IMSA regulars ready to make their mark at 24 Hours of Le Mans

The grid for the 2024 24 Hours of Le Mans this weekend should look very familiar to IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship fans. Fourteen teams that regularly feature in IMSA competition are competing in the race, and nearly 100 drivers that have made an appearance in IMSA competition in recent years are taking part.

In Hypercar, Chip Ganassi Racing’s No. 01 Cadillac Racing squad of Sebastien Bourdais, Renger van der Zande and endurance addition Scott Dixon are in the No. 3 Cadillac V-Series.R. The team’s full-time WEC counterpart in the No. 2 features Alex Lynn, Earl Bamber and Alex Palou.

“It’s a classic, it’s heroic, it’s long and it’s amazing,” said van der Zande. “Once you get to racing, it’s the most fun you can get. If you look at last year, we performed very well. But, at the same time, you have to keep an eye on the competition. I think we were better prepared than everybody else, but this year everybody else will be better prepared than they were last year. I think the competition will be stronger than last year because of reliability, not because of speed. Teams have their cars and systems better sorted, so from that perspective it will be more interesting. I think we’re going to see a lot of high-level duels on track where you need to be on top of your game from the moment you start racing to when you see the checkered flag.”


“I think we’ve made a significant step forward on systems,” added Bourdais, Cadillac’s most experienced driver at Le Mans, as well as a Le Mans native.

“We’ve been focusing on race trims and trying to get the balance where we want it, get good tire data and make sure that balance and grip stay fairly consistent over two or three stints.”

Cadillac’s second IMSA squad, Whelen Cadillac Racing, returns with the No. 311 V-Series.R for Pipo Derani, Jack Aitken and, new to the team for Le Mans, Brazilian Felipe Drugovich, who will run a helmet design that pays tribute to Briggs Cunningham’s Cadillac “Le Monstre.” The other all-IMSA Hypercar squad is the No. 4 Porsche Penske Motorsport entry featuring Mathieu Jaminet, Nick Tandy and Felipe Nasr, with Dane Cameron serving as reserve driver across Penske’s three Porsche 963s. Jaminet hopes to use the team’s momentum, along with his disappointment from finishing second in Detroit as fuel for a Le Mans victory.

“We seem to be on it. The 6 car is doing a pretty good job and we are coming stronger and stronger and catching up big points,” Jaminet said of the WeatherTech Championship season so far.

“So I think now from now on, we’ll keep on putting the pressure on the cars in front. Going to Le Mans, it’s good to be disappointed and have some some anger in finishing P2 heading into the biggest race. I’m sure Felipe is feeling the same. But everybody is ready. Hopefully, we are there and we’ll bring a big trophy home.”

Porsche Penske Motorsport was the star of the test day, posting the first-, second- and fourth-best times of the day on Sunday. And as Penske adds another car to its roster for Le Mans, so does Iron Lynx Lamborghini, entering a second SC63 for its Michelin Endurance Cup trio of Andrea Caldarelli, Roman Grosjean and Matteo Cairoli.

Defending champion Ferrari counts a number of IMSA regulars on its Hypercar roster, notably James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi, part of the Rolex 24 GTD PRO class-winning Risi Competizione squad, along with Miguel Molina, who is a regular in GTD in MEC for AF Corse.

LMP2 is going to be a battle of IMSA teams, led by the contenders (and some past winners) of the Trueman Award for the top Bronze driver in IWSC LMP2. George Kurtz was the 2023 winner and thus earned an automatic invite to Le Mans. He’ll be teamed with regular partner Colin Braun and joined by Corvette Racing’s Nicky Catsburg, one of several IMSA drivers competing in a different category of car for Le Mans. Continuing under the CrowdStrike Racing by APR banner, they’ll run No. 35. Kurtz, Braun and James Allen won the Pro-Am sub-category in 2023.

Kurtz, Braun and Corvette regular Catsburg will lead the battle between IMSA’s LMP2 teams. Motorsport Images

Ben Keating won at Le Mans in 2023 as well, his second GTE-Am victory in a row, with Corvette Racing, joined by Catsburg and Nico Varrone. This year he’s back in LMP2 with United Autosports, with co-drivers Filipe Albuquerque and Ben Hanley in the No. 23 ORECA.

PJ Hyett will be looking to contend for the Tureman award, but first AO by TF is looking for victory at Le Mans with Hyett, Louis Delétraz and Alex Quinn in the No. 14 “Spike” ORECA. United Autosports also brings its other IMSA regular, Bijoy Garg, joined by Oliver Jarvis and Nolan Siegel in the No. 22. Other IWSC regulars include Heart of Racing’s Roman De Angelis joining Algarve Pro Racing; Malthe Jakobsen with Cool Racing; John Falb with Duqueine Team; Matthew Bell at Cool Racing; Jakub Smiechowski and Inter Europol; and Vasser Sullivan Racing’s Ben Barnicoat at AF Corse.

LMGT3 features seven teams from IMSA competition – not counting the already mentioned United Autosports that is McLaren’s team in LMGT3 – and many more drivers. Heart of Racing and Inception Racing are at Le Mans, HoR contesting the full World Endurance Championship with Aston Martin and drivers Alex Riberas, Ian James and Daniel Mancinelli. Inception received an invite courtesy of Brendan Iribe taking the Akin Award for top Bronze driver in GTD in 2023. Iribe is joined by regular co-drivers Frederik Schandorff and Ollie Millroy in the No. 70 McLaren 720S.

Jack Hawksworth received a last-minute call-up to drive the No. 87 AKKODIS ASP Lexus RC F GT3 alongside Takeshi Kimura and Esteban Masson after Mike Conway hurt himself in a bike accident. Toyota Gazoo Racing brought Jose Maria Lopez from LMGT3 back to Hypercar, creating a vacancy that Hawksworth was needed to fill.

Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti’s Jordan Taylor is with Spirit of Race in a Ferrari 296 GT3, adding to the list of drivers switching categories in a Le Mans one-off. Proton Competition, which runs a Ford Mustang GT3 in GTD for Gianmarco Levorato and Corey Lewis, has three Mustangs at Le Mans, with the No. 77 featuring Ryan Hardwick and Zacharie Robichon, both of whom will be in GTD cars at Watkins Glen later this month – Hardwick with Levorato and Lewis, and Robichon in Heart of Racing’s No. 27 Aston Martin Vantage GT3 Evo with De Angelis and James.

The Iron Dames head en masse from Le Mans to Watkins Glen, where Rahel Frey, Michelle Gatting and Sarah Bovy will resume their Michelin Endurance Cup campaign in the No. 83 Lamborghini. And AF Corse’s three drivers in the GTD-class No. 21 Ferrari 296 will have all been at Le Mans – Simon Mann and Francois Heriau are competing in the 24 Hour with Vista AF Corse in LMGT3, and Molina.

The sheer numbers make it pretty likely that at least one driver competing in next weekend’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen will still be celebrating a victory in the biggest endurance race in the world.

Story originally appeared on Racer