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Bahrain Rookie Test Drivers Confirmed

De Vries, Jensen among rookie test nominees for end-of-year session in Bahrain…

Photo: MPS Agency

The FIA World Endurance Championship has announced the four drivers set to take part in this year’s returning rookie test at Bahrain International Circuit.

Nyck de Vries, Mikkel Jensen, Job van Uitert and Vincent Abril will each get the opportunity to have a minimum 30-lap stint in a car that won its class title last season.

Recently-confirmed FIA Formula 2 champion de Vries will drive a Toyota TS050 Hybrid, while BMW works driver Jensen will get behind the wheel of the Signatech Alpine A470 Gibson.

Van Uitert and Abril will each get to drive GTE-spec Porsches, with last year’s ELMS LMP3 champion van Uitert in the 2019-spec GTE-Pro 911 RSR and Abril listed in the previous-spec car with which Team Project 1 claimed the GTE-Am crown.

De Vries, who has not driven an LMP1 car before, follows in the footsteps of Thomas Laurent, Pipo Derani, Alex Lynn, Sam Bird who previously took part in the rookie test for Toyota.

The Dutch driver is contesting most of the 2019-20 WEC with Racing Team Nederland in the LMP2 category and made his 24 Hours of Le Mans debut earlier this year. 

Jensen’s 2019 season has also seen the Dane take the lead in the European Le Mans Series LMP3 title race with Jens Petersen and the Eurointernational team.

Van Uitert’s call-up follows a successful graduation from LMP3 to LMP2 for the Dutchman, who is on course to win back-to-back ELMS titles in the two classes.

Abril, meanwhile, made his Le Mans debut this year driving a GTE-Am Porsche and also contested the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup in an AKKA-ASP Mercedes-AMG GT3.

The Bahrain rookie was a regular fixture on the WEC calendar from 2015-2017, but the absence of a race in the Gulf region last season meant it didn’t take place in 2018.

The placement of drivers with the respective ‘Super Season’ champions is a new element, with previous rookie test editions involving multiple teams in each category.

This year’s rookie test will take place on Sunday, Dec. 15, one day after the 8 Hours of Bahrain.

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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