The LMGTE AM cars may be at the back of the grid, but with their gentleman drivers they embody the original spirit of motor racing. Six teams race in the LMGTE AM category of the World Endurance Championship. Half of these will campaign with Porsche 911 RSRs – KCMG, Abu-Dhabi Proton Racing and Gulf Racing. But Larbre competition have entered a Corvette C7 and AF Corse are hoping to drive their Ferrari F458 Italia to victory. The final entry is from Aston Martin. You can probably guess the make of car they have entered.
GTE AM cars can be open or closed (none here are open – boo!), and must be available for sale from a recognised dealer network. The regulations stipulate that the cars and tyres must be last year’s model and the drivers must include at least one bronze level driver.
Qualifying on Saturday saw Abu Dhabi-Proton Racing get pole position in class (21st overall), with averaged lap times from Khaled Al Qubaisi and Klaus Bachler putting them ahead of KCMG in 23rd.
Larbre Competition had a bad year last year, failing to make the podium at any event. But the team has history, including five class wins at Le Mans, so 2016 is a chance for them to climb back on to the top step. Their bronze driver is Yutaka Yamagishi, with Pierre Ragues and Paolo Ruberti making up the rest of the crew. German team Proton Racing is running two cars in GTE AM, badged as KCMG and Abu Dhabi-Proton racing. Bronze driver for KCMG is Christian Reid, campaigning with Joel Camathias and Wolf Henzler. For Abu-Dhabi Proton Khaled al Qubaisi drives with David Heinemeier Hansson and Klaus Bachler.
The well-known AF Corse team is running one Ferrari in GTE AM, driven by Francois Perrodo (bronze), Rui Aguas and Emmanuel Collard. New in WEC is Gulf Racing with Mike Wainwright, Ben Barker and Adam Carroll hoping for a successful debut in the championship.
Finally Aston Martin have an entry in the category, with Paul Dalla-Lana (bronze) Mathias Lauda and Pedro Lamy returning after a season when they were 45 minutes away from a class win at Le Mans before a heavy crash for Dalla-Lana ended their hopes of victory. Another season, another chance for glory.
Follow the GTE AM class in the World Endurance Championship here at The Flaneur