The Michelin Le Mans Cup is for GT3 and LM P3 cars, LM P3 being the entry-level prototype class introduced by the Automobile Club de l’Ouest in 2015. The series is held alongside the European Le Mans Series (May–October) with the Road to Le Mans round on the weekend of the 24 Hours of Le Mans the second round of the 2017 season.
All Michelin Le Mans Cup competitors are automatically eligible to compete in Road to Le Mans. The remaining places are allocated by the ACO selection committee and priority is given to teams competing in the European Le Mans Series, the Asian Le Mans Series, the Asian Le Mans Sprint Cup and IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship.
Last year, the first Road to Le Mans was a 42-car race on the 13.629-km Circuit des 24 Heures. DC Racing’s Thomas Laurent and Alexandre Cougnaud won the race in the #85 Ligier JS P3. Christian England and 1990 Le Mans winner Martin Brundle took pole position with United Autosport’s #2 Ligier JS P3. The team will be competing in the LM P2 class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans this year.
This year Road to Le Mans will be split in two with a total of 46 entrants. The one-hour practice sessions are scheduled on Wednesday 14 June and the Thursday qualifying sessions that determine the place on the grid will last 20 minutes each.
The first of the 55-minute race will be on Thursday 15 at 17:30, the other on Saturday 17 June at 11:30, just a few hours before the start of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Each driver in the two-person crew must take the wheel for at least 20 minutes. The rules require at least one pit stop of a minimum duration. The rest of the time will be spent sampling the delights of one of the most revered circuits on earth.
In addition to the Road to Le Mans, there will be another curtain-raiser to the 86th Le Mans 24 Hours: the Aston Martin Racing Le Mans Festival back after a 3-year absence.
Between 40 and 45 Aston Martins including LMP1s, GT1s, GT2s, GT3s and GT4s are expected to be seen in action on the track. Owners of racing Aston Martins backed up by a team-mate will be given full rein to enjoy themselves and put on a great spectacle for 45 minutes on Saturday morning. The spectators will be able to feast their eyes on several cars that have shone in the Sarthe in the past.