SunEnergy1 Racing is set for a rotation of co-drivers for its Mercedes-AMG GT3 in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship that will include Tristan Vautier and the potential for several NASCAR and open-wheel stars, according to team owner Kenny Habul.
Habul said that Vautier, who moved into a full-season Prototype seat with Spirit of Daytona this year, has been confirmed for the GT-only rounds at Lime Rock Park and Virginia International Raceway.
The 28-year-old Frenchman drove for the team in its first season of GT Daytona class competition last year, highlighted by podiums at Sebring and Circuit of The Americas.
“I’m very, very proud of Tristan and I helped him as much as I could,” Habul told Sportscar365.
“We’re good friends. We’ll do Bathurst and we’ll do a couple of the GT-only rounds in IMSA that don’t clash with the Prototypes.
“He’s been helpful with me in giving me advise on helping me become a better driver.
“He’s super fast, he deserves to be in IndyCar and I’m going to do what I can to get him there. I’m surprised he’s not there yet because he’s proven himself there and he needs to get back there.”
Vautier is one of several drivers that will share the wheel of the of the Riley Motorsports-run Mercedes this season with Habul, who hinted he could draft in additional star power.
Mercedes-AMG factory drivers Thomas Jaeger and Maro Engel, who joined Habul and Canadian Mikael Grenier in last weekend’s Rolex 24 at Daytona, are also possibilities for additional selected races.
“I’m super thankful to AMG for having provided Maro and Thomas. I look up to both those guys,” Habul said.
“Thomas Jaeger is a cool head, very wise and very experienced. He’s good for me and his coaching is excellent. I’d like to do some rounds with Thomas.
“And I might surprise everyone and pick some old F1 stars and famous people for one-offs.
“I love Jacques Villeneuve and I might ask him and whoever, maybe even people from NASCAR, [like] Jeff Gordon, some of my friends.
“I haven’t thought about it but it’s going to be interesting. I want to mix it up.”
Habul Targeting Additional Enduros
Set to make his Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour debut, Habul has outlined plans to take part in additional endurance races in the years to come.
The U.S.-based Australian will team up with Vautier, Jamie Whincup and Raffaele Marciello in a Scott Taylor Motorsport-run Mercedes GT3 this weekend, competing for overall honors.
“It’s my first time at the 12 Hour,” Habul said. “I raced here about 20 years ago in Formula Ford, did well and had fun.
“Of course i grew up watching Bathurst and seeing all of my heroes. It’s the best track in the world for me so I’m excited to go back with Mercedes and AMG.”
Habul said he’s targeting key enduros, such as the 24 Hours of Spa and Nürburgring 24, as the next races on his bucket list.
“For me, I’ve reached a fortunate place in my life where I can do some more of this,” he said.
“In the next few years I’m going to do the big races in Europe. I’m looking into that now and am excited to travel the world a little more and work a little less and have less.”