Sam Bird picks up G-Drive Ligier LMP2 seat for WEC

Former Mercedes Formula 1 test driver Sam Bird will race for the G-Drive Ligier LMP2 team in this year's World Endurance Championship

Sam Bird picks up G-Drive Ligier LMP2 seat for WEC

The 28-year-old Briton, who contested two WEC races in a GTE Am Ferrari with AF Corse last year, will drive an OAK Racing-run Ligier-Nissan JSP2 together with team regulars Roman Rusinov and Julien Canal.

Bird, a race winner in the inaugural season of Formula E with the Virgin team, told AUTOSPORT: "I can't think of two better programmes than racing in the WEC and Formula E.

"This gives me the opportunity to show what I am capable of in the WEC: I'm fighting with Lucas di Grassi and Sebastien Buemi [who race LMP1 cars for Audi and Toyota respectively in the WEC] for the championship in Formula E and would love to be able to emulate what they have done in sportscars.

"This is an excellent opportunity for me and I am very thankful to G-Drive for it."

Bird had his first experience of a G-Drive Ligier last week at Estoril.

Team principal Philippe Dumas said that Bird had the potential to follow in the footsteps of OAK driver Olivier Pla, who is now part of Nissan's LMP1 programme, and Mike Conway, who also used the LMP2 class in the WEC to showcase his talents before signing for Toyota.

"It is good to have Sam on board: he's super fast and very determined — we needed a guy like him to replace Olivier," he said.

The second G-Drive entry will be raced by Gustavo Yacaman, Ricardo Gonzalez and Luis Felipe 'Pipo' Derani.

Colombian Yacaman moves over from OAK's assault on last year's Tudor United SportsCar Championship, while Mexican Gonzalez is returning to the French organisation from a season in the European Le Mans Series racing an ART McLaren GTC car after winning the 2013 WEC LMP2 title in one of its Morgan-Nissans.

Brazilian Derani, a race winner in British Formula 3, joins G-Drive after impressing in two outings in the European Le Mans Series with the Murphy Prototypes team.

Dumas described Yacaman and Derani as "two very talented young drivers who have the chance to go on to become professional sportscar drivers".

OAK will also run a Ligier-Nissan under its own banner for team boss Jacques Nicolet and fellow gentlemen drivers Jean-Marc Merlin and Erik Maris.

Drivers have yet to be announced for an additional Ligier entered for the Le Mans 24 Hours in June.

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