Mardi 25 janvier 2005. 15 concurrents ayant déjà été désignés par la nouvelle procédure des « sélectionnés d’office au titre de leurs résultats 2004 * » à la mi-janvier, le Comité de sélection va donc avoir la lourde tâche d’examiner les dossiers complémentaires et de se prononcer, en vue de compléter le plateau.
* Champion-Racing (Audi) en LM P1 ; Courage Compétition (Courage), Intersport Racing (Lola et Courage), Miracle Motorsports (Courage), Pierre Bruneau (Pilbeam) et Rachel Welter (WR) en LM P2 ; Acemco Motorsports (Saleen), BMS Scuderia Italia (Ferrari 550 Maranello), Corvette Racing (deux Corvette C6 – R), Larbre Compétition (Ferrari 550 Maranello) en GT 1 ; White Lightning (Porsche 911), Flying Lizard Motorsports (Porsche 911), Sebah Automotive Ltd (Porsche 911) en GT 2.
71 entries in 2003, 77 in 2004 and 78 for the 73rd Le Mans 24 Hours: the figures confirm the growing number of entries for the greatest endurance race in the world.
Halfway through January fifteen teams had already been accepted according to the pre-selection criteria that took into account their 2004 results (*). The Selection Committee now has the tough job of studying the additional entry forms and then announce the complete field. It will meet at the end of February to draw up a provisional list after which it will inspect the new models like Lola in LM P2 and Aston Martin in GT 1 that will appear at the opening round of the ALMS, the Sebring 12-Hour race on 19th March, The official list of the 50 cars selected for the Test Day on 5th June and the race on 18th and 19th June will then be published at the end of March. Eight reserves (2 more than in 2004) will also be designated and they will know their fate by 27th May 2005 at the latest.
Last year the prototypes dominated (40 LM P1s and P2s as against 37 GTSs and GTs) and this year the tendency has been inversed: 19 LM P1s and 18 LM P2s – 37 protos - and 41 Grand Touring cars made up of 15 GT 1s and 26 GT 2s.
Even before the official list is announced, the prospect of hard-fought duels in all categories is enough to make the enthusiast’s blood race. How many Pescarolos will take the fight to the French Audi entered by Oreca to challenge the two Champion R8s from the USA ? How many Courages will be out to defend the local make’s colours against the assault of the Lolas in LM P2? Will Aston Martin be able to mix it with the Ferraris and Corvettes in GT 1? Will the White Lightning Porsche continue to dominate GT 2 ? First response on paper at the end of March and the final answer on the track in mid-June!.
(*) Champion-Racing (Audi) in LM P1 ; Courage Competition (Courage), Intersport Racing (Lola and Courage), Miracle Motorsport (Courage), Pierre Bruneau (Pilbeam) and Rachel Welter (WR) in LM P2 ; Acemo Motorsports (Saleen), BMW Scuderia Italia (Ferrari F550 Maranello), Corvette Racing (2 Corvette C6-Rs) Larbre Competition (Ferrari F550 Maranello) in GT 1 ; White Lightning (Porsche 911), Flying Lizard Motorsports (Porsche 911), Sebah Automotive Ltd (Porsche 911) in GT 2.