Organisers have released a provisional entry list for next month’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, with a pair of New Zealanders set to make the start.
Brendon Hartley will take up his position in Toyota Gazoo Racing’s No. 8 TS050 LMP1 entry, alongside co-drivers Sebastien Buemi of Switzerland and Kazuki Nakajima of Japan.
Expat Kiwi Tom Blomqvist, meanwhile, will race a HubAuto Corsa Ferrari 488 in the LMGTE Am class with Morris Chen from Taiwan and Marcos Gomes from Brazil.
Shane van Gisbergen had been confirmed to run in the event with Eurasia Motorsport’s LMP2 entry, but Covid-19 logistics and the subsequent shuffling of the Supercars calendar put paid to that chance.
Two-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Earl Bamber is also missing from the entry list. Having finished on the podium last year in Porsche’s No. 93 911 RSR, Bamber recently made his debut in NASCAR’s Xfinity Series — vying for a podium at the Daytona Road Course before crashing out late.
The LMGTE Pro class in particular has been shrunken down, with just eight entries lined up from Porsche, Ferrari, and Aston Martin. Corvette Racing and Ford Chip Ganassi Team are also absent from the event — the latter meaning no Scott Dixon on the grid for the first time since he made his debut at the event in 2016.
The 88th running of Le Mans was initially scheduled for June 13–14, but due to the pandemic it was postponed to September 19–20. The event will be held with no spectators present.
There are two seats yet to be filled; one in the Richard Mille Racing Team’s LMP2 entry, and the other in Proton Competition’s Porsche LMGTE Am entry.
Along with Hartley, three Australians are slated to take on the event; Matt Campbell, Nick Foster, and James Allen. There are 59 entries in total.