Image credit: Florent Gooden / DPPI.
Following the close of the 2015 FIA World Endurance Championship season in Bahrain, the WEC and its LMP1 manufacturer partners Audi, Porsche and Toyota will hold an official ‘Rookie Test’ to offer up-and-coming drivers the opportunity to get behind the wheel of an LMP1 hybrid car. The inaugural test will take place at the Bahrain International Circuit on Sunday 22 November, the day after the 6 hours of Bahrain.
Three drivers who have shown the best performance, determination and race skills during 2015 have been chosen by the ACO and FIA from within major endurance racing championships, and not just from within the WEC.
Each of the prototype manufacturers will test with at least one LMP1 car, and each of the drivers chosen will be given the opportunity to complete at least 30 laps with one manufacturer.
Sam Bird (GBR) currently driving in the WEC for G-Drive and Formula-E for DS-Virgin will drive the Toyota TS040 HYBRID.
Mitch Evans (NZL), who’s performance with JOTA Sport at the WEC 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps and the 24 Hours of Le Mans brought him to the attention of the selection committe, will test the Porsche 919 Hybrid.
Finally, Aston Martin Factory and GP2 driver Richie Stanaway (NZL) will test the Audi R18 e-tron quattro.
“Of the many potential candidates we considered for selection, these three have shown outstanding performances which we considered merited the test drives in Bahrain.” said President of the ACO, Pierre Fillon. “Sam Bird, Mitch Evans and Richie Stanaway have all come from GP2, and we respect that Sam has made the full commitment this year to endurance racing.
“Mitch’s excellent performance at Spa and Le Mans brought him very much to our attention, while Richie has not failed to impress in the Aston Martin. Moving from LMGTE Am to the Pro category, he has demonstrated how it is possible to progress through the categories, just as it is possible for drivers to follow a career path through endurance racing’s different levels.”
Gérard Neveu, CEO of the World Endurance Championship, added: “This first Rookie Test is a fantastic opportunity for these three up-and-coming endurance drivers to test an LMP1 prototype, the most technologically advanced race cars in the world.”
“This Rookie Test will give drivers an added bonus to their season, and forms an important element in the progressive career path available within the endurance family.”