Text & Images: Rick Kiewiet
The entry list for the upcoming 1812km of Qatar (referring to Qatar's national day on the 18th of december) has been revealed. On it not much we didn't already knew. Most notably is that Julien Andlauer will make his hypercar debut on the 2nd of March in the #99 Proton Porsche 963.
Andlauer has a long history with Proton with which he won Le Mans in the #77 Porsche 911 in 2018.
Other debutant in the Hypercar class is Nyck de Vries at Toyota, taking the place of José Maria Lopez who tranferred to the LMGT3 AKKODIS Lexus. The Dutchman was without a drive for the largest part of 2023 after his disappointing campaign with Alpha Tauri in F1 last year, but was already Toyota's reserve driver before he stepped in at Red Bull's sister team.
The 19-hypercar/lmd grid will see a couple of new cars as well. Big manufacturers BMW, Lamborghini and Alpine will compete in the highest echelon of endurance racing for the first time under the new ruleset, together with perhaps less well-known brand Isotta Fraschini.
In the new for 2024 LMGT3 class there's also a lot to look forward to. Aston Martin, Porsche and Chevrolet will enter their new gt3 versions of the models we already knew from the GTE class, while Ferrari competes with a new model in WEC: the 296. BMW joins with the by now familiar M4 GT3, Lamborghini with their Huracan (evo), Lexus with the RC F, McLaren with the 720. Finally, Ford is back in GT racing after the successful campaign with the Ford GT. They built a new gt3 challenger based on the Mustang.