Mathieu Jaminet and Harrison Newey will be on-hand to drive for Team Penske at the 24 Hours of Le Mans test day, in addition to the American LMP2 squad’s race lineup.
The names of Porsche factory driver Jaminet and former DTM competitor Newey appear on the side of the No. 5 Oreca 07 Gibson, which the Penske crew is preparing ahead of this weekend’s scrutineering and testing activities.
Team Penske managing director Jonathan Diuguid told Sportscar365 that they will be on reserve driver duties for the next week or so leading up to the race on June 11-12.
Felipe Nasr, Dane Cameron and Emmanuel Collard are also shown on the car and are due to team up for next weekend’s FIA World Endurance Championship round.
“[We’re] basically just trying to cover our bases for the potentiality of somebody getting sick or something like this,” Diuguid said.
“That’s the main goal: just trying to make sure we have options if something goes wrong. But if it’s a deluge, and it’s raining, they may not get to drive it all. That’s sort of the situation.
“I hope it’s not that way; we really don’t want to miss the track time because it is quite important for us.
“But yeah, the main goal is to get those guys some laps in the morning and then sort of see how the day goes.”
Jaminet’s link to the Penske effort comes through Porsche, which employs the Frenchman and is partnered with Penske on its factory LMDh project for next year.
Newey was previously contracted to Multimatic, which is a key technical partner involved in the Porsche LMDh effort. But a Multimatic spokesperson has informed Sportscar365 that Newey’s Penske backup role at Le Mans is not related to the engineering company.
Furthermore, Diuguid dismissed the suggestion that the involvement of both drivers in Penske’s Le Mans preparations points to future involvement in the LMDh program.
Jaminet is known to have tested the Porsche LMDh car, the development of which is taking up the full focus of Penske’s sports car racing department after Le Mans.
“I would just say it’s for covering our bases specifically for Le Mans,” said Diuguid.
“[With] reserve driver rules, both Harrison and Mathieu have driven at previous Le Mans races so they don’t have to do simulator sessions and a bunch of other stuff like that.
“So it is an easier choice for the team with all of the rest of our testing.”
Jaminet currently drives full-time for Pfaff Motorsports in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTD Pro class, while Newey hasn’t competed since 2020.
The Brit’s most recent program came in the DTM’s Class 1 era with Team WRT. He also won the LMP2 class at the 2020 Rolex 24 at Daytona driving a DragonSpeed-run Oreca.
Newey made his first and so far only Le Mans appearance in 2018 with for SMP Racing while Jaminet did the same with Porshe GT Team one year later.
Full Test Day Entry List Released
The ACO has issued a full 62-car entry list for the Le Mans test day, with some other additions to note.
Alex Peroni, who raced in Indy Lights last year, is set to turn laps in the No. 47 Algarve Pro Racing Oreca which is being raced by Sophia Floersch, Jack Aitken and Peroni’s current European Le Mans Series co-driver John Falb.
Jody Fannin is due to get behind the wheel of the JMW Motorsport Ferrari 488 GTE Evo.
Fannin won the 2017 ELMS GTE title with the British team, which is contesting Le Mans with a lineup of drivers from the North American sports car racing scene headlined by DPi ace Renger van der Zande.
Peugeot LMH driver Paul di Resta is listed in the No. 23 United Autosports Oreca for the test, while Matej Konopka is set to drive for fellow LMP2 entrant ARC Bratislava.
Team WRT drivers Rene Rast and Mirko Bortolotti are each shown in more than one LMP2 car from the Belgian outfit.
This is also the case for Toyota Gazoo Racing, which has Brendon Hartley and Ryo Hirakawa nominated in the No. 7 Toyota GR010 Hybrid as well as the No. 8.
Conversely, No. 7 Toyota regulars Mike Conway and Kamui Kobayashi are also listed in the Japanese manufacturer’s No. 8 machine.