Kevin Magnussen, Paul di Resta land 2022 Peugeot WEC drives
Ex-Formula 1 drivers Kevin Magnussen, Paul di Resta and Jean-Eric Vergne will race Peugeot’s new Le Mans Hypercar in the World Endurance Championship in 2022.
The trio have been named as part of a full roster of drivers for the French manufacturer’s return to the top-flight of sportscar racing in the WEC and at the Le Mans 24 Hours.
They will be joined by Le Mans winner Loic Duval, WEC regular Gustavo Menezes and 2019 European Le Mans Series LMP3 champion Mikkel Jensen in the race squad.
James Rossiter, who has raced in the WEC sporadically with the ByKolles team since 2012 and was a Honda F1 tester in the 2000s, will act as the reserve and simulator driver.
It has not been revealed how the drivers will line up across the two Peugeot hybrid prototypes, which will begin racing at a yet-to-be-decided point during the 2022 WEC season. The line-up was billed as “seven drivers — one team” on its announcement on Monday.
Jean-Marc Finot, director of motorsport of the new Peugeot parent company Stellantis created on the merger of the PSA group and Fiat Chrysler earlier this year, explained that the “quality of the relationship between everybody involved in the project is fundamental”.
“Over and above their individual racing skills, the main criteria we took into account when assessing and talking with drivers were the ties they have with each other, their mind-set and their ability to work together to motivate and help take the team forward, because the human factor plays such a big part in endurance racing,” he said. “We also wanted to establish that they saw their commitment with us as a priority and not just a line on their CV.”
Olivier Jansonnie, technical director of the WEC project at Peugeot Sport, added: “We didn’t just take individual results into consideration. We also examined the speed, consistency and reliability of a long list of drivers, because we are looking for a line-up that meshes together well, with an eclectic mix of upcoming youngsters and experienced campaigners with proven development skills, especially in the field of hybrid powertrains.”
#01 Cadillac Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac DPi, DPi: Kevin Magnussen
Photo by: Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Images
Former McLaren, Renault and Haas F1 driver Magnussen is competing in sportscars for the first time this year with Chip Ganassi Racing in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, making his debut in the Rolex 24 at Daytona last month.
Ex-Williams and Force India racer Di Resta meanwhile has landed a deal in the top class of the WEC after three seasons driving for United Autosports in the LMP2 ranks, which included a Le Mans class victory in 2020.
Two-time Formula E champion Vergne, who raced for Toro Rosso in F1 in 2012-14, has signed for Peugeot after four seasons in LMP2, which included multiple race victories in the ELMS with the TDS-run G-Drive Racing squad.
Duval, Le Mans winner and WEC champion with Audi in 2013, is focussing on sportscars following his departure from Audi after four seasons in the DTM.
#10 Team Oreca Matmut Peugeot 908 HDI-FAP: Nicolas Lapierre, Loic Duval, Olivier Panis
Photo by: Rainier Ehrhardt
The Frenchman drove a Peugeot 908 HDi for the works-support Oreca squad in 2010 and ’11 and won the Sebring 12 Hours before being picked up by Audi.
Menezes has been a regular in the WEC since 2016, winning the LMP2 title with Signatech Alpine team in his debut season and then moving up to LMP1 with Rebellion Racing.
Jensen, 26, has been signed by Peugeot after only a single season in LMP2. The Dane drove in last year’s ELMS with G-Drive, partnering Vergne in one round as well as at Le Mans, after winning the P3 class of the series the previous season with Eurointernational.
Peugeot’s LMH contender is due to begin testing at the end of this year and a decision on when it will join the WEC is expected early in 2022.
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