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Rookie Test Drivers Named; Wadoux to Sample Hypercar

Wadoux, Colombo, Pin, Gehrsitz named as selected drivers for Bahrain rookie test…

Photo: MPS Agency

LMP2 driver Lilou Wadoux will drive this year’s Hypercar title-winning machine at the FIA World Endurance Championship rookie test in Bahrain.

The French racer is one of four drivers selected by the WEC to turn laps in the annual post-season test which is being held on Nov. 13, one day after the 2022 season finale.

Lorenzo Colombo, Doriane Pin and Finn Gehrsitz have also been chosen to sample machinery from other categories.

The quartet was assembled by the WEC based on “performance, race skills and commitment”.

Wadoux will be guaranteed at least 30 laps in either the LMH-spec Toyota GR010 Hybrid or the LMP1-spec Alpine A480 Gibson, depending on which comes out on top in the manufacturers’ world championship.

Colombo will drive the GTE-Pro car that wins the corresponding manufacturers’ title, while Pin will test the title-winning Oreca 07 Gibson from the LMP2 class.

German teenager Gehrsitz, who drives for United Autosports in the European Le Mans Series LMP3 class, has been selected to drive an Aston Martin Vantage GTE.

Wadoux, 21, made the step up to prototype racing this year from the Alpine Elf Europa Cup, securing a WEC drive with Richard Mille Racing Team in the LMP2 class.

She currently shares the No. 1 Oreca with last year’s Hypercar rookie test driver Charles Milesi and Paul-Loup Chatin.

The pair were joined by eight-time World Rally champion Sebastien Ogier for the first three rounds of the season including the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

“I am very happy to have been selected,” said Wadoux.

“Just a year ago, I took part in the Bahrain rookie test in LMP2 with Richard Mille, while I was racing in the Alpine Elf Europa Cup. It was a big step in my career because I suddenly found myself driving a prototype.

“I learned a lot and now I have a new opportunity with a new test, but this time at the steering wheel of a Hypercar.

“It’s a dream come true and I’m delighted. On a personal level, I am proud to show that women can reach the highest level of motorsport.

“I hope that my example will inspire young girls to follow this path.”

Colombo graduated to sports cars this year from FIA Formula 3 and has won three ELMS rounds with Prema standing in for the injured Juan Manuel Correa. The 21-year-old Italian has contributed to Prema being the points leader with two rounds to go.

Colombo’s main program with Prema has been in the WEC, where he shares the No. 9 Oreca with Robert Kubica and Louis Deletraz. The trio finished second in class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June.

Pin currently leads the Ferrari Challenge Europe standings and won the Gold Cup class at the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa as part of the Iron Dames crew.

The 18-year-old also guested for Iron Dames at the Spa-Francorchamps WEC round in May.

Gehrsitz is the only selected rookie test driver without WEC experience, although he is familiar with ACO-rules racing based on his ELMS drive this year and his February outings in the Asian Le Mans Series with Porsche GT3 outfit Herberth Motorsport.

“The FIA World Endurance Championship has a pool of tremendously talented drivers so to be chosen, Lilou, Lorenzo, Doriane and Finn have been measured against the best as rookies,” commented WEC CEO Frederic Lequien.

“The Rookie Test is a tremendous opportunity for these drivers to have a genuine track test in the car that will have won the championship in their category just the day before.

“This test is part of the FIA WEC Sporting Regulations as we strive to push young talent in our discipline and we have seen how beneficial this test can be for the careers of young drivers previously.

“We look forward to seeing all four drivers out in action in Bahrain.”

The 30-lap guarantee applies to each of the four selected drivers, while other drivers can take part in the five-hour test.

The WEC will issue a full rookie test entry list at a later date.

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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