Peugeot WEC racer di Resta "fell in love" with sportscar racing in 2018

New Peugeot World Endurance Championship driver Paul di Resta has revealed that he fell in love with sportscar racing during his early exploits in the discipline during 2018.

Peugeot WEC racer di Resta "fell in love" with sportscar racing in 2018

The ex-Force India and Williams Formula 1 driver explained that a short programme of events with United Autosports LMP2 team while he was still competing for long-time employer Mercedes in the DTM whet his appetite for endurance racing.

"I fell in love with it pretty quickly and it opened a completely new door," said the 34-year-old, whose short programme with United in 2018 included the 24-hour classics at Daytona and Le Mans.

"In that time a lot happened: Mercedes pulled out of DTM and all the Le Mans Hypercar and then the LMDh rules [announced in early 2020] started to come to fruition, and the manufacturers started to show interest.

"Then it became a reality, and that's what I wanted to do.

"I'm looking forward to getting out and racing at the top level: doing LMP2 is great — I love the buzz of it — but I want to be going for that outright win."

Di Resta described the 8.47-mile Circuit de la Sarthe at Le Mans as "gripping, one of the best tracks I've ever driven".

"Le Mans ticks every box: the Porsche Curves, the Mulsanne Straight, the chicanes, the kind of street track-esque part of it with bumps and natural camber in the road," he said.

He added that he also enjoyed the "shared experience" of racing together with two team-mates.

The successes with Filipe Albuquerque and Phil Hanson aboard a United ORECA-Gibson 07 in the 2019/20 WEC will, said di Resta, "go down as one of the best things I've done in my racing career".

They triumphed in LMP2 at the Le Mans 24 Hours, where di Resta took class pole in the new Hyperpole qualifying session, while Albuquerque and Hanson won the WEC P2 title.

Paul di Resta visiting Peugeot factory

Paul di Resta visiting Peugeot factory

Photo by: Peugeot Sport

Because he missed the Fuji round in October 2019 to race in the DTM with the R-Motorsport Aston Martin squad at Hockenheim, di Resta ended up third in the points.

Di Resta revealed that he had made contact with Peugeot over the course of last year about joining its WEC squad for 2022.

"We made contact in August, September and I managed to meet them late October, November," he explained.

"They excited me in the way they were going to do the programme and we managed to come to an agreement."

Di Resta stressed that he has no regrets not coming into sportscar racing earlier in his career.

"Do I regret not coming into sportscars earlier? No, because I was having a great time doing what I was doing and I was well respected, well regarded," he said.

"I'm just thankful that I did it early enough to enjoy this experience and hopefully with Peugeot win Le Mans outright.

"I am about to turn 35, so I think I am in my prime and I think I have a good few years ahead of me.

"Certainly this project is starting to walk and we are starting to see good signs.

"I hope I can take the top trophy home with me one day."

Di Resta, who will return to Le Mans in August on a one-off basis with United, revealed that he is in discussions about doing some more racing this season ahead of the new Peugeot LMH contender running for the first time at the end of the year.

"There are other bits and pieces going on," he said.

"Peugeot made it very clear to me when we talked that they were open to me racing anything I could this year.

"I want to keep driving and stay sharp."

shares
comments
Porsche reveals full line-ups for Le Mans 24 Hours

Previous article

Porsche reveals full line-ups for Le Mans 24 Hours

Next article

Farfus to contest full WEC season in Prodrive-run Aston Martin

Farfus to contest full WEC season in Prodrive-run Aston Martin
Load comments

About this article

Series WEC
Author Gary Watkins
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
Top 10 moments of an underrated British great Plus

Top 10 moments of an underrated British great

Brian Redman was one of the best sportscar drivers of the 1960s and 1970s, as well as a three-time champion on the fearsome American Formula 5000 scene. To celebrate his 84th birthday Autosport contacted him about his best races – and he decided to write the piece himself…

WEC
Mar 9, 2021
How an endurance racing boom could help one of LMP2's top teams Plus

How an endurance racing boom could help one of LMP2's top teams

The G-Drive squad has been a mainstay of endurance racing in recent years, and has linked up with Russian manufacturer Aurus in recent years to promote its brand. With a change of rules in endurance racing's top tables, the team could be well-placed to take advantage of a potential boom...

WEC
Mar 7, 2021
How Ferrari’s Hypercar project could bolster Leclerc’s legacy Plus

How Ferrari’s Hypercar project could bolster Leclerc’s legacy

OPINION: Ferrari's planned return to the top category at the Le Mans 24 Hours has further heightened anticipation for the 2023 race. Few concrete details are currently known, but already it has a high-profile superstar angling for involvement, which would make a refreshing change

WEC
Mar 5, 2021
Why Ferrari is ending its 50-year top-flight sportscar exile Plus

Why Ferrari is ending its 50-year top-flight sportscar exile

Making a return to top-flight sportscar racing after 50 years away, Ferrari will enter the Le Mans Hypercar ranks in 2023. The Italian marque denies the link with Formula 1's new cost cap that frees up resources, but it's certainly no coincidence...

WEC
Feb 25, 2021
The ground-up refresh behind Toyota's new Le Mans challenger Plus

The ground-up refresh behind Toyota's new Le Mans challenger

Toyota's new GR010 contender for the World Endurance Championship's Hypercar era has little in common with the LMP1 TS050 that preceded it. But within the confines of the scaled back new rules, its latest challenger will be no less formidable a prospect

WEC
Jan 22, 2021
The Porsche icon that forged sportscar racing's greatest era Plus

The Porsche icon that forged sportscar racing's greatest era

Porsche is returning to the top class of Le Mans with an LMDh prototype that it hopes will write its next successful chapter in sportscar racing. But it will have to go some to emulate its 956/962, a car which defines the Group C age more than any other

WEC
Dec 16, 2020
How Kristensen forged the Mr Le Mans legend Plus

How Kristensen forged the Mr Le Mans legend

He is synonymous with success at the Circuit de la Sarthe, but Tom Kristensen's sportscar legacy amounts to much more than his record-breaking nine Le Mans wins, as the most successful driver ever at Sebring and a world champion to boot

WEC
Dec 5, 2020