Andre Lotterer says there was no alternative date to accommodate his “important” Formula E simulator test that has prevented him from competing in the 1000 Miles of Sebring.
The Rebellion Racing LMP1 driver will miss an FIA World Endurance Championship race for the first time this week after prioritizing his sim session with DS Techeetah for the Sanya E-Prix on March 23.
Mathias Beche will take Lotterer’s place in the No. 1 Rebellion R-13 Gibson alongside Neel Jani and Bruno Senna, while Thomas Laurent, Gustavo Menezes and new signing Nathanael Berthon will co-drive the team’s No. 3 car.
“For me, it’s quite important now [to do] the sim before the race,” said Lotterer.
“Sanya is a new track, so we took a decision because we didn’t find any other way to put the sim days [in] because the team has to go to Sanya and there was a race clashing with it.
“So luckily, my team, Rebellion, understands and they found a driver to replace me without too many complications and I’ll be back at Spa and Le Mans.”
Lotterer said he was disappointed to lose his ever-present record in WEC but described his preparations for the inaugural Sanya Formula E race as more pressing.
Christian Ried, who is driving a Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR at Sebring, is now the only driver to have entered very WEC race since the series started in 2012.
“Times are changing and I’m looking ahead, into the future,” said Lotterer.
“Of course, it’s nice to have this record but it’s not as important as winning and it’s just about the participation.
“I was, of course, proud, but it’s a situation that came up and we had to do something about it and that’s the outcome.”
Lotterer Keeping Tabs on Hypercar Future
The three-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner added that he would be interested in racing under the proposed ‘Hypercar’ prototype regulations in order to win the French long-distance classic “a few more times”.
While no hypercar manufacturer programs have been confirmed, Lotterer said he doesn’t want to minimize his sports car involvement despite a hectic Formula E program with Techeetah.
A decision allowing production-based racing cars into the new top-level prototype formula, which is set to replace LMP1 starting in the 2020-21 WEC season, was issued last Thursday.
“To be honest, I don’t really know what’s going on, who is joining. In the end, there’s very little info really on who is really joining,” commented Lotterer.
“I think we need to wait. I’d love to see because I want to go and win Le Mans a few more times and be in a nice car and with my foot in there.
“Obviously, at the moment I’m focusing on Formula E a lot because I want to get the results but it doesn’t mean I put that [WEC] on the side.
“Hopefully, it shapes up and comes back strong.”