LMGTE Pro: six marques for one title
Only one manufacturer can claim the top step of the LMGTE Pro podium, meaning five others will be disappointed. BMW is back with a vengeance this year, fielding two cars opposite strong competition and hoping to replicate Ford’s 2016 comeback, with a win first time out.
The Bavarian brand’s new M8 GTE looks set to be a formidable rival for the other big-name competitors. The road version of the BMW will be launched during the race, while the world’s eyes are on Le Mans. The four Fords of Chip Ganassi Racing and three Ferrari 488s entered by AF Corse are sure to put up a good fight, both teams having placed cars on the podium in the first round of the FIA World Endurance Championship 2018-19 Super Season at Spa-Francorchamp. BMW should also beware of the four tried-and-tested Porsche 911 RSRs, in their second year in competition and no doubt hungry for victory given that their last class win at Le Mans was back in 2013. Defending champion Aston Martin will be wielding two all-new Vantage AMRs and no doubt as tough to beat as ever.
The winner is anyone’s guess at this stage and, if last year is anything to go by, may well remain uncertain until the closing laps.
At the wheel of these mean machines, a line-up that reads like a hall of fame. Porsche has former outright winners Romain Dumas, Timo Bernhard, Nick Tandy and Earl Bamber, no less. Impressive, but then Aston Martin has the solid experience of Darren Turner, Ferrari boasts Toni Vilander, Chevrolet Corvette Oliver Gavin and Jan Magnussen, while Ford is counting on Dirk Müller and Sébastien Bourdais – all of whom are Le Mans class winners. Martin Tomczyk and Augusto Farfus will lead BMW’s onslaught.
LMGTE Am: amateurs take on the pros
In true Le Mans spirit, this class gives amateurs the chance to pit their driving skills against world-class drivers who race, and often win, for a living. This year, thirteen “gentlemen drivers” will be taking the wheel in a field comprising six Porsche 911 RSRs, five Ferrari 488 GTEs and two Aston Martin Vantages.
The crews of Dempsey Proton Racing, Proton Competition, Gulf Racing, TF Sport, Aston Martin Racing and JMW Motorsport all include two amateur drivers whose talents deserve every respect. Last year’s winner JMW Motorsport and frontman Liam Griffin will be keen to return to the podium but the rest of the field is unlikely to leave the way clear!