With only three weeks until the 60th Anniversary Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring, IMSA has released the entry list for the joint American Le Mans Series and FIA World Endurance Championship event. At present, there are 31 ALMS and 30 WEC entrants, but that number is expected to grow from 61 total to 64, with three more ALMS cars not currently listed that will race.
Of note, the ALMS P1 and P2 classes have only a combined five cars, but that number will increase as Black Swan Racing, which has already announced a full season program in P2, is working to finalize details of its Sebring assault. There is at least one more new P2 car considering entering.
Dyson Racing's second Lola Mazda in P1 will not be ready for the event, and so Steven Kane – the young Irishman who starred in the Oryx Dyson entry a year ago – is listed as the lead car's third driver alongside defending class champions Chris Dyson and Guy Smith.
The 10 cars that are listed in the ALMS GT class are the same 10 that tested at February's Winter Test. Risi's absence eliminates one of the potential “not on the first version” entries that could turn up, with series officials still hopeful about the team entering later in the season.
As there are several conflicts between ALMS and WEC entrants, the ALMS entrants will have revised numbers. Noteworthy in GT, Corvette Racing plans to be Nos. 4 and 03, with the Rahal Letterman Lanigan BMWs slated to be Nos. 56 and 155. The reason the 1 is added for Rahal is that there is also a No. 55 (WEC, JWA-Avila) and a 055 (ALMS, Level 5, RIGHT) entered from two separate teams.
IMSA Chief Operating Officer Scot Elkins explained the number assignment process with the conflicts.
“It will be only the conflicting cars, just like Petit last year,” he said. “Some guys asked about adopting a 0 or 1 for both cars, to keep consistency with the team cars. But it makes more sense to change only the ones we have to. That keeps the confusion somewhat down. It's already confusing enough to have a 16 and 016, so the fewer 0s we can add is better for the officials and the corner workers to keep track of what's going on.”
While last year's Sebring featured every ALMS car with an additional “0” in front, there are only 10 conflicts this year, as explained on the entry list.
Both ALMS Challenge classes have deep entry lists, with seven PC and nine GTC cars present. Rocketsports Racing, which has ended it Jaguar GT program, has acquired the ex-No. 36 Genoa LMPC chassis as it moves into the class, and has drivers Bruno Junqueira and Tomy Drissi listed. Genoa's plans, led by team manager Thomas Knapp, are unclear at the moment, as the team has also sold its other chassis from a year ago.
Of note in GTC, the Alex Job Racing quartet of Bill Sweedler and Townsend Bell, who will run the remainder of the season in a Lotus Evora GT, will run one of the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars this race only.
With five ALMS and four WEC classes, attempting to sort out the podium may prove a challenge – or at least an endurance race of its own. For proper recognition, all classes will be recognized, Elkins said.
“What we'll do first will be the overall top three,” he said. “That's the first three cars across the finish line, regardless of whether they're WEC or ALMS. From there, we'll do it by class.
“We will have series designation. Hypothetically we'll have overall, then WEC P1 1-2-3, then ALMS P1 1-2-3, and then follow that way with the classes. So we'll recognize ALMS GT and then WEC GTE Pro. So it's P1, P2, PC, GT, GTE Am, GTE Pro and GTC.”
From an officiating standpoint, new ALMS race director Paul Walter will be in charge of his first Sebring, but second overall ALMS race. He filled in for Beaux Barfield as race director at Mosport last year. Barfield, IndyCar's new president of competition and race director, will be making a “last call” visit to ALMS race control for Sebring as another set of eyes to assist in the transitional process.
“As we've always done before with ILMC, we'll work together,” Elkins explained. “For all intents and purposes, there are two sets of officials. It's an ALMS/IMSA race, so we're the lead officials, but every decision will be looked at. It will be a true collaboration of officiating in the tower, but on the ground it's primarily IMSA guys.
“Beaux will be there, not in an official capacity, but part of his deal was that he'd come to the Sebring event. Since it's so huge with so many cars, it made sense to have him there in the room to cover all our bases. The WEC also has a new race director, as Gerard Neveau was the race director of ILMC and now is the head of WEC. So WEC's will be Eduardo Freitas.”
There are no surprises on the WEC entry list, other than a handful of cars are running 2011 specifications per a one-race exemption by the ACO. Otherwise, the same entry list as revealed Feb. 2 in Paris is the one that will be making the trip for the inaugural round of the championship.