The ACO has announced the full entry list for the 2021 24 Hours of Le Mans, with a bumper 62-car grid set to include the return of Corvette and the debut of Toyota and Glickenhaus’s Le Mans Hypercar (LMH) efforts.
The new mid-engined C8 Corvette has already been racing in the American IMSA series for a year, after making its debut at the 2020 Daytona 24 Hours, but the team pulled out of the delayed 2020 Le Mans 24 Hours due to travel restrictions in place due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The news that Corvette will return will help to bolster a flagging GT grid at Le Mans, which has been dwindling over the last few years after withdrawals from Ford, BMW and Aston Martin. It means the GTE Pro category will now have three manufacturers competing for victory – Porsche, Ferrari and Corvette.
The second LMP2 category will see 25 cars go head-to-head, with 11 in the new LMP2 Pro-Am sub category for teams with a bronze driver. The headline news from LMP2 is that Risi Competitzione, recently more famous for running Ferrari GT cars in IMSA, will make its P2 debut with former Audi and current Mazda factory driver Oliver Jarvis at the wheel of an Oreca 07. Of the 25 cars entered only two teams are not using the dominant Oreca 07 chassis, with the new Racing Team India and returning ARC Bratislava teams choosing to enter Ligier JS P217s.
A total of 24 cars are entered into the GTE Am class, for year old cars with bronze drivers, including the only Aston Martin Vantages in the race. With so few factory GTE Pro entries in the WEC in 2021, expect to see several high-profile GT drivers racing in GTE Am cars, or stepping up to LMP2 cars in an attempt to find a seat in the expanded LMH class as more manufacturers arrive in the coming years.
The final entry to the list is the first car to enter Le Mans’s Innovative Car class for five years. The class, known as ‘Garage 56’ after its place in the old pre-expanded Le Mans pits, comes from Frederic Sausset, who was the last person to race a Garage 56 entry in 2016. Then Sausset became the first quadruple amputee to race and finish the Le Mans 24 Hours in a specially-adapted Morgan-Nissan LMP2 car. This time Sausset will not be driving, but is the force behind a new entry for two disable drivers. Nigel Bailly and Takuma Aoki, both paralyzed from the waist down, will race an adapted Oreca 07 alongside LMP3 race winner Francois Heriau. The pair are already silver ranked and have raced a modified LMP3 Ligier several times together over the last few years.