24 Hours of Le Mans – LMGTE Am Preview
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24 Hours of Le Mans – LMGTE Am Preview

Five classes will compete in the 89th 24 Hours of Le Mans – five races within the race. Twenty-three cars will line up in the LMGTE Am class where a three-way battle between Porsche, Ferrari and Aston Martin looms large.

ABSOLUTE RACING

#18 – Porsche 911 RSR-19 – Andrew Haryanto (IDN) – Alessio Picariello (BEL) – Marco Seefried (DEU)

Absolute Racing is the only team from mainland China to compete in the race this year. The team managed by Ingo Matter and Fabien Fior is determined to put on a good showing on its Le Mans début. Matter says: “The most important thing is to run clean and take advantage of any possibilities that present themselves. With a little luck on our side, we should be able to return home with a good result.” The car will be driven by Indonesian Andrew Haryanto, winner of the Lamborghini Super Trofeo in 2017, Belgian Alessio Picariello, LMGTE class winner in the 2020 European Le Mans Series, and German Marco Seefried who appeared for Dempsey-Proton Racing in a Porsche 911 RSR in 2015. The trio have competed in the Total 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps and the 6 Hours of Monza this season.

TF SPORT

#33 – Aston Martin Vantage AMR – Ben Keating (USA) – Dylan Pereira (LUX) – Felipe Fraga (BRA)
#95 – Aston Martin Vantage AMR – John Hartshorne (GBR) – Oliver Hancock (GBR) – Ross Gunn (GBR)

TF Sport is the current holder of the 24 Hours of Le Mans LMGTE Am crown. This season, the British outfit has entered the FIA WEC with the #33 Aston Martin Vantage and the European Le Mans Series with the #95. Talented bronze driver Ben Keating will team up with Felipe Fraga (two starts) and Dylan Pereira in the #33 car, while John Hartshorne, Oliver Hancock and Ross Gunn will share the #95. Team Owner Tom Ferrier says: “I hope with our car, team and drivers we can deliver the World Championship title that eluded us in 2020 and repeat the Le Mans victory.”

TEAM PROJECT 1

#46 – Porsche 911 RSR-19 – Dennis Olsen (NOR) – Anders Buchardt (NOR) – Robert Foley (USA)
#56 – Porsche 911 RSR-19 – Egidio Perfetti (NOR) – Matteo Cairoli (ITA) – Riccardo Pera (ITA)

In 2018-19, the German outfit clinched the FIA World Endurance Trophy for GTE Am Teams in its début season in the discipline, rounding off the campaign with a class win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. To return to those early winning ways, Team Project 1 is pinning its hopes on Dennis Olsen (one start), Anders Buchardt and Robert Foley in the #46, while the #56 sister car will be driven by Egidio Perfetti (three starts), Mateo Cairoli (four starts) and Riccardo Pera (one start).

CETILAR RACING

#47 – Ferrari 488 GTE Evo – Roberto Lacorte (ITA) – Giorgio Sernagiotto (ITA) – Antonio Fuoco (ITA)

After four seasons in LMP2 with a Dallara P217-Gibson, Cetilar Racing has switched to the LMGTE Am class this season with a Ferrari 488 GTE Evo. A natural choice for this Italian outfit based in Villorba in the Province of Treviso! The all-Italian driver line-up comprises Roberto Lacorte (four starts), Giorgio Sernagiotto (four starts) and Antonio Fuocco, a pure product of the Ferrari Driver Academy who took part in the Rolex 24 at Daytona with the same team earlier this year. Boosted by its partnership with AF Corse, Cetilar Racing will be able to count on a reliable, competitive car in its quest for a LMGTE Am triumph.

AF CORSE

#54 – Ferrari 488 GTE Evo – Thomas Flohr (CHE) – Francesco Castellacci (ITA) – Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA)
#83 – Ferrari 488 GTE Evo – François Perrodo (FRA) – Nicklas Nielsen (DNK) – Alessio Rovera (ITA)

AF Corse has been ever-present in the LMGTE Am field since 2011 and is something of a benchmark in the class. Last year, the team founded by Amato Ferrari (2020 Spirit of Le Mans) won the FIA Endurance Trophy for LMGTE Am teams with its Perrodo/Nielsen/Collard line-up.  Alessio Rovera (Porsche Carrera Cup Italy winner in 2017) has replaced Emmanuel Collard this season. The Italian has already set out his stall as the rising star of LMGTE Am. Thomas Flohr (four starts), Francesco Castellacci (five starts) and former Formula One ace Giancarlo Fisichella (10 starts) will share driving responsibilities in the #54 car. In view of its track record, AF Corse is another serious contender for LMGTE Am victory.

SPIRIT OF RACE

#55 – Ferrari 488 GTE Evo – Duncan Cameron (GBR) – David Perel (ZAF) – Matthew Griffin (IRL)

For its fifth 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Swiss outfit will once again count on Duncan Cameron (four starts) and Matthew Griffin (nine starts). They will be supported this year by South African David Perel. A puncture followed by a spin in the Dunlop chicane ended the Spirit of Race Ferrari's interest in 2020.

KESSEL RACING

#57 – Ferrari 488 GTE Evo – Takeshi Kimura (JPN) – Scott Andrews (AUS) – Mikkel Jensen (DNK)

Kessel Racing’s second place in the LMGTE class in the 2020 European Le Mans Series earned the Swiss team its invite to this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans. Two years ago, the all-female line-up of Frey/Gatting/Gostner drove a Ferrari 488 GTE to 9th place in the LMGTE Am standings, while the team’s sister car finished four places further back. This time, Takeshi Kimura, Mikkel Jensen (one start) and Scott Andrews will take the wheel.

IRON LYNX

#60 – Ferrari 488 GTE Evo – Claudio Schiavoni (ITA) – Paolo Ruberti (ITA) – Raffaele Giammaria (ITA)
#80 – Ferrari 488 GTE Evo – Matteo Cressoni (ITA) – Rino Mastronardi (ITA) – Callum Ilott (GBR)
#85 – Ferrari 488 GTE Evo – Rahel Frey (CHE) – Sarah Bovy (BEL) – Michelle Gatting (DNK)

Italian team Iron Lynx is launching a three-pronged attack on the 89th 24 Hours of Le Mans. Last year, its two cars finished 9th and 11th in the LMGTE Am class. The #85 Ferrari is the car entered for Deborah Mayer’s Iron Dames project, officially backed by the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission. Rahel Frey, Michelle Gatting and Sarah Bovy are the three drivers of this entry.

JMW Motorsport

#66 – Ferrari 488 GTE Evo – Thomas Neubauer (FRA) – Rodrigo Sales (USA) – Jody Fannin (GBR)

The British team is a loyal supporter of LMGTE racing at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. It has competed 11 times, winning the LMGTE Am title in 2017. Last year, it wrapped up a largely error-free race in sixth place in the category. This time, Frenchman Thomas Neubauer will share the wheel with American Rodrigo Sales and British driver Jody Fannin.

HERBERTH MOTORSPORT

#69 – Porsche 911 RSR-19 – Robert Renauer (DEU) – Ralf Bohn (DEU) – Rolf Ineichen (CHE)

Herberth Motorsport won the 2021 Asian Le Mans Series GT title in its début season in endurance, picking up an invite to the 24 Hours as a result.  The German team’s Porsche will be driven by Robert Renauer, Ralf Bohn and Rolf Ineichen.

INCEPTION RACING

#71 – Ferrari 488 GTE Evo – Brendan Iribe (USA) – Ollie Millroy (GBR) – Ben Barnicoat (GBR)

Inception Racing won its place on the grid on the back of its performance in the 2021 Asian Le Mans Series, where it finished fourth in the GT class. The British team run by Optimum Motorsport and managed by Bas Leinders (three 24 Hours of Le Mans starts) has never appeared at the classic French marathon before. Leinders is thrilled at the prospect: “It is just a wonderful feeling to go back to the 24 Hours of Le Mans especially as it was not planned, and we were awarded this chance by our excellent performance in the Asian Le Mans Series.” The #71 Ferrari will have the same trio of drivers as for the Asian Le Mans Series campaign – Brendan Iribe, Ollie Millroy and Ben Barnicoat.

DEMPSEY-PROTON RACING

#77 – Porsche 911 RSR-19 – Christian Ried (DEU) – Jaxon Evans (NZL) – Matt Campbell (AUS)
#88 – Porsche 911 RSR-19 – Julien Andlauer (FRA) – Dominique Bastien (USA) – Lance Arnold (DEU)

Dempsey-Proton Racing is a mainstay of the LMGTE Am class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and in both the FIA WEC and European Le Mans Series. This year, its two Porsche 911 RSR-19s will be tasked with doing at least as well as the #77 car that finished runner-up in the class in 2020. The German team can count on Porsche works drivers such as Matt Campbell in the #77 car and Julien Andlauer in #88. Campbell and Andlauer, partnering Christian Ried, clinched victory for Dempsey-Proton Racing in 2018.

GR RACING

#86 – Porsche 911 RSR-19 – Michael Wainwright (GBR) – Benjamin Barker (GBR) – Tom Gamble (GBR)

GR Racing, which competed under the Gulf Racing name in recent years, is making its sixth 24 Hours of Le Mans appearance this season. The British team be aiming to at least equal its best-ever result in La Sarthe when the #86 Porsche finished fifth in class last year. As usual, team owner Mike Wainwright will share the wheel with Ben Barker. This time, the third driver will be talented 19-year-old Tom Gamble, the McLaren Autosport BRDC Award Winner in 2018.

ASTON MARTIN RACING

#98 – Aston Martin Vantage AMR – Paul Dalla Lana (CAN) – Nicki Thiim (DNK) – Marcos Gomes (BRA)

Paul Dalla Lana was a member of the last Aston Martin squad to win the FIA Endurance Trophy for GTE Am teams in 2017. This year, he is back with his own team, NorthWest AMR. Dalla Lana is in his eighth WEC season, making him not only the most experienced Aston Martin driver on the grid, but also the most successful with 16 class wins while with the works team. He is joined by Dane Nicki Thiim, LMGTE Pro class winner in 2020, and the 2020 Asian Le Mans Series champion Marcos Gomes. Last year, the car was in the shake-up until it encountered suspension issues, ultimately finishing in 8th place.

PROTON COMPETITION

#99 – Porsche 911 RSR-19 – Harry Tincknell (GBR) – Vutthikorn Inthraphuvasak (THA) – Florian Latorre (FRA)

In 2020, the Proton Competition Porsche finished 12th in the LMGTE Am class.  This year, Harry Tincknell (seven starts) and Vutthikorn Inthraphuvasak (one start) will team up with French rookie Florian Latorre.

RINALDI RACING

#388 – Ferrari 488 GTE Evo – Pierre Ehret (DEU) – Christian Hook (DEU) – Jeroen Bleekemolen (NLD)

Another German outfit that received an automatic invite through its Asian Le Mans Series performance, where it finished third in the GT class. Rinaldi Racing has recruited three experienced drivers for its Le Mans début. They are Pierre Ehret (eight starts), the programme’s linchpin, Christian Hook, a member of the Asian Le Mans Series line-up, and Jeroen Bleekemolen (15 starts), who won the LMP2 class back in 2008 at the wheel of a Porsche RS Spyder fielded by Van Merksteijn Motorsport.

D’STATION RACING

#777 – Aston Martin Vantage AMR – Satoshi Hoshino (JPN) – Tomonobu Fuji (JPN) – Andrew Watson (GBR)

This Japanese team seen in the Asian Le Mans Series is also making its first 24 Hours of Le Mans start. TF Sport will provide technical support for the race. Two Japanese drivers, Satoshi Hoshino and Tomonobu Fuji, will share the wheel of the Aston Martin Vantage AMR with Andrew Watson, who has already appeared in the FIA WEC and at the 24 Hours of Le Mans with Gulf Racing.

Check out the full entry list for the 89th 24 Hours of Le Mans.