Menezes announces Peugeot WEC exit after Bahrain finale

Gustavo Menezes will leave Peugeot's World Endurance Championship squad at the end of the 2023 season.

#94 Peugeot Totalenergies Peugeot 9X8: Gustavo Menezes

The Californian 28-year-old announced on his personal Instagram page that he would depart the French manufacturer's 9X8 Le Mans Hypercar programme after November's Bahrain finale.

"After a three year journey together, filled with ups and downs, Bahrain will officially be my final race with Peugeot in the FIA WEC," he wrote.

"It’s been an absolute pleasure building this project together and making memories that will last a lifetime.

"As one door closes, new doors open. It’s too soon to share with you all my plans for 2024, but it will be fast. Best of luck to the team."

Menezes has been a fixture in the #94 Peugeot lineup since the marque's long awaited prototype return came at Monza in 2022.

He raced initially alongside Loic Duval and James Rossiter before the Briton announced his retirement and moved into a team principal role at the Maserati MSG Formula E team.

Rossiter was replaced for the 2022 Bahrain 8 Hours, where the #94 Peugeot matched its fourth place at Monza, and the 2023 campaign by Nico Muller. The #94 crew's high point this season so far is a fifth place in Portugal.

Menezes joined the Peugeot programme after spending three years as part of the Rebellion LMP1 effort, which yielded three WEC victories and a best Le Mans 24 Hours finish of second in 2020.

#94 Peugeot Totalenergies Peugeot 9X8: Loic Duval, Gustavo Menezes, Stoffel Vandoome

#94 Peugeot Totalenergies Peugeot 9X8: Loic Duval, Gustavo Menezes, Stoffel Vandoome

Photo by: Andy Chan

Previously he spent two years in LMP2, winning his class at Le Mans and taking the 2016 WEC title for the Signatech Alpine squad which is moving back into the Hypercar class next season with an ORECA-based A424_ß LMDh chassis that had its first test at Paul Ricard last month.

Peugeot could move to replace Menezes with reserve driver Stoffel Vandoorne, who made his Peugeot race debut at the most recent WEC round in Fuji when a collarbone injury sidelined Muller.

Vandoorne described himself as feeling "comfortable in the car", although the 9X8s struggled for performance in the track's slow final sector to end up seventh and eighth despite a clean run.

Read Also:

Discussing the prospect of adding a Peugeot WEC drive to his current Formula E duties with the DS Penske squad, which belongs to the same Stellantis group as Peugeot, Vandoorne was enthusiastic about the idea.

But he admitted that a clash between the Berlin E-Prix and Spa WEC round in May could cause complications.

"I’m a racing driver and I want to drive as many programmes as possible," said Vandoorne. "The more you can drive, the better it is.

"People sometimes say it’s not good to combine programmes because it’s different cars. I think about it the opposite way. I think it’s actually good to combine different cars because you learn different skill sets for each car that you drive.

"There is the whole schedule thing that is a big question mark. It’s not only an issue for me, it’s a problem for a lot of the guys in this paddock who do Formula E and WEC as well.

"Hopefully there will be talks between both championships and a solution will be found to try and separate them."

Additional reporting by Gary Watkins

Previous article Jota closing on deal to run second Porsche Hypercar in WEC 2024
Next article Teenage racer Pierson to get Toyota Hypercar chance in Bahrain WEC test