It will be a number of firsts for Rene Rast and Sebastien Loeb Racing this June, as the three-time Porsche Supercup champion and the French squad make their 24 Hours of Le Mans debuts.
The 27-year-old German was confirmed this week as the nominated driver for the team’s Oreca 03 Nissan LMP2 entry in the twice-around-the-clock endurance classic.
It will mark Rast’s first appearance in the race and also first time driving a prototype, after enjoying a considerable amount of success in GT racing, including class wins at the Rolex 24 at Daytona and 24 Hours of Spa.
“Le Mans has always been among my dreams,” Rast said. “It is a pleasure and an honor to be a driver for such a team as Sébastien Loeb Racing. I drove against that team last year and I could see how professionally they were working.
“I think we will have both a strong squad and a very good driver lineup. Crossing the finish line is my main aim, it would be a dream to end up on the podium.
“Driving a prototype will be a first for me, but I did some years of formula racing and I know how a downforce car works. I hope I will quickly adapt to it. I have to learn but I am committed and determined to deliver a good performance.”
Rast is the only driver confirmed in the team’s Le Mans effort thus far.
Sebastien Loeb Racing was forced to withdraw its LMP2 entry the previous two years due to funding issues but it’s understood they have already confirmed their budget for 2014.
The No. 24 Oreca Nissan will also compete in the European Le Mans Series, alongside its new Audi R8 LMS ultra. Driver lineups for both full-season entries will be announced at a later date.
“It will be our return to prototypes and we are already familiar with the ELMS as we took part in it in 2012,” said team co-owner and manager Dominique Heintz.
“Besides the 24 Hours of Le Mans’s preparation, we will also have the opportunity to fight for the first place overall and our partners are essentially from Europe.
“Last year, the championship proved to be very attractive, with great on-track battle.”
Despite having driven in the team’s FIA GT Series program last year, Loeb will not be part of either lineup as the nine-time World Rally Champion focuses on his new duties in the WTCC with Citroen.