DKR Engineering, United Autosports, Spirit of Race and Iron Lynx each secured automatic invitations for next year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans courtesy of their results in the European Le Mans Series which concluded at the 4 Hours of Portimao last weekend.
LMP3 champion DKR Engineering earned a guaranteed spot on the LMP2 grid for the 90th edition of the French enduro in June 2022, despite receiving a post-race time penalty that cost the Luxembourgish team a race victory.
Laurents Hoerr and Mathieu de Barbuat crossed the line in first but were demoted to fourth after a successful protest from DKR’s main championship rival Cool Racing.
The DKR Engineering Duqueine D08 Nissan was reported to have a faulty left-rear light during the latter portion of the race.
According to a stewards’ report filed at 9 p.m. CEST on Sunday, a request from the race director to fix the light was not adhered to, resulting in a 30-second stop/hold penalty converted to 65 seconds added on after the checkered flag.
The sanction handed the win to Inter Europol Competition, while DKR lost a large chunk of its score but still managed to beat Cool Racing by one point in the final table.
United Autosports’ first outright ELMS victory of the year earned the 2020 title-winning squad an automatic LMP2 entry for Le Mans.
Phil Hanson, Tom Gamble and Jonathan Aberdein jumped from fourth to second in the standings, ahead of Panis Racing and G-Drive Racing, with their 25-point haul.
One automatic invitation was given for every six LMP2 cars entered into the full ELMS season.
Team WRT secured its place on the 2022 Le Mans grid by clinching the LMP2 title at the 4 Hours of Spa last month.
Ferrari outfits Iron Lynx and Spirit of Race gained invitations by finishing first and second in the GTE class, which gave one Le Mans entry for every four participants.
Miguel Molina, Rino Mastronardi and Matteo Cressoni fought off Proton Competition’s No. 93 Porsche crew for the Portimao win and claimed the series title in the process.
A pair of track limits-related drive-through penalties for the No. 88 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE Evo, which had been the No. 80 Iron Lynx car’s main challenger arriving into the final weekend, allowed Spirit of Race to snatch the final Le Mans spot on offer.
David Perel, Duncan Cameron and Matt Griffin took fourth, which turned their No. 55 Ferrari’s four-point deficit to the No. 88 AF Corse entry into a seven-point edge.
Despite missing out on second in the championship, AF Corse still holds a place on the 2022 Le Mans entry list courtesy of its GTE-Am class win at the event in August.
The other invitation attached to the ELMS bill is the GTE berth for the Michelin Le Mans Cup GT3 champion.
This was earned by Iron Lynx at the penultimate round of the season. The team’s ELMS title means that it has now achieved the maximum of two permitted Le Mans invitations for next year, however it can have more cars on the grid through WEC entries.
The same rule applies to WRT which gained invitations for its Le Mans LMP2 victory in August and its ELMS championship success.
Teams are free to turn down their invitations, while automatic entries that are not taken up are not rolled over to the next team in the relevant standings.
Invitations are also distributed based on finishing positions in the Asian Le Mans Series and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
Confirmed 2022 Le Mans Invitations
1st in Le Mans LMP2 – Team WRT (LMP2)
1st in Le Mans GTE-Am – AF Corse (GTE-Am)
1st in ELMS LMP2 – Team WRT (LMP2)
2nd in ELMS LMP2 – United Autosports (LMP2)
1st in ELMS LMP3 – DKR Engineering (LMP2)
1st in ELMS GTE – Iron Lynx (any GTE)
2nd in ELMS GTE – Spirit of Race (any GTE)
1st in Michelin Le Mans Cup GT3 – Iron Lynx (GTE-Am)