24 Hours of Le Mans - LMP2 Class Preview
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24 Hours of Le Mans - LMP2 Class Preview

Five classes will compete in the 89th 24 Hours of Le Mans – five races within the race. With 25 prototypes (23 Oreca 07-Gibsons and two Ligier JS P217-Gibsons) on the starting line, LMP2 will be the largest class on the grid. Brilliant teams and star drivers form the glittering cast of LMP2.

RICHARD MILLE RACING TEAM

#1 – Oreca 07-Gibson – Tatiana Calderón (COL) – Sophia Flörsch (DEU) – Beitske Visser (NLD)

After a successful début European Le Mans Series campaign that earned them 10th place in the final championship standings, coupled with a remarkable performance in the 2020 24 Hours of Le Mans (9th in the LMP2 class), the watchmaker’s all-female trio of drivers is back at Le Mans and taking on the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). The line-up for the #1 Oreca 07-Gibson remains unchanged: Beitske Visser, Sophia Flörsch and Tatiana Calderón, three experienced single-seater drivers. As in 2020, Philippe Sinault’s Signatech team will provide technical support.

IDEC SPORT

#17 – Oreca 07-Gibson – Dwight Merriman (USA) – Kyle Tilley (GBR) – Ryan Dalziel (GBR) – Pro/Am
#48 – Oreca 07-Gibson – Paul Lafargue (FRA) – Paul-Loup Chatin (FRA) – Patrick Pilet (FRA)

The French team is entering two cars for its fifth participation. Both prototypes are running a full European Le Mans Series campaign. IDEC SPORT has already shown good pace at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, taking pole position in LMP2 in 2018. “Judging by past performance, including a spectacular recovery from behind last year, we will be looking to progress a step further. But you have to remember that this is Le Mans. Everyone knows that a tiny hitch can cause an upset. One thing is for sure, we will lap up every second, and make sure the same special atmosphere that reigns over this team”, says team head Patrice Lafargue. The #17 entry is a joint venture with American outfit Era Motorsport.

HIGH CLASS RACING

#20 – Oreca 07-Gibson – Dennis Andersen (DNK) – Ricky Taylor (USA) – Marco Sørensen (DNK) – Pro/Am
#49 – Oreca 07-Gibson – ANDERS Fjordbach (DNK) – Jan Magnussen (DNK) – Kevin Magnussen (DNK)

This is the second 24 Hours of Le Mans for the Danish team, with two Oreca 07-Gibsons. In the #49, former Formula One driver Kevin Magnussen is teamed with his father Jan (four-time winner of the GT class and 22 Le Mans starts) and Anders Fjordbach. “Le Mans is the world’s greatest race and I can’t imagine a bigger deal than to take part it in with my father. We will be racing together for the first time and it is also my first Le Mans. We set out to put together a trophy-worthy team and I think we’ve managed it”, says Kevin Magnussen. Last year at Le Mans, High Class Racing was forced to retire with gearbox issues. This season, the Danish outfit is competing in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) with an Oreca 07-Gibson driven by Magnussen Sr, Fjordbach and Dennis Andersen.

DRAGONSPEED USA

#21 – Oreca 07-Gibson – Henrik Hedman (SWE) – Juan Pablo Montoya (COL) – Ben Hanley (GBR) – Pro/Am

The Indianapolis-based outfit already has four 24 Hours of Le Mans starts to its name, with a best result of fifth place in LMP2 on 2018. Former winner of the Monaco Grand Prix and the Indianapolis 500 Miles (IndyCar) Juan Pablo Montoya is the team’s star driver. This season DragonSpeed is running both FIA WEC and European Le Mans Series campaigns.
Of the two Oreca 07-Gibsons entered last year, one finished 12th in LMP2 and the other suffered ignition problems.

UNITED AUTOSPORTS USA & UNITED AUTOSPORTS

#22 – Oreca 07 – Philip Hanson (GBR) – Fabio Scherer (CHE) – Filipe Albuquerque (PRT)
#23 – Oreca 07 – Paul Di Resta (GBR) – Alex Lynn (GBR) – Wayne Boyd (GBR)
#32 – Oreca 07 – Nicolas Jamin (FRA) – Jonathan Aberdein (ZAF) – Manuel Maldonado (VEN)

The Anglo-American outfit not only won the LMP2 class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the FIA Endurance Trophy for LMP2 Teams in FIA WEC, but also completed a clean sweep of LMP2 and LMP3 driver and team titles in the European Le Mans Series. As a result, the team received five invitations for the 89th 24 Hours of Le Mans! The three United Autosports Oreca 07-Gibsons are already the cars to beat. “It will be fascinating to see how the crews come together but Zak [Brown, team owner and CEO of McLaren Racing] and the whole team have put a considerable effort into this. It’s a long race and I hope that our experience will tip the balance. I think we have our chances for a podium place. That’s what we’re aiming for”, says Paul Di Resta.

PR1 MOTORSPORTS MATHIASEN

#24 – Oreca 07-Gibson – Patrick Kelly (USA) – Gabriel Aubry (FRA) – Simon Trummer (CHE) – Pro/Am

This team will be making its Le Mans 24 Hours debut this year. The Californian squad have been competing fulll-time in the American Le Mans Series (formerly the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship) since 2010. An invitation to the 24 Hours of Le Mans was extended when Patrick Kelly won the Jim Trueman Award for the best-placed amateur driver in the championship. Gabriel Aubry and Simon Trummer, both LMP2 specialists, join Kelly at the wheel of the Oreca. Panis Racing will provide technical support for this team.

G-DRIVE RACING

#25 – Aurus 01-Gibson – John Falb (USA) – Roberto Merhi (ESP) – Rui Andrade (PRT) – Pro/Am
#26 – Aurus 01-Gibson – Roman Rusinov (RAF) – Franco Colapinto (ARG) – Nyck De Vries (NLD)

G-Drive Racing has claimed many a FIA WEC victory, including a championship win in 2015, not to mention three European Le Mans Series titles on the trot 2016–18. However, success at the 24 Hours of Le Mans has eluded them so far.  With three fast drivers crewing the #26 Aurus 01-Gibson – namely Roman Rusinov, Franco Colapinto and current Formula E world champion Nyck De Vries – this could be the year. The #25 is aiming for the Pro/Am podium.

JOTA

#28 – Oreca 07-Gibson – Sean Gelael (IDN) – Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) – Tom Blomqvist (GBR)

#38 – Oreca 07-Gibson – Roberto González (MEX) – Antonio Felix Da Costa (PRT) – Anthony Davidson (GBR)

The British team boasts an impressive record: seven podium finishes including two wins. Second in LMP2 last year, JOTA will be drawing on its experienced drivers and knowledge of Goodyear tyres to aim for victory. Formula One driver Stoffel Vandoorne leads the #28 line-up, teamed with Sean Gelael and Tom Blomqvist. Former Toyota Gazoo Racing LMP1 driver Anthony Davidson shares the wheel of the #38 with Roberto González (four starts) and Antonio Felix Da Costa (three starts).

RACING TEAM NEDERLAND

#29 – Oreca 07-Gibson – Frits van Eerd (NLD) – Giedo van der Garde (NLD) – Job van Uitert (NLD) – Pro/Am

Last year in FIA WEC Racing Team Nederland finished on the podium four times, including victory in Fuji. The Dutch team seems to have passed an important milestone and with the new Pro/Am category in LMP2 is a serious contender for the championship title and triumph at Le Mans. Flying the flag for the Netherlands, the team make no secret of their ambitions at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Giedo van der Garde and Job van Uitert will no doubt demonstrate their usual prowess on track.

DUQUEINE TEAM

#30 – Oreca 07-Gibson – René Binder (AUT) – Guillermo Rojas (MEX) – Tristan Gommendy (FRA)

A European Le Mans Series contender this year, Duqueine has already competed twice in the French endurance classic. Last year’s race ended with a crash-out in the first chicane on the Mulsanne Straight but this year the French team is set to deliver a solid, well-paced performance. The line-up is experienced: stalwart Tristan Gommendy (11 starts with one win) is back with the team, sharing the #30 with René Binder (two starts) and Guillermo Rojas (five starts). Engineer Greg Wheeler is impressively capped too – having worked with Eurasia Motorsport, Graff, Rebellion Racing and Jackie Chan DC Racing.

TEAM WRT

#31 – Oreca 07-Gibson – Robin Frijns (NLD) – Ferdinand Habsburg (AUT) – Charles Milesi (FRA)

#41 – Oreca 07-Gibson – Robert Kubica (POL) – Louis Delétraz (CHE) – Yifei Ye (CHN)

After two victories at the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, the Belgian team is ready to take on the 24 Hours of Le Mans in LMP2. Entered for both the European Le Mans Series and the FIA WEC, Team WRT made a thumping start to the season with victories at the 4 Hours of Barcelona and Red Bull Ring. Vincent Vosse’s team is among the favourites for the LMP2 title at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The #41 crew features former Formula One driver Robert Kubica, Louis Delétraz (with Rebellion Racing in 2020) and Yifei Ye.

INTER EUROPOL COMPETITION

#34 – Oreca 07-Gibson – Jakub Smiechowski (POL) – Renger Van Der Zande (NLD) – Alex Brundle (GBR)

The first Polish team to enter the FIA WEC, Inter Europol Competition is not about to play a walk-on part. Managed by Sascha Fassbender, the team is looking to make its mark on the event, hence the switch to the Oreca 07 instead of the Ligier JS P217 entered for the last two seasons. The crew is solid, with Jakub Smiechowski (two starts), Renger Van Der Zande (three starts) and Alex Brundle, former United Autosports driver who has seven starts including a win to his name. With its yellow and green neon livery the #34 will certainly stand out on track.

SO24-DIROB BY GRAFF

#39 – Oreca 07-Gibson – Vincent Capillaire (FRA) – Arnold Robin (FRA) – Maxime Robin (FRA) – Pro/Am

SO24 (Sarthe Objectif 24) has been helping local drivers realise their dream of taking part in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. This year is particularly special because all three drivers are from Le Mans: Vincent Capillaire (seven starts) and brothers Arnold and Maxime Robin. All three were even born in the clinic just outside the circuit at the Tertre Rouge corner! Their European Le Mans Series campaign this season has provided ample experience for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The #39 Oreca 07-Gibson will be sporting a special livery this year. The patriotic red, white and blue colour scheme takes on a new design.

ARC BRATISLAVA

#44 – Oreca 07-Gibson – Miroslav Konopka (SVK) – Oliver Webb (GBR) – Matej Konopka (SVK) – Pro/Am

A FIA WEC contender this year, the Slovakian team has two 24 Hours of Le Mans under its belt. The last one, in 2019, ended in retirement. Team owner Miroslav Konopka is passionate about endurance racing. He drove for Proton Competition in 2010 and T2M in 2006. This time he is teamed with Oliver Webb (five starts) and his own son Matej, a Le Mans rookie. The Ligier JS P217 was recently replaced by the Oreca 07. 

PANIS RACING

#65 – Oreca 07-Gibson – Julien Canal (FRA) – Will Stevens (GBR) – James Allen (AUS)

A loyal European Le Mans Series competitor, this year will be the sixth Le Mans 24 Hours for Panis Racing, the French team managed by Olivier Panis, and Sarah and Simon Abadie. Last year the Oreca 07-Gibson placed third in LMP2 and can expect to equal or better their result. The prototype will be in the hands of British driver Will Stevens (five starts), Frenchman Julien Canal (11 starts) and Australian James Allen (three starts). Tech1 Racing will be providing technical assistance.

REALTEAM RACING

#70 – Oreca 07-Gibson – Esteban Garcia (CHE) – Loïc Duval (FRA) – Norman Nato (FRA) – Pro/Am

With two European Le Mans Series campaigns in LMP3 under its belt, including a win and a podium in 2020, the Swiss outfit is now stepping up to LMP2 with an Oreca 07-Gibson. This will be its first 24 Hours of Le Mans. Esteban Garcia, driver and team owner, has recruited two experienced drivers to work with. Loïc Duval, winner with Audi in 2013 and Norman Nato, who took second place last year. Realteam Racing has its sights set on the LMP2 podium. This entry also reflects Garcia’s desire to influence racing. An entrepreneur, he supports the idea that hydrogen is a clean, sustainable solution for energy storage and is delighted to be able to use it in his real estate developments.

RACING TEAM INDIA EURASIA

#74 – Ligier JS P217-Gibson – James Winslow (GBR) – John Corbett (AUS) – Tom Cloet (BEL) – Pro/Am

Le Racing Team India Eurasia chose to enter a Ligier JS P217-Gibson for this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans. Mark Goddard’s team has four starts to its name. The #74 will be in the hands of James Winslow (four starts), John Corbett (rookie) and Tom Cloet (one start).

RISI COMPETIZIONE

#82 – Oreca 07-Gibson – Ryan Cullen (GBR) – Oliver Jarvis (GBR) – Felipe Nasr (BRA)

The Risi Competizione LMP2 entry was a surprise. The last time the team entered a prototype was in 1998 – a Ferrari 333 SP (winner of LMP1). Speed is of the essence, even in endurance, and Ryan Cullen (two starts), Oliver Jarvis (nine starts including four podiums) and Felipe Nasr (one start, and winner of the 12 Hours of Sebring) have the required pace. According to team owner Giusepe Risi (17 starts between 1998 and 2020) “racing Le Mans doesn’t age you”.

ASSOCIATION SRT41

#84 – Oreca 07-Gibson – Takuma Aoki (JPN) – Nigel Bailly (BEL) – Matthieu Lahaye (FRA)

The Innovative Car entry, this Oreca 07-Gibson is part of the LMP2 field. In 2016, team leader Frédéric Sausset became the first-ever quadruple amputee to start and finish the race and is back to show what innovation and motivation can do. This year, SRT-41 will be striving to write another page in the race’s history books by entering a line-up including drivers with disabilities. Takuma Aoki and Nigel Bailly are both paraplegic. They will be sharing driving duties with Matthieu Lahaye who has four 24 Hours of Le Mans starts under his belt. As team manager, Frédéric Sausset will be offering precious advice.

What is an LMP2?

An LMP2 car is a prototype entered by a private team and driven by a crew of professional or amateur drivers. The cars are generally designed especially for the 24 Hours of Le Mans and FIA WEC, European Le Mans Series, Asian Le Mans Series and IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship races. LMP2 cars are developed for racing only and comply with FIA rules.

Only cars that comply with the LMP2 regulations applicable since 1 January 2017 are authorised to enter the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The selling price of a new car, not including engine or homologated electronic equipment, must not exceed €483,000.

Four constructors have been granted authorisation to supply LM P2 chassis: Dallara (P217), Onroak Automotive (Ligier JS P217), Oreca (07) and Riley (MK30) are the four constructors selected to supply LM P2 chassis. Gibson is sole supplier of engines for the class.

The full entry list for the 2021 24 Hours of Le Mans.