2024 FIA WEC entry rounding into shape

The final pieces of the Hypercar and LMGT3 jigsaw for the 2024 FIA World Endurance Championship season are coming together rapidly, with the manufacturers and teams in play moving to make their submissions ahead of next season.

But there are still many question marks as the race for grid spots reaches its final stages, particularly in the LMGT3 category, In addition to the total number of full-season grid spots being available being a key factor, the number of Hypercars entered for the full campaign is also going crucial in determining how many GT3 manufacturers will get the nod.

As it stands, the current two-car efforts from Toyota, Peugeot, Porsche and Ferrari are set to return in 2024, along with two Alpine A424s, two WRT-run factory BMW M Hybrid V8s, a Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac, a Vector Sport-run Isotta Fraschini Tipo 6 LMH Competizione, an Iron Lynx Lamborghini SC63 and a customer Porsche 963 apiece for JOTA and Proton.


That brings the total to 17 without either Vanwall or Glickenhaus returning or any of the additional cars being worked on in the background.

A second Ganassi-run Cadillac for the WEC has been under active consideration for a while now and there also are proposals from two separate teams for a second Isotta Fraschini Tipo 6 LMH Competizione. RACER understands that the two are LMP2 team Duqueine and Swiss GT squad Emil Frey Racing (which was in the initial mix for the Isotta WEC contract). However, it is thought unlikely a second Isotta will be granted an entry for 2024.

Porsche’s customer teams are looking to double up, too. Hertz Team JOTA’s second car is thought to be all but ready to go for 2024 and Proton is close to confirming that two of its four 963s will compete full-time next year. The big question mark for Proton is its IMSA program. Originally it planned to compete in both championships full-time, but the calendar clashes have created significant hurdles for the German team to overcome.

Depending on how many of these efforts come together, Hypercar could be anything from 17 to 23 cars strong. If it reaches or exceeds 20, then there will be nerves aplenty for the GT3 manufacturers without top-class efforts looking to nominate cars.

What do we know at this stage about the look of LMGT3?

Ferrari (AF Corse), Lamborghini (Iron Lynx), BMW (Team WRT), Porsche (Manthey) and Corvette (TF Sport) are essentially locked in for two-car efforts through the brands and/or ownership groups having factory Hypercar programs.

Also looking a certainty is a Lexus RC F GT3 entry from SRO regular and current Mercedes GT3 customer ASP, as the upcoming Lexus-badged, unnamed GT3 contender continues its development program for a future debut. While Lexus has no presence in Hypercar, ASP’s path to the grid is possible via Toyota’s successful and continuing Hypercar program with the GR010 HYBRID.

Ford’s new Mustang GT3 looks almost certain to feature in LMGT3 as well, despite no recent movement from the Blue Oval to go racing in the top class. The chances of this effort being accepted come down to its nominated customer Proton Competition. Proton is one of the most loyal customer teams in the WEC, an ever-present in the GT ranks and has moved into Hypercar with Porsche this season. The selection committee is believed to be willing to give priority to loyal teams as well as manufacturers, making Ford’s move to sign Proton look increasingly intelligent and tactical.

These are already numbers that are approaching the glass ceiling set for full-season entries set by Le Mans Endurance Management, which had planned to cap the entry at around 36 cars. However, discussions are underway aimed at accommodating as many Hypercar and LMGT3 manufacturers as possible.

There are a variety of factors in play, including garage capacity at some circuits and the willingness of LMGT3 teams to share garage facilities and air freighting space. Sources have indicated that just one leg of the WEC’s global tour next year will require air freight: the trip to Fuji after the race at Circuit of The Americas.)

Will an Evo version of Aston Martin’s Vantage put AMR back in the game? JEP/Motorsport Images

So who else is in play for an LMGT3 entry, and how good are their chances?

Aston Martin has been a firm supporter of the WEC since its inception and Aston Martin Racing is known to be keen to get the nod with a revised Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3. The car is set to benefit from an Evo kit next year, which is already being track tested. The ongoing work on the revival of Aston Martin’s shelved Hypercar program with the Valkyrie will also help its case for inclusion.

Also regarded as a distinct likelihood is McLaren with its 2023 evo-spec 720S GT3. The battle for the factory nomination has been raging in the background for some months, with four teams putting in full proposals, although it is believed United Autosports is now set to get the nod.

The case for the UK-based supercar factory is still boosted by the prospect of a future Hypercar effort, although this has been delayed as the core McLaren Automotive concern restructured its finances and supply chain.

If McLaren is successful in getting an entry, there’s a tight critical path for United Autosports to gather the staff and equipment ahead of the start of the season, alongside its continuing programs in LMP2 and LMP3 in both the USA and Europe.

Beyond that, Honda and Merccedes-AMG are understood to have interest from a mix of current and new customer teams. Both are believed to have plans to propose solo cars from two different customer teams. Finally, Audi is believed to have significant interest from multiple current customers in fielding the R8 LMS GT3 Evo2.

Will the grid have space for all of the above? No, but it is clear that LMEM is pushing hard to ensure as many brands as possible can take part in the 2024 season.

Story originally appeared on Racer