Loss of four Le Mans entries is Fisi’s gain

Some good and bad news coming out of the 24 Hours of Le Mans files this week.

Four teams are out of the race, which is just more than a month away. First, the Modena Group Racing’s Ferrari forfeited. Then the Pekaracing’s GT1-spec Corvette and the two LMP1 Pescarolo-Judds from Pescarolo Sport and Sora Racing all withdrew.

The news — because it isn’t as if the official Le Mans site is noting these developments — comes from the folks at Speed TV.

Before we dive deeper into this bad news — because dropping teams isn’t a good sign at this point, I don’t think — let’s push on to the great news:

Giancarlo Fisichella will race his first 24 Hours of Le Mans!

This year’s race, in other words, just got a whole lot sexier.

Surprisingly, I’m not seeing the news at Ferrari’s site, which as we’ve noted here tends to throw updates online at every opportunity. So it’s up to Speed to deliver the news:

The latest wave of withdrawals promotes the No. 95 AF Corse Ferrari, KSM’s Lola-Judd prototype and the No. 60 Matech Competition Ford GT into the twice-around-the-clock classic.

The addition of the second AF Corse Ferrari adds immediate star power to this year’s field. Formula One veteran Giancarlo Fisichella has been nominated as the car’s lead driver and will be joined by former F1 veteran Jean Alesi and Finn Toni Vilander.

I’m foreseeing a long weekend of Todd and exchanging quips about Fisi’s driving, with a few naughty comments courtesy of one Grace.

But back to the less good news. A familiar name is involved:

As revealed in Thursday’s entry update article, Pescarolo’s two entries were in doubt after investment firm Genni Capital ceased negotiations with the the cash-strapped French team. The Luxembourg-based firm, which took a controlling interest in the Renault F1 team in December, appeared to be the team’s last hope of making it to the grid.

Recently campaigned under the Sora Racing banner following the team’s takeover by Sora Composites chairman Jean Py, both Pescarolo entries were to be run under the same roof, although carrying different team names for entry purposes.

The fate of the team, which is no longer led by Le Mans stalwart Henri Pescarolo, remains unclear. It will, however, mark the end of an era for the Pescarolo Sport name at Le Mans, having been a mainstay in the 24-hour classic since 2000.

Genni Capital apparently doesn’t have that much capital.

But here’s the real clincher of bad news:

Only one reserve car, the No. 86 Spyker Squadron C8 Laviolette GT2R, remains out of the initial 10 that the ACO announced back in February. If additional teams pull out, there’s a distinct possibility of having fewer than 55 starters for the June 12-13 race.

Cue Sammy Hagar: I can’t drive 55.

Let’s hope no one else drops out.

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