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Albuquerque hopes to race at Le Mans next year before possible 2025 Acura effort

Filipe Albuquerque is hoping he will be able to continue his streak at the Le Mans 24 Hours in LMP2 next year ahead of a potential bid for outright victory with Acura in 2025.

#22 United Autosports Oreca 07 - Gibson of Philip Hanson, Filipe Albuquerque, Frederick Lubin

Albuquerque has raced at Le Mans every year since his debut in 2014 with the Audi LMP1 team, with 2023 marking his 10th consecutive appearance in the French endurance classic.

However, the Portuguese driver faces some uncertainty regarding his plans for 2024, with the World Endurance Championship phasing out the LMP2 class from regular rounds and capping the number of entries at Le Mans to 15.

United Autosports, the team which Albuquerque has raced in WEC since 2019/20, is moving to IMSA’s LMP2 ranks next year and will require approval of the WEC Selection Committee in order to gain an entry for the 92nd running of the fabled sportscar event at Circuit de la Sarthe.

But despite only a limited number of seats available in the LMP2 class next year, Albuquerque hopes his experience will help him remain on the grid at Le Mans and attempt a second class win after his 2020 success with Paul di Resta and Phil Hanson.

“I want to do Le Mans every year in my career,” Albuquerque told Motorsport.com/Autosport. “I've been successful doing so for the last 10 years, I want to continue doing it again next year. 

“Obviously I know that the number of cars are way more limited. Normally you will secure your entry to Le Mans by doing WEC, now you need to be subjected to approval by Le Mans. 

“I have a great connection with United, we are trying to work something out. Obviously, I don't think they will have the cars they used to put [previously], two cars.

“Obviously, Le Mans needs to respect the other competitions as well to have one chance, to put a car. 

“There are still many drivers that want to do it, I hope my experience is good enough to secure me a seat because that's exactly my goal for next year as well.”

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Asked if any potential return to Le Mans will be with United, the team with which he will be contesting the European Le Mans Series next year, the 38-year-old said: “I would like to do, I want to do Le Mans for next year, I don't know with whom I'm doing but I'm completely open to do it.

He added: “I mean for sure I'm looking at United but we are trying to see what happens. Again, number 1 priority is to do Le Mans and then we will see what happens after.”

Acura at Le Mans in 2025?

#10: Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti, Acura ARX-06, GTP: Ricky Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque, Louis Deletraz, Marcus Ericsson

Photo by: Richard Dole / Motorsport Images

#10: Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti, Acura ARX-06, GTP: Ricky Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque, Louis Deletraz, Marcus Ericsson

Albuquerque’s IMSA SportsCar Championship employer Acura is currently the only LMDh manufacturer without any definite plans to race in WEC or its signature Le Mans event.

A move by the Japanese manufacturer to bring its North America-based Honda Performance Development (HPD) arm under Honda Racing Corporation could open the door for a Le Mans effort as early as 2025, although there has been nothing to suggest that such a move is in motion.

Albuquerque reiterated that he would like to see the Acura ARX-06 on the Le Mans grid in 2025, but stressed that such a programme would be difficult to pull off.

He explained that Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti, now the only Acura team in IMSA following the exit of Meyer Shank Racing, is already devoting considerable resources to expand to a second car in GTP next year, delaying a potential expansion to Le Mans.

“I don't know, those questions are to the big bosses. It's not down to me,” he said when asked how realistic is the proposition of an Acura entry at Le Mans in 2025. “It's not down to me

“As a race fan, as passionate as [I’m] driving the car, I wanted to go already this year. 

“By now the team is expanding for 2024 for two cars by hiring people and it takes a lot of organisation to step up to two cars in the same level. 

“To go to Le Mans next year means that the team will be starting a completely new infrastructure in Europe and hiring more people and that would be too much to do it properly. And I understand that they are not doing it next year. 

“It would make sense for ‘25? I wish, I hope. We will work hard to show that we can do it.

“That's why I want to do Le Mans in '24 so I'm a better driver and I'm a good driver for '25 to do it overall because at the end of the day I want to be racing overall but it's no secret for anybody. 

“Again, it's down to the big bosses that they have a car, they have built a great car and it would be great to see. And I think fans as well will love to see the car over there.”

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