The ACO dropped the entry list for the 2020 running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans on Friday, and it’s not exactly encouraging. While this race marks the end of the LMP1 era, which has produced some truly prodigious racing in the last decade, it’s going out on an extremely low note. Just six entries—two Toyotas, two Rebellions, and two Ginettas—will make up the entire P1 field, less than 10% of the whole 62-car shooting match. From the highest of highs to the lowest of lows in just a handful of years.
The ByKolles team was planning to run the 24 hour endurance classic with the same car that took part in the 2018/19 season, but it was only awarded the second position on the alternates list by the sanctioning body. Absolutely brutal move by the ACO, if you ask me. And a third Ginetta chassis was planned to make the list, but the entry failed to materialize. Also, Toyota declined to fill their third grid entry offered. So here we are, six cars.
In similarly poor news, the factory-backed GTE Pro category has fallen from an all-time high of 17 entries last year to just eleven. With Ford and BMW gone, this class is held up by the four legs of Porsche, Corvette, Aston Martin, and Ferrari.
While it is encouraging that the privateer teams in LMP2 and GTE Am stepped up to the plate with more entries this year than in 2019 [24 and 20 entries respectively] it’s some real shit that the factory-backed pro entries are dropping like flies. We saw a decline in entries as the recession hit in the mid-2000s, and things are starting to look a bit on the dire side. Is this the start of a downward trend, or will things rebound next year when the new LMDh regulations come into play? Hypercar isn’t looking so hot, but maybe the IMSA-sourced DPi class cars will help bolster entries in 2021.
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The final slot on the entry list is the Garage 56 entry reserved for a team using some kind of motorsport innovation. This year that slot has been taken up by the SRT41 team of three differently abled drivers in an LMP2 Oreca. This team is led by quadruple amputee Frederic Sausset, who last competed at Le Mans in 2016.
The 24 Hours of Le Mans is set for June 13th and 14th. You can view the full entry list here.