Lotus among expanded 2014 World Endurance Championship LMP1 field
|By Sam Tremayne||Thursday, February 13th 2014, 16:19 GMT|
The German-run Lotus will step up to the LMP1 class of this year's World Endurance Championship as the premier division grows to nine full-season cars.
The team will field a single AER-engined Lotus T129 in the eight-round championship, with Christijan Albers - who drove for the squad at Silverstone in 2012 - slated as the lead driver.
Nine full-time entries have been lodged for the top prototype class, which flitted between four and five cars in the final rounds of 2013.
Works squads Audi, Toyota and newcomer Porsche will both field two entries.
Lucas di Grassi, stepping up to replace the departing Allan McNish, will share the #1 R18 e-tron quattro with defending champions Tom Kristensen and Loic Duval.
Rebellion Racing meanwhile will field two of its new ORECA-produced Toyota R-Ones. Nicolas Prost, Nick Heidfeld and Mathias Beche are the drivers confirmed so far.
As Lotus steps up, Strakka will move back down into LMP2 after two years in the top prototype class.
Nick Leventis will once again spearhead the team's assault on the seven-strong division, which includes entries from OAK Racing under the G-Drive banner and KCMG, which became the first Chinese squad to contest the Le Mans 24 Hours last year.
Across in GTE Pro, Ram Racing will field a full-time WEC entry for the first time following European Le Mans success last year.
Its Ferrari 458 is one of three submitted for the full season, alongside two from the works AF Corse team.
Porsche's works Manthey squad, and the factory Aston Martin outfit, will also field two cars.
AF Corse, Aston Martin and Ram will all have an additional presence in GTE Am, which will comprise eight full-season entries.
ELMS GROWS TO 42 CARS
The European Le Mans Series' grid meanwhile will almost double in size in 2014, with 42 full-time submissions.
The series was halted after just three rounds in 2012 due to sparse grids, with only six cars entering the concluding round, held within Petit Le Mans.
A drastic improvement means there will be 13 entries in LMP2 alone.
Caterham's Greaves-run programme, Signatech and Sebastien Loeb Racing - which also won a slot for this year's Le Mans 24 Hours - will all contest the prototype class.
ART meanwhile will enter two McLaren MP4-27s in an inflated GTC category, while GTE will include cars from Aston Martin and AF Corse.