Tuesday 23 April 2019

MLMC/Le Mans: 50 cars on the grid for the 2019 Road to Le Mans race

Curtain-raiser to the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the third round of the Michelin Le Mans Cup, the 2019 Road to Le Mans boasts an impressive 50-car grid of 17 GT3s and 33 LMP3s, including 34 cars from the Michelin Le Mans Cup, 12 cars from the European Le Mans Series and participants from the Asian Le Mans Series and the FIA World Endurance Championship. 

The glittering GT3 cast comprises Mercedes, Ferrari, Bentley, Lamborghini, Aston Martin and Porsche, with Ligier and Norma in LMP3. Managed by the Automobile Club de l’Ouest and its event organisation branch Le Mans Endurance Management, the Michelin Le Mans Cup is a series for both GT3s and LMP3s run alongside the European Le Mans Series at Le Castellet, Monza, Barcelona, Spa and Portimão stages. 

Racing often runs in the family and Road to Le Mans welcomes Yann Ehrlacher, son of Cathy Muller and nephew of Yvan Muller, Freddie Hunt, son of 1976 Formula One world champion James Hunt, two drivers that will represent Frédéric Sausset’s team and finally Jan Lammers, who celebrated his 24th Le Mans 24 Hours last year and who took part to the first edition of Road To Le Mans in 2016. 

Road to Le Mans takes he form of two 55-minute races on the Thursday and Saturday immediately before the 24 Hours of Le Mans, taking advantage of the same 13.626-kilometre circuit as the 62 competitors in the top-of-the-bill race that takes place over the weekend of 15-16 June. The support race lives up to its name, with many would-be 24-hour drivers revelling in the chance to drive on the legendary circuit cheered on by its world-famous crowds. They are right to dream of greater things: French driver Thomas Laurent won Road to Le Mans in 2016 and has taken up residence on the 24 Hours of Le Mans podium ever since.

The Road to Le Mans entry list automatically includes full-season Michelin Le Mans Cup participants and the selection committee extends invitations to other deserving teams with priority given to endurance series competitors such as the European Le Mans Series, the Asian Le Mans Series and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.