Despite a robust entry list of 62 cars for the 2021 24 Hours of Le Mans, there’s still a dearth of American drivers, something that is likely to change in 2023 when the ACO, WEC and IMSA have pledged to use a common car in the Protype class.
The 2021 24 Hours of Le Mans is scheduled for August 21-22.
This year, though, there is one American driver listed in the five-entry Hypercar class: Gustavo Menezes, who is from California but has spent most of his career overseas. He is down as a driver for the new Glickenhaus 007 LMH (pictured), as is Ryan Briscoe, very familiar to U.S. fans but is an Australian.
In the healthy LMP2 class of 25 cars, there are several Americans, including Dwight Merriman in the IDEC Sport Oreca/Gibson. He’ll share a car with Orlando resident Ryan Dalziel, who is from Great Britain. American Patrick Kelly will be in the PR1 Mathiasen Oreca-Gibson. American John Falb is down as a driver for the G-Drive Aurus/Gibson. Out of 75 LMP2 drivers, those are all the Americans, though there are plenty of familiar names from U.S. racing such as Jan Magnussen and son Kevin Magnussen in the High Class Racing Oreca/Gibson; Juan Pablo Montoya in a Dragonspeed USA Oreca/Gibson and Renger van der Zande in the Inter Europol Oreca/Gibson.
A few more Americans are scattered through the LMGTE Pro class, including Jordan Taylor and Tommy Milner in the two Corvette Racing entries, which were absent in 2020 due to COVOD-19 and a scheduling conflict. Cooper MacNeil will head up the WeatherTech Racing Porsche 911 RSR, one of four 911 RSRs in the field. There is also a pair of Ferrari 488 GTE Evo entries.
Finally, in the LMGTE Am class, we have just one American, Le Mans veteran Ben Keating in the TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage AMR.
There are about 20 driver TBAs on the entry list of 186 racers, but it’s unlikely that more than a handful of Americans, if any, will populate those spots. This leaves the U.S. now with just eight drivers out of 186 for the most important sports car race in the world. As mentioned, that will change in 2023 when the new Le Mans Daytona hybrid car, or LMDh, breaks cover.
The ability to run at tracks like Le Mans and Silverstone in Europe, and Daytona and Sebring in the U.S., should be enough of a drawing card to guarantee a healthy field of LMDh cars—and possibly a few LMH Hypercars, since they will be added to the mix—when the LMDh debuts at the IMSA Rolex 24 at Daytona in January of 2023.
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