The ACO (Automobile Club de l’Ouest) has published the list of the 60 competitors it has invited to contest this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours. Michelin, which is unbeaten in the French endurance classic since 1998, is targeting a 21st consecutive victory this time around, and its 27th in total since the race was first organised in 1923.
Even in the absence of Audi and Porsche, who have monopolised the last eight Le Mans victories between them, this year’s mouth-watering LM P1 entry features no fewer than 10 prototypes, all of which will be running on Michelin rubber.
Toyota Gazoo Racing, whose bid to secure Le Mans glory for the first time will be spearheaded by two TS 050 Hybrids, will face competition from five teams who have entered non-hybrid LM P1 cars in an attempt to steal the limelight from the Japanese make. Their ranks include such illustrious names as Oreca, Gibson, Nismo and Mecachrome, along with drivers of the calibre of André Lotterer and Mickhail Aleshin.
The LM GTE Pro field will be represented by six different carmakers and 17 cars, all on Michelin tyres. Ford and Porsche will have four cars apiece, while Ferrari will have three AF Corse-run 488 GTEs. BMW is making its return to La Sarthe with a pair of new M8s, Aston Martin Racing will have two latest-generation Vantages and the list is rounded out by Corvette’s brace of C7.Rs.
Meanwhile, Michelin faces fierce competition in the LM P2 and LM GTE Am classes which boast 20 and 13 cars respectively. The Ligier JSP217s run by Paniz-Barthez Compétition, IDEC Sport and Larbre Compétition will race on Michelin tyres and the French firm will also supply a number of LM GTE Am contenders (Ferrari 488 GTE, Porsche 911 RSR, Aston Martin Vantage).
The list of entries for the 2018/2019 FIA World Endurance Championship Super Season has been revealed, too, and the field of 36 cars is the biggest since the WEC’s creation in 2012. Michelin will be active in the LM P1 and LM GTE Pro classes.