Lucas di Grassi 'highly likely' to land Le Mans seat after Audi pullout

Lucas di Grassi says he is "highly likely" to compete in the Le Mans 24 Hours this year despite losing his regular seat due to Audi's withdrawal from prototype racing

Lucas di Grassi 'highly likely' to land Le Mans seat after Audi pullout

Since the Audi news the Brazilian has been working on finding a drive for Le Mans, with Toyota's third LMP1 car or a Porsche GTE berth emerging as options.

Di Grassi told Autosport: "[It's] highly likely in either LMP1 or the GTE Pro class, which are the only two categories which interest me."

The third Toyota currently has just Stephane Sarrazin confirmed as one of the three drivers, although Autosport understands the Japanese manufacturer's protege Ryo Hirakawa is also set to race the car.

It is understood that dialogue between Toyota and Audi has taken place over the possibility of di Grassi's involvement.

"There are limitations on who Lucas could drive for," head of Audi Motorsport Dieter Gass told Autosport.

"Obviously it is much easier for us to release a driver for a private entry rather than a works entry.

"We also look at the level of competition, so for example we wouldn't want him driving for a rival brand.

"We have released drivers like Marcel [Fassler] and Mike [Rockenfeller] to Corvette for Daytona and they could do other races this season."

Gass added that the details of Di Grassi's Audi LMP1 contract, which was secure for the 2017 season, is currently being tidied up alongside his Abt/Audi Formula E deal.

"Lucas's WEC contract has not been cancelled so he still has an Audi contract," he said.

"At the same time he has another contract with Abt for Formula E.

"So currently we are working on making one out of two but we haven't finalised yet the new contract for what could do apart from Formula E.

"We do have the agreement with him that he will continue as an Audi factory driver."

A return to Macau for di Grassi - who won the prestigious Formula 3 race in 2005 and last raced there in GT machinery in 2012 - could be on the cards later this year too.

"We are looking at the possibility of using him in our GT programme so this could happen," said Gass.

"We always remember that he is one of the guys who is really fast around Macau.

"This is not finalised yet but these are things we are looking at."

shares
comments
Kubica says ByKolles WEC drive is perfect for full-time race return

Previous article

Kubica says ByKolles WEC drive is perfect for full-time race return

Next article

New LMP1 WEC cars close to 2016 speeds already despite rule changes

New LMP1 WEC cars close to 2016 speeds already despite rule changes
Load comments
The understated Le Mans legend who has earned a testimonial Plus

The understated Le Mans legend who has earned a testimonial

OPINION: After 24 Le Mans 24 Hours participations, 50-year-old Emmanuel Collard will be absent from the grid this year, stuck at the mercy of his gold driver grading. But, while he's not motivated by breaking start records, the French veteran is determined to return to the field next year

WEC
Jul 24, 2021
How glitches left Toyota 'worried' about losing unbeaten WEC streak Plus

How glitches left Toyota 'worried' about losing unbeaten WEC streak

The World Endurance Championship's long-awaited return to Monza posed the sternest test yet for Toyota's new hypercar. Although the Japanese marque's GR010 HYBRID remains unbeaten, the victory for Mike Conway, Jose Maria Lopez and Kamui Kobayashi was far from plain sailing

WEC
Jul 19, 2021
How the next step in the IMSA and WEC convergence can reunite multiple fronts Plus

How the next step in the IMSA and WEC convergence can reunite multiple fronts

OPINION: Following the latest convergence connection permitting Le Mans Hypercars from the World Endurance Championship to compete against LMDh entries in the IMSA SportsCar Championship from 2023, it could open up enticing options not only to manufacturers but also for the calendar and race formats

WEC
Jul 13, 2021
How overlooked Mazda produced one of Le Mans' greatest shocks Plus

How overlooked Mazda produced one of Le Mans' greatest shocks

The screaming rotary-engined Mazda 787 is regarded as one of the most popular Le Mans 24 Hours-winning cars, but until its surprise success on this day 30 years ago it was never regarded as a likely victor. But that reckoned without a new technical partner, some canny political manoeuvring and a rival's bizarre self-inflicted weakness

WEC
Jun 23, 2021
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