Six automatic invitations to next year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans were confirmed after the conclusion of the European Le Mans Series season at Portimao on Sunday.
The top two in the LMP2 championship standings — Prema and Panis Racing — will have guaranteed berths on the Le Mans grid in the LMP2 category.
Prema won the ELMS title after taking its fourth victory of the season in the 4 Hours of Portimao while Panis, which could only overturn the prior points gap by winning and relying on Prema failing to score, came through in second.
The title-winning team also runs an Oreca 07 Gibson in the FIA World Endurance Championship.
When asked if Prema will field two LMP2 cars for its second Le Mans attempt, team principal Rene Rosin told Sportscar365: “We’ll see. Let’s celebrate this championship tonight, and from tomorrow we start working on 2023.”
In addition to Prema and Panis Racing, LMP3 class champion Cool Racing also has an invitation to the LMP2 class at Le Mans.
The top three finishers in the ELMS GTE standings received automatic GTE entries based on the rule that an invitation is opened for every four full-season cars in the class.
Porsche squad Proton Competition secured the title, while Ferrari teams Kessel Racing and Iron Lynx finished second and third.
It is yet to be confirmed what type of car Iron Lynx will run next year, with the Italian squad due to test Proton Competition’s Porsche 911 RSR-19s at Portimao tomorrow.
Sportscar365 understands that the team’s ELMS drivers including the Portimao-winning ‘Iron Dames’ crew will get behind the wheel, as well as team principal and former professional driver Andrea Piccini.
The six automatic invitations from the ELMS grid join three previously other pass-holders to next year’s Le Mans edition, which takes place on the centenary of the French enduro’s first staging in 1923.
Danish squad GMB Motorsport secured the Michelin Le Mans Cup GT3 title last time out at Spa and is believed to be sourcing an Aston Martin Vantage GTE for its GTE-Am entry.
John Farano will take up his invitation after winning IMSA’s Jim Trueman Award, which recognizes the best Bronze-rated driver in the WeatherTech Championship’s LMP2 class.
Ryan Hardwick also has an entry for winning the GT-equivalent Bob Akin Award.
The remaining automatic Le Mans invitations for 2023 will be confirmed at the Asian Le Mans Series, which is again being held as a compact four-round season in February.
The LMP2 and LMP3 champions will each receive an LMP2 berth for the 24-hour race, while the GT3 champion will be able to race in GTE-Am.
Unlike in previous years, the winners of this year’s LMP2 and GTE-Am class at Le Mans are not shown as holding automatic entries according to the Le Mans supplementary regulations.
Teams cannot accrue more than two invitations, even if they achieve more than two of the qualifying positions.
Furthermore, invitations are not transferable and will be canceled if a team is unable to, or decides not to, take up its entry.