BMS Scuderia Italia's automatic entry into this year's Le Mans 24 Hours has been withdrawn by the team, which cited its focus on the FIA GT Championship as the main reason with dropping out.

BMS, who operates Ferrari 550 Maranellos leased from Care Racing Development, had earned its slot on the Le Mans entry list by virtue of its 2003 FIA GT title, but has now opted to relinquish the position in order to concentrate on retaining the year-long crown. Team manager Tiziano Minuti also explained that a lack of resources and time would have hindered the work needed to change one of its cars from FIA to ACO specification for the long-distance race.

"At the moment, the technical rules for two series are not the same, and it takes time, people and money to be able to make the changes," he reasoned, "It is not impossible, but much more difficult when resources have already been allocated to a championship which, this year, has an additional round outside Europe and races either side of the official Le Mans test weekend.

"Like every other team, we would very much like to take part in the world's most prestigious endurance race, but, this year, we preferred to concentrate our efforts on the FIA GT Championship."

Although it already has three cars in the race, to be run by Prodrive and Larbre Competition, Care Racing is still hopeful of completing a quartet of entries. Negotiations are taking place with a number of teams and drivers with a view to finding someone to run the fourth entry.

"We are still talking to a lot of people, and have not given up on having four cars at Le Mans," Care founder Frederic Dor confirmed, "There is still time yet and I really hope we will be able to finalise something soon."

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