Tuesday 13 June 2017

Road to Le Mans, the highlight of the Michelin Le Mans Cup

A stunning grid of 50 cars will be at the start of both Road to Le Mans races of the Michelin Le Mans Cup at Le Mans this week. 34 LMP3's and 16 GT3's will battle it out for victory in two 55 minute races on Thursday and Saturday. 

© Adrenal Media - 2016

The Michelin Le Mans cup is now in its second season and has opened its grid not only to GT3, but also to LMP3 cars. 20 cars took the start for the season opening race at Monza, which was won by Nielsen Racing (Ligier) in the LMP3 class and Lee Mowle (Mercedes) in GT3.  

For both Road to Le Mans races, the grid grows to a 50 car field, with entries from several ACO supported championships. All but one LMP3 manufacturer will have at least one car on the grid in Le Mans, except for Riley (and Dome, but their LMP3 project won't happen). 

© Sportscarglobal.com - Kelvin Pope

In LMP3, 29 Nissan powered Ligier JSP3's will face competition with 3 Norma M30's an Adess 03 and a Ginetta P3-15. The 15 full season entries are joined by 11 cars from the European Le Mans Series and a Ginetta from the Asian Le Mans Series.  Graff will be in Le Mans with 4 Ligiers, followed by Duquiene Engineering with 3 cars. Other teams entering more than one car are United Autosport (3), RLR M Sport (2), M. Racing YMR (2), DKR Engineering (3) and Eurointernational (2). 

© Sportscarglobal.com - Kelvin Pope

The DKR Engineering Norma M30 took the first ever pole position for the French manufacturer in LMP3 at Monza last month. From the prologue on, the Norma already showed some outright speed, it will be interesting to see if they can dominate the Ligiers at Le Mans with its long straights and high speed sections. 

In GT3, the 5 full season Michelin Le Mans Cup entrants will be joined by 11 other competitors. In total 8 different constructors will have one or more cars on the grid. Porsche leads the entries with four 911 GT3's ahead of Ferrari and Mercedes with 3 cars on the grid. McLaren and Lamborghini will see 2 cars racing around La Sarthe, followed by a single Audi and Aston Martin. 

© Sportscarglobal.com - Kelvin Pope

Action for the Road to Le Mans races will start Wednesday evening at 20.30h with the first practice session. Thursday will be very busy for the teams with a second hour long practice session at 09.00h, qualifying from 13.30h on and the first 55 minute race on Thursday afternoon at 17.30h. The second race will be green flagged on Saturday at 11.30h. 

Road to Le Mans entry list
Road to Le Mans timing

Kristof Vermeulen.
Pictures: Sportscarglobal/Kelvin Pope & Adrenal Media