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Catsburg Excited for “Different” Le Mans Challenge in LMP2

Nicky Catsburg on CrowdStrike by APR LMP2 drive in 24 Hours of Le Mans…

Photo: John Machaqueiro/Corvette Racing

Nicky Catsburg said he’s looking forward to the challenge of racing a LMP2 car at the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the first time, admitting that a ride in prototype ranks was his only real option of contesting this year’s French endurance classic.

The Dutchman, who won last year’s GTE-Am category with Corvette Racing, will team up with defending LMP2 Pro-Am class winners George Kurtz and Colin Braun in CrowdStrike by APR’s Oreca 07 Gibson.

It will mark Catsburg’s only second LMP2 race start following an outing in an Algarve Pro Racing Ligier JS P2 in the 2016 Asian Le Mans Series round in Zhuhai, although he holds several other previous starts in LMPC machinery.

“It’s going to be different,” he told Sportscar365. “It’s going to be [an adjustment] to this car for sure but it’s a cool challenge and it’s going to be a cool grid as well, with a lot of good cars.

“I’m really looking forward to it. The guys that I’m racing with won last year. It’s super nice to join last year’s winners and try and do it again.”

Catsburg’s long-running connection to the Stewart and Samantha Cox-run Algarve Pro squad, which operates the CrowdStrike entry, helped make his pursuit of achieving back-to-back Le Mans class wins a reality.

While known as one of the most accomplished GT drivers in the world, Catsburg was unable to contest Le Mans in the new-for-2024 LMGT3 class because of his status as a Corvette factory driver.

TF Sport, the only Corvette entrant this year, has entered its full-season FIA World Endurance Championship driver lineups in the race, leaving no room for the likes of Catsburg or fellow works driver Nico Varrone in the class.

“Many people are like, ‘You want to do that because you want to show that you can drive a Hypercar,'” Catsburg said.

“But not really. Honestly I feel like a GT car is closer to a Hypercar than a LMP2 is to a Hypercar.

“It’s just that I really wanted to do Le Mans. I can’t do it in a GT because I’d be racing against my employer, so that wouldn’t make much sense.

“The opportunity came about. I know the team a little bit from the past.

“I used to do a lot of work for Stewart Cox, many, many years ago when they were a much smaller team than they are now.

“It’s super nice that they put their trust in me because honestly there’s plenty of other guys with more experience in LMP2 [than me], so it’s very cool for me.

“Potentially it does open some doors to people that think that, ‘He could do it in a prototype as well, maybe we should consider him for this or that.’

“But that’s not really the goal. I’m just going there to try and win Le Mans in another class and have some fun.”

Catsburg said the drive, given his relative lack of prototype experience, does come with some added pressure, especially given the team’s goals.

“I wouldn’t say I’m not concerned at all but it’s like I need to be up to speed,” he said.

“I can’t be the rookie that needs a lot of time to get up to speed because we need to defend the win and I need to be as fast as the other guys in the car.

“I haven’t driven the LMP2 car for a long time. I wouldn’t say it stresses me but it’s a challenge. I need to push and I need to spend some time trying to improve myself.”

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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