Nissan and Maserati seem certain to return to the Le Mans 24 Hours next year after long periods away from the race.
Both manufacturers are hoping to take advantage of a decision by Le Mans organizer Automobile Club de l'Ouest, to allow the same cars that will race in the new FIA GT1 World Championship, to compete in the event. The decision means that the Nissan GT-R, campaigned in FIA GTs this season by Gigawave Motorsport, and the Maserati MC12, which has won the last four championships thanks to the efforts of the Vitaphone squad, are now eligible.
"If we get an entry, we'll be at Le Mans," said Gigawave team principal Nigel Stepney. "It is one of the team's ambitions and we will do everything we can to fulfil the criteria required by the ACO."
The Maserati has previously been barred from competing at Le Mans because the ACO would not homologate the carbon-chassised car. However, having now accepted the FIA rules in their entirety, this is no longer an issue.
Michael Bartels, who has run MC12s since forming his Vitaphone squad, said: "We have been trying to go to Le Mans since 2005 and the Maserati board is very supportive of the idea of racing there. I would like to be there, but we have to see what we can put together."
The ACO said that it expects to have no less than 10 GT1 cars on the grid for next year's race.