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DATE News (chronologically)
02/26/09
lmes
55 teams invited for 24 Hours of LeMans
Cars streak by S/F line in last year's event
The greatest Le Mans 24 Hours have always been the theatre of thrilling battles between works cars, and the 77th event is no exception to the rule. There will be 3 manufacturers at the start: Aston Martin, Audi and Peugeot with a total of 12 cars all out for victory.

You dreamed it: it’ll happen at Le Mans!
The Automobile Club de l’Ouest received 82 entries for the 2009 Le Mans 24 Hours, each one as deserving of an invitation as the next for the 55 places at the start. The list (see below) of the 55 entries accepted designates the teams that will be present on Wednesday 10th June, after the test day was cancelled as a cost-cutting measure in agreement with the private teams and the manufacturers. It shows the healthy state of the Le Mans 24 Hours, and the large number of potential winners in the overall classification as well as in each of the 4 categories: 21 cars in LM P1, 12 in LM P2, 8 in LM GT1 and 14 in LM GT2.

12 works prototypes in LMP1!
The major surprise on the list comes in LM P1, the top endurance category for overall victory in terms of distance, thanks to entries from 3 major manufacturers with considerable resources.

Aston Martin has chosen the 2009 race to leave the LM GT1 category (victorious in 2007 and 2008), and enter LM P1 with 3 spanking new prototype Lola-Aston Martins powered by V12 engines. The aim is to recall that 50 years ago in 1959, the Aston Martin DBR1 snatched victory from Ferrari, the out-and-out favorite at the time.

Will history repeat itself?
It’s difficult to forecast as Audi has stacked all the odds in its favor to score its ninth victory. The German manufacturer has entered 3 of the new R15s, and entrusted two of the older R10s to a private team.  The message is clear. With 5 cars Audi is out to fend off other potential winners like Aston Martin, and its most dangerous rival over the past 2 years: Peugeot. But the Lion is hungry for victory and makes no bones about it.

And this is the reason for the biggest surprise on the list of the 55 invitations: 4 Peugeot HDi FAPs including one entrusted to a private team that is an integral part of the Le Mans legend - Pescarolo Sport!

Even if the diesel has not always been in the team’s good books, nobody can contest the enormous experience and the unflagging determination of Pescarolo Sport.

It’s an exciting challenge and one that will be very popular among Le Mans 24-Hours aficionados. If Audi has a numerical advantage, the level of Peugeot’s riposte underlines its desire for revenge and victory. But the ambitions of these 3 manufacturers should not obscure the fact that so much happens in 24 hours, that all the top teams can have their stroke of luck on the day.

Among them, the know-how of the Team Oreca-Matmut must be taken into account, as the team has entered 2 very well prepared Courage-Orecas with considerable backing from the Japanese engineering company, AIM. Among the other outsiders capable of upsetting the applecart is the Pescarolo-Judd entered by Pescarolo Sport independently of the Peugeot operation, the Epsilon-Euskadi-Judd, the Ginetta-Zyteks, the Creation-Judd and the Courage-Judd from Signature, a new arrival in the world of endurance, which has built up an excellent reputation in single-seater championships. And bearing no.13 at the start will be the Speedy Racing Sebah Team’s Lola-Aston Martin powered by the V12 petrol engine, whose aim is to upset the diesels and do better than the Lola-Aston Martin’s ninth-place finish last year.

Porsche-Mazda battle in LMP2
Three Porsche RS spyders are among the entries in LM P2 including last year’s category winner (bought by the Navi Team Goh, the only Japanese team to have won the Le Mans 24 Hours in 2004 with an Audi R8).

They will be up against strong opposition in the form of 2 Lola coupes with Judd power (Racing Box SRL, Speedy Racing Team Sebah), and above all the 4 Mazda-powered cars: 2 in Lola coupes entered by the RML and KSM teams, and 2 in the Oak Racing (formerly Saulnier Racing) Pescarolo-Mazdas. Added to this battle of engines are outsiders like Zytek, Radical, AER and Ginetta-Zytek, so the battle for the top positions in LM P2 is going to be a hard-fought one!

LM GT1: still there
No, the big GT1s have not deserted Le Mans as proved by the presence of 8 cars – and what cars!

The 2 private Aston Martin DBR9s will be locked in battle with their sworn enemies, the Corvette C6.Rs (2 works entries and 2 from the Luc Alphand Adventures stable), plus 2 Lamborghini Murcielagos to add a touch of exoticism, one from Russia and one from Japan.

LM GT2: numerical advantage to Ferrari
Out of the 14 LM GT2s invited Ferrari has a numerical advantage with nine F430 GTs (including five automatically selected entries), but the 3 Porsche GT3 RSR 997s will not let the Italian cars have things all their own way.

A great scrap in perspective to which can be added a singleton Spyker Laviolette and a newcomer to the category, the V8 Aston Martin driven in particular by its well-know owner, Lord Drayson, the minister of science and innovation in the United Kingdom.

10 reserves!
Exceptionally, the number of reserves is increased from 8 to 10 cars in case of unexpected withdrawals so that the figure of 55 starters can be more easily respected. Should a reserve be called in, it will be picked in the order of the list designated R1 to R10 no matter what category is concerned by the withdrawal. Reserves will be not allowed in after 22nd May 2009. If R1, the Ferrari F430 GT entered by the Seattle Advanced Engineering team (which carries the colors of Cardiac Surgery sponsorship), is at the start, it will attract fans of the TV series “Grey’s Anatomy” as the actor Patrick Dempsey (Dr. Shepherd) will be at the wheel.

2009 Le Mans entry list:

LMP1

No Team Car
1 Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R15
3 Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R15
2 Audi Sport North America Audi R15
14 Kolles Audi R10
15 Kolles Audi R10
7 Team Peugeot Total Peugeot 908
8 Team Peugeot Total Peugeot 908
9 Peugeot Sport Total Peugeot 908
17 Pescarolo Sport Peugeot 908
16 Pescarolo Sport Pescarolo Judd
007 Aston Martin Racing Lola Aston Martin
009 Aston Martin Racing Lola Aston Martin
008 AMR Eastern Europe Lola Aston Martin
13 Speedy Racing Team Sebah Lola Aston Martin
10 Team ORECA Matmut AIM Courage-ORECA AIM
11 Team ORECA Matmut AIM Courage-ORECA AIM
6 Team LNT Ginetta Zytek
23 Strakka Racing Ginetta Zytek
12 Signature Plus Courage Judd
20 Epsilon Euskadi Epsilon Euskadi Judd
4 Creation Autosportif Creation Judd

LMP2

No

Team Car
5 Navi Team Goh Porsche RS Spyder
31 Team Essex Porsche RS Spyder
49 Vitaphone Racing Team Porsche Rs Spyder
25 RML Lola Mazda Coupe
44 KSM Lola Mazda Coupe
30 Racing Box Lola Judd Coupe
33 Speedy Racing Team Sebah Lola Judd Coupe
24 Oak Racing Pescarolo Mazda
35 Oak Racing Pescarolo Mazda
40 Quifel-ASM Team Ginetta Zytek 09S
41 Gac Racing Team Zytek 07S
26 Bruichladdich Bruneau Radical AER

GT1

No

Team Car
63 Corvette Racing Corvette C6.R
64 Corvette Racing Corvette C6.R
72 Luc Alphand Aventures Corvette C6.R
73 Luc Alphand Aventures Corvette C6.R
60 Gigawave Motorsport Ltd Aston Martin DBR9
66 Jetalliance Racing Aston Martin DBR9
55 IPB Spartak Racing Lamborghini Murcielago
68 JLOC Isao Noritake Lamborghini Murcielago

GT2

No

Team Car
76 IMSA Performance Matmut Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (997)
77 Team Felbermayer-Proton Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (997)
80 Flying Lizard Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (997)
78 AF Corse Srl Ferrari F430 GT
82 Risi Competizione Ferrari F430 GT
83 Risi Competizione Ferrari F430 GT
84 Team Modena Ferrari F430 GT
89 Hankook - Team Farnbacher Ferrari F430 GT
92 JMW Motorsport Ferrari F430 GT
96 Virgo Motorsport Ferrari F430 GT
97 BMS Scuderia Italia Ferrari F430 GT
99 JMB Racing Ferrari F430 GT
87 Drayson Racing Aston Martin V8
85 Snoras Spyker Squadron Spyker C8 Laviolette

Reserves

No

Cl Team Car
R1 GT2 Team Seattle Advanced Eng Ferrari F430 GT
R2 GT2 Endurance China Team Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (997)
R3 GT2 IMSA Performance Matmut Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (997)
R4 LMP2 Barazi Epsilon Zytek 07S
R5 LMP2 Gerard Welter Zytek
R6 LMP1 Epsilon Euskadi Epsilon Euskadi Judd
R7 GT2 Team Felbermayer-Proton Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (997)
R8 GT2 Snoras Spyker Squadron Spyker C8 Laviolette
R9 GT1 Team Larbre Competition Saleen S7R
R10 LMP2 Racing Box SRL Lola Judd Coupe

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