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Manor Confirms WEC Entry with Oreca 05 Nissan

Manor joins LMP2 grid in WEC for 2016 season…

Photo: Manor

Photo: Manor

The Manor name will join the FIA World Endurance Championship grid in 2016, which sees the new adventure realized for Graeme Lowdon and John Booth after they left Formula 1.

Lowdon and Booth, the former CEO and team principal of the Manor Marussia F1 team, left the team at the tail end of last year as part of a restructuring effort in the team.

Following their exit, Lowdon posted a photo on Twitter under a new account, @RealManor, hinting at a new adventure for he and Booth.

That new adventure is running the No. 44 Oreca 05 Nissan in the WEC, to join an already stacked 10-car LMP2 class. Booth and Marc Hynes will be Manor’s executives this season at what will be known as Manor Endurance Racing Ltd., a subsidiary of Manor Motorsport.

The team will announce its full race driver lineup beyond first driver Tor Graves ahead of the official preseason test event, The Prologue, to be held at Paul Ricard at the end of March.

“We are delighted to be joining the World Endurance Championship. It is a fantastic series that visits iconic tracks all over the world. The level of competition is very high and we are really looking forward to racing again,” said Booth, who will serve as team principal.

“The LMP2 class is specifically designed for teams independent of manufacturers and/or engine suppliers which places the focus firmly on how the team performs.”

Lowdon, the team’s sporting director, added, “It’s really great to be racing again and the FIA World Endurance Championship provides a fantastic challenge for us.

“Pre-season testing starts soon and there is a lot to do but we have never been afraid of a bit of hard work.

“There is a real buzz within the team at the moment, we have enjoyed great support from the fans over the last few months and we are very keen for them to get fully involved in what we are doing. We all have a great passion for motorsport and we are keen to share that passion.”

Graves has been named as the team’s first driver. The Thai driver has past experience with the team, having raced in 1998, 1999 and 2003, the 1999 year of which saw Manor blitz the British Formula 3 Championship.

It’s a two-year contract for Graves and sees him back racing full-time following his retirement announcement a couple years ago.

“We are delighted to welcome Tor back to the team in the role of race driver for the upcoming seasons,” Booth said. “We have worked with Tor a number of times and know that he has both the speed and the experience that we need as a team entering a championship that is new to us.

“Tor has raced in a number of championships and he understands the WEC very well, competing in it for over two seasons.

“I know that Tor will fit in with the rest of the team very quickly, he is an extremely affable character and is very professional in his approach to racing, something that he has a real love for. I am really looking forward to going racing with him again.”

Graves added: “It’s really great to be back at Manor again. I have such good memories of racing with John in the past and now I am really keen to be writing a new chapter for the team as we enter the FIA World Endurance Championship.

“I am very fortunate to have worked with John and Marc before so I am already very much at ease within the team.

“Preseason testing starts next month, so my focus now is to continue to prepare for that and I can’t wait to drive the car for the first time.”

Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno) is Sportscar365's North American Editor, focusing on coverage of the IMSA-sanctioned championships as well as Pirelli World Challenge. DiZinno also contributes to and other motorsports outlets. Contact Tony


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