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Hanley, Rao Join Manor for Mexico in Driver Shakeup

Ben Hanley, Matt Rao drafted into No. 24 Oreca 07 Gibson for 6H Mexico…

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

CEFC Manor TRS Racing has shuffled its driver lineup ahead of next month’s Six Hours of Mexico, with Ben Hanley and Matt Rao having been added to the No. 24 Oreca 07 Gibson alongside Jean-Eric Vergne.

The pairing replace Tor Graves and Jonathan Hirschi, who have both been in the car since the start of the FIA World Endurance Championship season.

An incident in Free Practice 2 at the Nürburgring for Hirschi, who overtook and made contact with another car while under a red flag, resulted in a seven-minute stop-and-hold penalty for the car in the race.

Rao makes his return to the British-run squad after being dropped by defending class champions Signatech Alpine Matmut, which has consolidated to a single-car effort for the remainder of the season and sees Andre Negaro take Rao’s seat in the No. 36 Alpine A470 Gibson.

Hanley, meanwhile, will drive for his fourth different LMP2 team this season, after subbing for drivers at both TDS Racing and G-Drive Racing earlier this season, alongside his full-season European Le Mans Series commitments with DragonSpeed.

Manor’s No. 25 Oreca remains with the unchanged lineup of Simon Trummer, Vitaly Petrov and Roberto Gonzalez, who is set to be the only Mexican driver in the race.

No other changes have been made to an updated entry list for the fifth round of the season, which sees a season-low 26-car grid.  

The Six Hours of Mexico is set for Sept. 1-3.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Luc

    August 18, 2017 at 9:27 am

    Rao was unimpressive at Alpine. Hanley has been very impressive at all the teams he has driven for this year. All in all positive for Manor as Tor Graves and Jonathan Hirschi are no top notch drivers.
    I would have liked that Manor kept the crews the same of a whole season.
    Last season and also this one now is a merry go round of drivers.

    • KW

      August 19, 2017 at 3:57 pm

      Graves and Hirschi paid for their drives, but obviously only until Le Mans. Rao is probably in because Signatech had to pay him out of the contract after the decision to withdraw their second car; he probably used this money to buy the Manor seat for the rest of the season. Manor has no chance to employ “top notch” drivers, they have to see who can afford the ride.

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