IMSA champion Castroneves to make WEC debut in LMP2 at Sebring

Three-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves will make his World Endurance Championship debut at Sebring in March with the Inter Europol prototype squad

IMSA champion Castroneves to make WEC debut in LMP2 at Sebring

The Brazilian has been named by the Polish LMP2 entrant as part of the driver roster for its maiden season competing full time in the WEC together with fellow team newcomers Renger van der Zande and Alex Brundle, and Europol regular Kuba Smiechowski.

Two-time Daytona 24 Hours victor van der Zande and European Le Mans Series race winner Brundle will be the regular partners for Smiechowski in the team's solo ORECA-Gibson 07.

Castroneves will come in for the series-opening Sebring 1000 Miles on 19 March because van der Zande will be on duty at the Florida venue the following day with the Chip Ganassi Cadillac squad in the IMSA SportsCar Championship's 12-hour fixture.

Reigning IMSA champion Castroneves, who was part of the Penske Acura IMSA attack in 2018-20, revealed that he is "super-excited" to be racing in the WEC for the first time.

"After three years racing with Daytona Prototype internationals, it certainly has prepared me for this challenge and I just can't wait for 2021 to start," said Castroneves, who is returning full-time to IndyCars in 2021 with the Meyer Shank Racing squad.

Van der Zande, who has moved from Wayne Taylor Racing to Ganassi for 2021, is returning to the WEC for the first time since he contested five of the eight races in LMP1 with DragonSpeed's Gibson-powered BR Engineering BR1 in the 2018/19 superseason.

"It's a privilege to be adding this WEC programme with Inter Europol Competition to my Chip Ganassi Racing with Cadillac programme in IMSA," said the Dutchman, who added that he is "happy to be going back to the Le Mans 24 Hours" for the fourth straight year.

Brundle said that "it is great to be back on the world stage" for the first time since he contested the WEC with the Jota Sport-run Jackie Chan DC Racing squad in 2017.

"I'm certainly joining an impressive driver roster and I can't wait to start pushing the car with Kuba, Renger and Helio," he added.

Inter Europol team manager Sascha Fassenbender said: "I am proud of our team for being the first Polish team to compete in the WEC.

"As our driver line-up shows, we are not competing just to be there — we want to make an impression or two and leave our mark in the WEC."

Inter Europol has competed at Le Mans for the past two seasons with a Ligier-Gibson JSP217 alongside a ELMS campaign in LMP2.

shares
comments
The visionaries promoting female talent at Le Mans

Previous article

The visionaries promoting female talent at Le Mans

Next article

WEC names Lequien as new series boss after Neveu's departure

WEC names Lequien as new series boss after Neveu's departure
Load comments
How Alpine's stunted Portimao charge helped Toyota to keep clear Plus

How Alpine's stunted Portimao charge helped Toyota to keep clear

Despite going stride for stride for pace at Portimao, Alpine’s grandfathered LMP1 couldn’t convert pole position into a sustained victory fight against Toyota. And due to rules and car limitations that are set in stone, the French manufacturer will be searching for solutions in its own battle of endurance

WEC
Jun 14, 2021
Toyota hits the ton — charting 100 world championship sportscar starts Plus

Toyota hits the ton — charting 100 world championship sportscar starts

The Japanese manufacturer is celebrating its 100th world championship prototype start in this weekend's Portimao 8 Hours round of the World Endurance Championship. Here are the major milestones on the road to three figures since the earliest low-key days of its entry into the Group C arena nearly 40 years ago

WEC
Jun 12, 2021
The philosophical problems the WEC's new Hypercar class is already facing Plus

The philosophical problems the WEC's new Hypercar class is already facing

OPINION: Most of the column inches after the World Endurance Championship's opener were centred around the relative pace of the Hypercar class and the LMP2s, but there's another question that needs addressing in order for the new division to have a successful future

WEC
May 7, 2021
How stumbling Toyota drew first blood in the WEC's new era Plus

How stumbling Toyota drew first blood in the WEC's new era

Amid concerns that the new Hypercar class would be upstaged on debut by the spec LMP2 machines at Spa, Toyota delivered the pole and victory that the vast majority of observers expected. But neither car had a clean run, which gave the grandfathered Alpine LMP1 an unexpected shot at glory

WEC
May 4, 2021
Seven things to watch in the 2021 World Endurance Championship Plus

Seven things to watch in the 2021 World Endurance Championship

Beyond the slender grid of headline-grabbing hypercars, there are numerous subplots and changes to look out for in the new season of the WEC, which gets underway at Spa this weekend. Here's the seven key things you need to know about

WEC
Apr 30, 2021
What to expect from sportscar racing's bold new Hypercar era Plus

What to expect from sportscar racing's bold new Hypercar era

A slim field of three cars will be entered in the Hypercar class for the first round of the World Endurance Championship's post-LMP1 age. But there are plenty of reasons for optimism with the new wave of manufacturer entries and competing class philosophies just around the corner

WEC
Apr 29, 2021
How Aston Martin Racing scaled new heights in the Prodrive era Plus

How Aston Martin Racing scaled new heights in the Prodrive era

The 2021 World Endurance Championship kicks off at Spa this weekend, but for the first time since its 2012 inception there will be no works Aston Martins in the GTE-Pro class. As its new era in Formula 1 begins, Aston leaves behind a legacy of success courtesy of its Prodrive-run factory programme that was a hit from the word go in 2005

WEC
Apr 27, 2021
How 'Brilliant' Bob Wollek lived up to his nickname Plus

How 'Brilliant' Bob Wollek lived up to his nickname

Sportscar racing lost one of it's greatest talents 20 years ago today when Bob Wollek was knocked from his bicycle prior to the Sebring 12 Hours. The enigmatic Frenchman never won the Le Mans 24 Hours, but many still remember today why 'Brilliant Bob' became a legend

WEC
Mar 16, 2021