GP2 race winner Nathanael Berthon to make Le Mans debut in P2
|By Gary Watkins||Tuesday, May 13th 2014, 15:44 GMT|
GP2 race winner Nathanael Berthon will contest the Le Mans 24 Hours with the Anglo-Irish Murphy Prototypes LMP2 squad next month.
The Frenchman will race the team's ORECA-Nissan 03 together with ex-Formula 1 driver Karun Chandhok and Rodolfo Gonzalez in the 24 Hours on June 14/15 and in this weekend's European Le Mans Series round at Imola.
Berthon's signing follows an impressive performance in the official ELMS test at Paul Ricard in April when he topped the times with Murphy on his first acquaintance with an LMP2 car.
Team boss Greg Murphy said: "Nathanael was so impressive at the test - he was very, very fast.
"We didn't manage to get him a long run at Ricard, but he'll get plenty of experience before Le Mans at Imola.
"We're going to Le Mans with a very good line-up and I think we will be able to challenge."
Berthon's deal means that World Endurance Championship P2 race winner Tor Graves will not be part of the Murphy line-up at Le Mans as originally announced.
The Briton is still recovering from the illness that forced him to miss the Silverstone series opener last month.
The P2 entry for Imola is down by two cars from Silverstone: Larbre Competition has withdrawn its Morgan-Judd/BMW LMP2 and Greaves Motorsport is taking only one of its pair of Zytek-Nissan Z11SNs.
Greaves has no funded drivers for the second entry, which was driven on a one-off basis by James Littlejohn, Tony Wells and James Walker at Silverstone.
Sebastien Loeb Racing, the only P2 team left on Michelin tyres after Signatech Alpine's switch to Dunlops, has withdrawn its GTC class Audi R8 LMS ultra.
The entry remains at 38 cars because SMP's GTC class assault is back to three cars and AF Corse is fielding an additional Ferrari in each of the GTE and GTC categories.
Former FIA GT Championship race winner and Aston Martin factory driver Andrea Piccini stands in for Jan Magnussen in the AF-run Formula Racing Ferrari squad in GTC.