It’s the 40th anniversary edition this year. There’s multiple significant (yet subtle) differences within this year’s event, as compared to that of 2011 – particularly in the fight for overall honours. The distinct lack of factory supported GTE/2 machines suggests a near certainty 2012 will see the first overall victory from a GT3 machine.
There’s a decent volume of factory-supported entries from BMW, Mercedes, and Audi. AMR fields a factory supported 2012 Vantage GT3 (via Young Driver AMR). Porsche’s factory efforts remain within the Manthey stable. There’s also a GT3 Corvette laden with works drivers (Milner, Magnussen, Westbrook and Keilwitz) entered under the Haribo banner.
Schnitzer’s migrating to full-time DTM operations has triggered BMW’s shift from the M3 (GTE/2) to the Z4M (GT3) as BMW’s primary (works-supported) endurance effort within Europe. Schubert takes the reigns as BMW’s primary factory outfit, and assumes factory drivers from the M3 programme. MarcVDS, and Vita4One also field factory-supported Z4M GT3 entries.
Despite an earlier reported boycotting of the event by Porsche (in factory capacity – the stated result of Manthey’s BoP disenchantment), there’s a considerable factory (driver) presence within multiple Manthey entries.
Audi’s efforts are primarily represented by affiliate entries via Phoenix and WRT outfits, as Abt no longer serves the factory within GT racing. Raeder, and Mamerow also field supported entries on behalf of the marque.
Mercedes hopes rest with affiliate entries from Heico, Black Falcon, and Rowe racing. Within which there exists a not-so insignificant volume of factory drivers and, hired guns of a free-roaming nature.
Relevant details below.
*There’s a considerable likelihood of additional streams emerging.
– Radio Le Mans (English)
– Live timing is embedded within the ADAC official stream page linked above.
– Independent live timing (ADAC)
GPS Entry Tracking:
– Time plan (PDF)