The car that was to be shared by Ryan Dalziel, Thomas Laurent and Dwight Merriman was removed from the entry for the French endurance classic after Merriman’s shunt at the Dunlop chicane on Saturday.
This means that the LMP2 class is reduced to 24 cars and the total starting field to 61 cars for the blue ribbon of the FIA World Endurance Championship.
The decision follows a turbulent week for the Era Motorsport-supported IDEC outing, which began when Era boss Kyle Tilley was forced to step down from the # 17 row with a shoulder injury.
Era’s statement revealed that a replacement driver who only tested positive for COVID-19 was found before former Rebellion LMP1 driver Laurent was eventually drafted to join Dalziel and Merriman.
The team had to convert their Oreca 07-Gibson around a replacement bathtub after an accident on the test day last Sunday, but were able to complete the two training units and the first qualifying on Wednesday without any major drama and secured 16th place on the LMP2 starting grid .
However, Merriman’s accident during Saturday’s third practice session prompted the final decision to withdraw the car.
“It’s heartbreaking to get out of Le Mans before we even had a chance to race, but I know we’re doing the right thing,” said Tilley. “We had high hopes for the event, but with a handful of unfortunate events within a few days, this year’s race week was an ongoing uphill battle.
“After a last minute driver swap, a new chassis and a second incident on the track, we had to make the tough decision: If we don’t feel 100 percent confident about going into this race, it’s our responsibility to do it our competitors don’t run. “
The sister IDEC sports car, the # 48 machine of Paul Lafargue, Patrick Pilet and Paul-Loup Chatin, secured 10th place on the LMP2 grid on Wednesday and missed a place in the Hyperpole session on Thursday.