A pair of prototype stars could serve as subs for two of Vaillante Rebellion’s drivers in next month’s Six Hours of Nürburgring, due to the clash with the FIA Formula E race in New York City on the same weekend.
Sportscar365 has learned that Filipe Albuquerque and Pipo Derani have been tipped to fill in for Nico Prost and Nelson Piquet Jr. in the Anglo-Swiss squad for the fourth round of the FIA World Endurance Championship.
While it’s unclear on the exact pairings for the German round, Albuquerque and Derani would join full-season drivers Mathias Beche and David Heinemeier Hansson (No. 13) and Bruno Senna and Julien Canal (No. 31) within the two-car Oreca 07 Gibson LMP2 squad.
Team manager Bart Hayden declined comment when asked about their lineup for the race.
Both drivers are taking part in this month’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, with Albuquerque in United Autosports’ Ligier JS P217 Gibson as part of a continuation of his full-season European Le Mans Series effort with the team, while Derani is completing his three-race program with Ford Chip Ganassi Racing in the GTE-Pro class No. 67 Ford GT.
It’s understood both Prost and Piquet were due to skip the German WEC round because of their previous Formula E commitments with Renault e.Dams and NextEV, respectively.
Prost currently sits third in the Formula E title race behind championship leader Sebastien Buemi, who will be forced to miss the double-header New York round because of his factory LMP1 ride with Toyota Gazoo Racing taking priority.
Fellow Toyota driver Jose Maria Lopez, as well as his DS Virgin Racing teammate Sam Bird, will also forgo the New York event in favor of the WEC weekend, with the team’s test and reserve driver, Alex Lynn, set to fill one of those two seats.
Ironically, Lynn too has a full-time WEC ride, which he’ll be forced to relinquish that weekend, in the No. 26 G-Drive Racing Oreca, with Jean-Eric Vergne another driver pulling double duty in both championships this year.
FIA President Jean Todt has made a push for future calendar “harmonization” between Formula One, WEC and Formula E races, in the wake of recent clashes, such as the Nurburgring/New York City conflict that has impacted a half-dozen drivers.