Despite enjoying a storybook season together, which included class victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the LMP2 title in the FIA World Endurance Championship, Martin Plowman, Bertrand Baguette and Ricardo Gonzalez have all gone their separate ways for 2014.
While Baguette landed a factory Honda drive in Super GT and Plowman is set to make his Indianapolis 500 debut with AJ Foyt Racing, Gonzalez has made the move to the European Le Mans Series, teaming with ART Grand Prix in the GTC class.
The 36-year-old Mexican’s program was officially announced this week, which will see him share the wheel of a McLaren MP4-12C with Alex Brundle and Karim Ajlani.
“It’s been a long winter and after an almost perfect year in 2013 we wanted to take our time to find the best possible project for 2014,” Gonzalez said. “We were in contact with many LMP2 teams but we really couldn’t find the right opportunity to defend our title, and when this opportunity with ART we decided that it would be good to take on a new challenge in a different category.”
The veteran open-wheel outfit, led by Frederic Vasseur, expands to a two-car full-season ELMS program in the stacked GT3-based category, which features 16 entries for this month’s season-opener at Silverstone.
GTC could arguably be the most competitive class in the ELMS this year, a challenge Gonzalez is up for, despite it being his first time in a McLaren.
“ART Grand Prix is one of the most successful and powerful teams in Europe, you just have to see the list of drivers that have gone through here, and all the victories, to know that you are with the best,” Gonzalez said.
“And also the McLaren GT3 has proven that it can be very fast, which is why I’m sure that it’s a winning combination and that we’ll have the tools to go fight for another championship.”