Muller willing to look outside Audi to go for outright Le Mans wins

Nico Muller says he is aiming to be in a position to target outright victories at the Le Mans 24 Hours in the coming years and is willing to look outside of Audi to achieve that goal.

Muller willing to look outside Audi to go for outright Le Mans wins

A two-time championship runner-up in the DTM, Muller was tasked with leading the development of Audi’s LMDh contender for the 2023 World Endurance Championship along with his DTM title rival and three-time champion Rene Rast.

The Swiss driver was also placed at the new Vector Sport LMP2 team in the WEC this year to gain experience in prototype machinery before leading the German marque to its first outing at Circuit de la Sarthe since 2016.

However, those plans took a major hit earlier this year when Audi announced that it has officially paused the development of its Multimatic LMP2-based LMDh car - and it is widely believed that the programme has been scrapped altogether in order for resources to be diverted to other projects.

Muller is naturally disappointed with Audi’s decision to put its LMDh programme on the backburner, even as other Volkswagen Group companies Porsche and Lamborghini press ahead with their own plans, but remains keen on achieving his target of racing in the top class at Le Mans.

Read Also:

“At the moment I can't say anything more than the programme is on hold, so there is still some little hope," he said ahead of his Le Mans debut.

“It's obviously not the normal way things have gone because we have worked really hard on it and then suddenly from one day to the next that work stops.

“So it's not satisfying, yes, that is for sure. 

He added: “I would love to get a chance to win Le Mans overall and fight for the WEC championship overall, which would obviously be in a Hypercar or an LMDh.”

#10 Vector Sport Oreca 07 - Gibson LMP2 of Nico Muller, Ryan Cullen, Sebastien Bourdais

#10 Vector Sport Oreca 07 - Gibson LMP2 of Nico Muller, Ryan Cullen, Sebastien Bourdais

Photo by: Paul Foster

Muller won the Nurburgring 24 Hours outright with Audi in 2015 and also scored a podium in Formula E for series minnows Dragon Penske.

Asked if he is reasonably confident of landing a prototype drive elsewhere should Audi’s LMDh project not be revived, the Swiss driver said: “I do think that I'm quite experienced now but still not too old. 

“I have turned 30 this year and I've gathered quite some experience in all different types of racing.

“I still feel that the peak of my personal career lies ahead of me and that I get better every race, every year, every season.

“I'm pretty confident that I can prove that I will be very successful at Le Mans and in endurance racing as well. I've done that already in GTs, prototypes is obviously a little bit different, but the spirit is the same.

“The cars are actually what I've raced most of my life because a [Class One] DTM car to be fair is a prototype with a roof. So I kind of felt at home in that. 

“It's similar in LMP2 now, so I do feel confident saying that I can be pretty successful in an endurance programme in the future, no matter where that is.

“I've really enjoyed Daytona as well, the US with the new set of rules is becoming more and more appealing.”

Race winner Nico Müller, Team Rosberg

Race winner Nico Müller, Team Rosberg

Photo by: Alexander Trienitz

Muller has been racing with Audi since 2013 and is contracted by the marque until the end of the 2023 season, which was due to encompass a full WEC programme in the now-halted LMDh car.

However, the 30-year-old has clarified that he remains free to compete for other manufacturers in any championship as long as it doesn’t clash with one of Audi’s own programmes.

“It really depends upon what programmes Audi is pursuing,” he said when asked if Audi would allow him to represent another marque.

“If you are not competing against an Audi, I think it is becoming less of a problem. 

“But we haven't really gotten into that yet, as long as there is no real decision on the motorsport programmes at Audi, these discussions are a bit difficult to lead to a decision.

“So we will have to wait a little bit more I guess.”

shares
comments
When the moribund GTE Pro class stole the show at Le Mans
Previous article

When the moribund GTE Pro class stole the show at Le Mans

Next article

Ogier: Decision imminent on third Toyota Hypercar for 2023 Le Mans

Ogier: Decision imminent on third Toyota Hypercar for 2023 Le Mans
Porsche’s hopeful Le Mans future meets its illustrious past Plus

Porsche’s hopeful Le Mans future meets its illustrious past

Rising sportscar star Adam Smalley had to pinch himself when offered the chance to drive the car that won the world’s most famous enduro in 1987

Historics
Sep 6, 2022
How Porsche's Le Mans legend changed the game Plus

How Porsche's Le Mans legend changed the game

The 956 set the bar at the dawn of Group C 40 years ago, and that mark only rose higher through the 1980s, both in the world championship and in the US. It and its successor, the longer-wheelbase 962, were voted as Autosport's greatest sportscar in 2020 - here's why

WEC
Aug 25, 2022
Why BMW shouldn't be overlooked on its return to prototypes Plus

Why BMW shouldn't be overlooked on its return to prototypes

OPINION: While the focus has been on the exciting prospect of Ferrari vs Porsche at the Le Mans 24 Hours next year, BMW’s factory return to endurance racing should not be ignored. It won't be at the French classic next year as it focuses efforts on the IMSA SportsCar Championship, but could be a dark horse in 2024 when it returns to La Sarthe with the crack WRT squad

Le Mans
Aug 21, 2022
How Formula E's double-duty drivers influenced their Le Mans teams' fortunes Plus

How Formula E's double-duty drivers influenced their Le Mans teams' fortunes

Eight Formula E drivers made the 7,000-mile sprint from the streets of Jakarta to the fabled Circuit de la Sarthe and every one had a story to share at this year's Le Mans 24 Hours. Despite a range of triumphs and disappointments, each driver doubling up on the day job played a key role in their teams' fortunes

Le Mans
Jun 14, 2022
Le Mans 2022: The team by team guide Plus

Le Mans 2022: The team by team guide

The 90th edition of the Le Mans 24 Hours is here. Here's Autosport's run down of the full field and who to look out for in each class

Le Mans
Jun 11, 2022
The great Le Mans garagistes that challenged factory might Plus

The great Le Mans garagistes that challenged factory might

Glickenhaus is the latest in a line of small-time constructors to take on the big names. Here are some of the finest in the history of the Le Mans 24 Hours

Le Mans
Jun 9, 2022
When the moribund GTE Pro class stole the show at Le Mans Plus

When the moribund GTE Pro class stole the show at Le Mans

The GTE class faces a time of transition, with Ferrari and Porsche both committing resources to Hypercar programmes for next year's World Endurance Championship and GT3 cars confirmed to take over from 2024. But at its pomp in the recent past, the GTE Pro class pitched manufacturers and top drivers into the tightest of duels

Le Mans
Jun 9, 2022
How an Italian junior formula giant is readying for its Le Mans future Plus

How an Italian junior formula giant is readying for its Le Mans future

Prema remains a colossus in single-seaters, but the serial Formula 2 and Formula 3 title-winning squad has joined forces with top GT squad Iron Lynx for an attack on sportscars in the World Endurance Championship and European Le Mans Series. Ahead of its debut at the Le Mans 24 Hours, its sights are firmly fixed on LMP2 glory – and a future in Hypercars next year...

Le Mans
Jun 8, 2022