Finally, Le Mans Entry List Day has arrived, allowing us to see how seriously Porsche is taking their attempt to win the prestigious event this year. It seems like they are treating it quite seriously. The major news today is that Porsche will enter the Hypercar class with a full three-car factory-backed entry consisting of three Porsche 963s operated by Penske. Four Porsche 963s will compete for the overall win, as Hertz Team Jota’s entry in the class (seen above) was also confirmed today. Porsche running one-fourth of the 16 vehicles in the Hypercar class is a commendable effort. Cadillac will submit three vehicles, while Toyota, Ferrari, Peugeot, Glickenhaus, and Toyota will each enter two vehicles. The alleged Floyd Vanwall Racing Team will only enter one vehicle.
Dane Cameron, Michael Christensen, and Frederic Makowiecki will be competing in the 24-hour race in the #5 Porsche. Kevin Estre, Andre Lotterer, and Laurens Vanthoor are the driver team in the sibling #6 car, the other full-season vehicle. In recognition of Porsche’s 75th anniversary as a company, the third factory entry, #75, presently only has IMSA champion Felipe Nasr with two further drivers to be announced. I’d want to see Mathieu Jaminet in the car, at the very least, after the recent Daytona 24. Maybe with Dane Cameron or Nick Tandy.
The three drivers for the Jota Sport team were also revealed. The other two drivers hadn’t yet been verified, but we already knew that the Chinese driver Yifei Ye would be traveling with us. The fact that McLaren test/development driver Will Stevens and Porsche Formula E driver Antonio Felix da Costa will take the wheel for Jota is not entirely unexpected. Both have exceptional potential, and they were a part of the driver squad that, in LMP2 with Jota, won Le Mans and the WEC championship the previous year. It’s difficult to wager against them, thus.
The legendary Porsche 911 RSR (19) will once again make up the GTE Am division in its final season on earth. GTE Am will continue to compete in the FIA WEC and Le Mans next year despite the fact that GTE Pro has been eliminated in favor of a new GT3 regulation class. Proton Competition will enter four vehicles in the class, including actor Michael Fassbender’s factory-supported vehicle #911 in the class. The recently established AO Racing, which has partnered with Project 1 to enter the class with tech impresario PJ Hyett and Gunnar Jeannette, as well as adding Porsche-favored (albeit not factory) driver Matteo Cairoli for a full lineup, is an intriguing arrival to the class. Together with the sister (pun intended) team the Iron Dames, an all-female team made up of Sarah Bovy, Michelle Gatting, and Rahel Frey, Iron Lynx will run a 911 RSR in the class.
If the second Glickenhaus doesn’t show up, the Vanwall isn’t ready in time, or any of the astounding 45 privateer entries on the list suffer troubles, the second Team Project 1 vehicle, which is fifth on the reserve list, might conceivably be elevated to the main event.
Whatever the case, this race is going to be fantastic. I don’t know about you, but I’m eager to watch Porsche compete at the pinnacle of the sport once more after the 919 Hybrid’s retirement in 2017.