Mark Webber’s number 1 Porsche 919-Hybrid heads the entry for this year’s Le Mans 24-Hour Race that takes place in France in just over three weeks, writes James Beckett.
The race organising Automobile Club de l’Ouest have confirmed the starting list for entrants and drivers ahead of the Pre-Test that will take place at the Circuit de la Sarthe on Sunday, June 5.
Webber has been named as lead driver of the number 1 Porsche, the reigning FIA World Endurance Championship champion set to drive with his regular Porsche team-mates, Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard.
A full entry of 60 cars have been accepted to take part, and Webber said: “This is the highlight of the season for all racers in the World Endurance Championship.
“Le Mans is one of the world’s most famous races and it is one that everyone wants to win. Two years ago I was leading when the car had problems, and last year my car finished second - although Porsche did win!
“The season has not started so well for my number 1 car, so we are really looking for a great performance in France.
“We have concluded our pre-event testing, and the next time we will be on-track will be for the Pre-Test. That day should give us an idea of where we are in comparison to the other teams on the grid.”
The race is expected to be a three-way fight between Porsche, Audi and Toyota - the manufacturers all contesting the lead P1-Hybrid class. Audi have a fine history of winning Le Mans, and so competition at the head of the field is expected to be tough.
Webber added: “We have two 919-Hybrid cars entered this year, instead of three as we had last year. Everyone in the team is looking forward to starting out on the road to Le Mans.”
There was disappointment for Vale racer Alex Kapadia, who has been unable to secure a seat for the big race. Kapadia raced a Porsche in the 2015 Le Mans 24-Hours for Team AAI, but was unsuccessful in securing a drive with the team for this season.
Kapadia, who impressed last year, said: “I am going to miss not racing in the 24-Hours as it is the world’s biggest race.
“But, I am trying to conclude a deal that should hopefully see me drive a car in one the support races. I am keeping my fingers crossed.”