Christijan Albers, Thomas Holzer and James Rossiter at the wheel. However, a late change of engine supplier caused delays for the project, with the decision to work with AER leaving Lotus with no choice but to initially delay its debut until the second round at Spa in May. When that outing failed to materialise, there were question marks raised over its participation at La Sarthe, culminating in today's announcement that it will not be racing in France next month.
Lotus now hopes to exhibit its brand new LMP1 machine at Le Mans during the week of the 24 Hours, and may take part in the final rounds of the FIA World Endurance Championship, starting with the Circuit of the Americas on 20 September.
The Lotus will be replaced by the #22 Millennium Racing ORECA 03-Nissan driven by Fabien Giroix, John Martin and Oliver Turvey.
Giroix will form part of the biggest national contingent in the race, with 39 Frenchman easily out-stripping the 29 British, 17 American and 15 Italian drivers on the entry. There is also a considerable Russian presence, with eight pilots, and at least one Swiss driver in the teams entered in LMP1. Of the four categories, the one with the biggest number of different licences is GTE Am, which features 19 nationalities.
In terms of class sizes, the latest list of entries consists of nine LMP1s, 19 LMP2s, nine in LM GTE Pro and 18 in LM GTE Am, as well as the Nissan ZEOD, which is entered under the Garage 56 rule for experimental technologies.
For the latest 2014 Le Mans 24 Hours entry list, CLICK HERE