The first of our big RaceDepartment 2018 Le Mans preview articles - looking at the world of LMGTE AM.
A packed field of cars looks set to line up at Le Mans this year, the first of two Le Mans events in what has been labelled as a World Endurance 'Super Season' of activity, and the lowest rung of the ladder will once again be the LMGTE AM category. Featuring a mix of professional and amateur drivers, the LMGTE AM category boasts no less than
Now don't be fooled by the fact that LMGTE AM class is the bottom of the timesheets, the grid is still filled with some exceptional GT drivers and the competition is as fierce and closely fought as it is in the classes above.
For 2018 the LMGTE AM category looks set to contain a very respectable thirteen entries across the Ferrari, Porsche and Aston Martin brands. With three former Grand Prix drivers in the form of Spirit of Race Ferrari driver Giancarlo Fisichella, MR Racing Ferrari lead man Olivier Beretta and former Lotus driver and now current Aston Martin driver Pedro Lamy joining up with other big names such as DTM regular and son of a racing legend Mathias Lauda, established GT stars Jorg Bergmeister and Alex Davison and the ever young Jeroen Bleekemolen to name but a few, the LMGTE AM grid is packed full of some exceptional talent.
Heading into the event it looks like several cars have a very good chance of fighting for victory come race end, however it will no doubt be a fierce fight throughout the field, with pre-race favourites Spirt of Race looking to stamp their authority on the event and deliver another richly deserved trophy in the cabinets of Giancarlo Fisichella and team mates Thomas Flohr and Francesco Castellacci.
Pre-race testing suggests that the Ferrari team may well be under pressure for the victory from the Dempsey Proton Racing Porsche of Matt Campbell, Julien Andlauer and Christian Reid, with the Clearwater Racing Ferrari piloted by former British Touring Car star and now established Blancpain GT driver Matt Griffin leading the challenge alongside his less established teammates.
As always at Le Mans, with 24 hours of racing and a tight field of drivers, form counts for nothing once that green flag drops...
Provisional LMGTE AM Grid
#54. Spirit of Race - Ferrari 488 GTE
Giancarlo Fisichella, Francesco Castellacci, Thomas Flöhr
#56. Team Project 1 - Porsche 911 RSR
Jörg Bergmeister, Patrick Lindsey, Egidio Perfetti
#61. Clearwater Racing - Ferrari 488 GTE
Weng Sun Mok, Matt Griffin, Keita Sawa
#70. MR Racing - Ferrari 488 GTE
Olivier Beretta, Eddie Cheever III, Motoaki Ishikawa
#77. Dempsey-Proton Racing - Porsche 911 RSR
Matt Campbell, Julien Andlauer, Christian Ried
#80. Ebimotors - Porsche 911 RSR
Fabio Babini, Christina Nielsen, Erik Maris
#84. JMW Motorsport - Ferrari 488 GTE.
Liam Griffin, Cooper MacNeil, Jeff Segal
#85. Keating Motorsports - Ferrari 488 GTE
Jeroen Bleekemolen, Ben Keating, Luca Stolz
#86. Gulf Racing UK - Porsche 911 RSR
Ben Barker, Alex Davison, Michael Wainwright
#88. Dempsey-Proton Racing - Porsche 911 RSR
Matteo Cairoli, Khaled Al Qubaisi, Giorgio Roda
#90. TF Sport - Aston Martin Vantage GTE
Euan Hankey, Charlie Eastwood, Salih Yoluç
#98. Aston Martin Racing - Aston Martin Vantage GTE
Pedro Lamy, Mathias Lauda, Paul Dalla Lana
#99. Proton Competition - Porsche 911 RSR
Patrick Long, Tim Pappas, Spencer Pumpelly
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Who do you think looks likely to fight for the win in LMGTAM? Which driver / team / manufacturer will you be supporting? Let us know in the comments section below!