The G-Drive Racing FIA WEC team today announced a parting of the ways with driver Nathanaël Berthon who will be replaced by Manor WEC driver Will Stevens for Le Mans only.
Nathanaël joined the team at the beginning of the year to make his FIA WEC LMP2 debut in the G-Drive entered ORECA 05-Nissan. The year started well with a solid third position at Silverstone, followed by more points accrued at Spa last month.
27 year-old Berthon arrived at G-Drive Racing with an impressive CV having been a front-runner in Formula Renault 3.5 and GP2. The Frenchman joined Roman Rusinov and Rene Rast in the No.26 G-Drive Racing ORECA-Nissan LMP2 car after making a name for himself in the ELMS and WEC in previous seasons.
“I would like to thanks Nathanaël for his efforts with the team in 2016,” said G-Drive Racing’s David Clark. “We achieved two solid results in the first races at Silverstone and Spa and he showed he can be part of a front running team and we wish him every success in the future”
Stevens, who was one of the stars of the recent Spa FIA WEC round, is being loaned to G-Drive Racing by Manor for the Le Mans 24 Hours only. He will return to the Manor team after Le Mans for the remainder of the 2016 WEC season. The 24 year-old Stevens will get his first laps with the team at the official Le Mans test day on June 5.
“The offer to join G-Drive specifically for Le Mans and share the car with Rene and Roman was compelling.” said Stevens. “My partnership with Rene at WRT Audi is working well and with his and Roman’s experience in this race, it offered me a race winning opportunity which I’m pleased to accept.
“I’m grateful to the Manor WEC Team for releasing me for this occasion and we will continue to work together for the remainder of their first season in endurance racing. No doubt my first Le Mans will be a special event in my career”.
“The plan with Will made sense for us as he already has recent knowledge of the ORECA.” added G-Drive Racing General Manager Alexander Krylov,
“He is extremely quick and has a good understanding of how to get the maximum out of an LMP2 car. The fact he knows Rene well from GT racing will also be a significant help as he integrates in to the team.”
Manor has drafted in Roberto Merhi to replace Stevens, having only entered one car to Le Mans despite running two for the remainder of the WEC season. He will race alongside Matt Rao and Tor Graves.
“I am very excited to be taking part in this great race that has so much history,” Merhi said.
“I am really looking forward to racing with Matt and Tor and seeing what we can achieve together. I would like to thank the team for this amazing opportunity.”