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Di Grassi Targets Le Mans Return Once LMP1 Future Becomes Clear

Lucas di Grassi only interested in a Le Mans return once LMP1’s future becomes clear…

Photo: Audi

Lucas di Grassi remains eager to return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the future and challenge for a maiden overall victory, but says the ACO must “figure out what they do with LMP1” before he comes back.

Di Grassi raced at Le Mans with Audi between 2013 and 2016, recording a best finish of second in 2014 alongside Tom Kristensen and Marc Gene, but left the FIA World Endurance Championship upon Audi’s withdrawal at the end of 2016, turning his focus to the German manufacturer’s new factory team in Formula E.

The Brazilian was poised to return to Le Mans last year in the GTE-Pro class with AF Corse, only for injury to rule him out after sustaining a broken leg in a charity soccer match.

While Le Mans remains on di Grassi’s radar, he said he wants to wait and see what action ACO and WEC officials take with the future of the LMP1 class, which will have just one manufacturer next season in Toyota following Porsche’s exit.

“I would love to, but I think the ACO has to figure out what they do with LMP1 before I come back,” di Grassi said when asked by Sportscar365 if a Le Mans return in 2018 was likely.

“I would love to win it overall, because no Brazilian has ever won it. The best result is mine, second and two thirds, but nobody ever won overall.”

Despite his former Audi teammate Andre Lotterer and 2016 FIA World Endurance Champion Neel Jani having both signed with Rebellion Racing to remain in the top prototype class next season, di Grassi believes the LMP1 privateers will not be able to challenge for the overall win.

“I would love to come back, even if they go for LMP2 or anything, or if they make the GTs look like LMP1 cars, whatever they decide,” he said.

“But at the moment, this year, it’s Toyota against nobody, which is difficult if you’re not in Toyota. You have to pray for them to have a reliability issue which is not the right approach.

“So I will wait. I would love to come back. It’s one of the races I haven’t won which I really, really want to race again.”

Asked if another entry with AF Corse in 2018 to make up for this year’s absence could happen, di Grassi said: “I think that’s very unlikely.”

Di Grassi was given the freedom to race at Le Mans last year by Audi following its exit, but after stepping up to a factory entry in Formula E this year, racing for a rival manufacturer may prove more troublesome.

LMP1 will feature a large number of privateer entries for the 2018/19 WEC ‘Super Season’, with the regulations targeting close competition with the hybrid manufacturer cars.

Luke Smith is a British motorsport journalist who has served as NBC Sports’ lead Formula 1 writer since 2013, as well as working on its online sports car coverage.

7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. David Chaste

    December 18, 2017 at 8:28 am

    Unless he’s hugely popular or successful in Formula E, when a team that can win overall besides Toyota comes along, they usually tend to go for drivers that have very recent lemans experience or drivers that are hugely popular or successful.

    So it doesn’t hurt to keep those lemans instincts up to date.

  2. BJones

    December 18, 2017 at 11:06 am

    Maybe I read this wrong or his words were taken out of text, but I believe I would drive anything. He states a Brazilian has never won, that would give more incentive to race, not sure who he thinks he is, but he is correct if they do not curb the Hybrid cars and not just say they did well bye bye, WEC and P1. Where is the attitude of McNish and others who loved to drive. Sounds like an agent statement to me.

    • TF110

      December 18, 2017 at 11:53 am

      He complains about Toyota having an advantage when his employer (Audi) had a diesel advantage for nearly a decade lol. Sounds like pr bs to me.

  3. Blaneysellstrashbags@Ring24

    December 19, 2017 at 9:13 am

    Dont call us…we will call you.

  4. Matt

    December 19, 2017 at 4:19 pm

    “I haven’t had any job offers yet” fixed that for ya Luc

  5. Carefull with that Eugene, axe.

    December 20, 2017 at 6:45 am

    But the question is: Will the cars have enough space for his ego?

  6. Russell Carpenter

    January 1, 2018 at 5:54 pm

    May your appreciation of the Formula-E experiment propel you to great things. You’re probably right thinking Le Mans is a waste of your talent until LMP1 comes back.

    Sadly, you fail to see being a driver for Audi/Joest pretty much guaranteed you a place on the podium in Sarthe, and FE is akin to kart racing – fun, but not all that important in the grand scheme of things. So, saying you’re going to wait for LMP1 to sort itself out, as if you’re Tom Kristensen or Derek Bell, sounds a bit like you’ve lost sight of reality.

    Good luck out there.

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