Gustavo Menezes says there’s a “lot of moving parts at play” for his racing future, with the American driver aiming to remain in top-class prototype racing despite Rebellion Racing’s exit from the FIA World Endurance Championship at the conclusion of this year.
The former LMP2 world champion, who has spent the last two WEC seasons with the Swiss squad, had initially been linked in French media to the newly announced Alpine LMP1 effort, which will utilize a modified version of the Rebellion R13 Gibson next year.
However, Menezes has stressed that he has no deal signed for 2021, with the 25-year-old instead taking a long-term approach.
“The way I’m looking into it next year, it’s more of a three-year plan and it’s hard to predict longer than that in motorsport,” Menezes told Sportscar365.
“I’m just trying to set myself up for a stable few years, and that’s where things get a bit complicated with LMH and LMDh coming. I just want to put myself in the best possible position for that and stay at the top of the sport in prototype racing.
“I do love driving these cars and it suits my style. I want to stay in that.”
Menezes said he was “flattered” to have had his name associated in the media with the Alpine LMP1 effort, and admitted he’s “very excited” to see the French manufacturer step up to the top class next year.
The Californian spent two seasons with Signatech Alpine in LMP2, claiming class victory at Le Mans and the WEC title in 2016.
“I’m very happy for Philippe [Sinault],” Menezes said. “He’s a very hard worker and I’m very happy to see his baby in that project come to life, not only in LMP1, but to see that the company up above has decided to step into Formula 1 as well.
“I think it’s a huge step for Alpine. They were a small company with a small budget, but now they are Renault with a Renault budget. Now they can make big plays, so that’s awesome for them.
“Obviously we’re going to slowly find out more about what Peugeot has to offer – what the future holds for them. Not a lot of information has been released.
“And I think this weekend might be a potential opportunity to see who else is looking at Hypercar and LMDh in the future.
“I think a lot of announcements that were due to happen after Sebring will happen now. We’ll see.
“This is the first time everyone is in one place so we can figure out that and the future of the championship. Hopefully there’s a place for me. I’m looking forward to trying to win this race with the team – one last time and all that – and afterwards we’ll see what the future holds.”
When asked if Alpine would be a natural fit, Menezes admitted the “chemistry is there, the history and the relationship.”
“But there’s a lot of moving parts at play,” he said. “That’s where I would prefer to take a step back rather than just going in saying ‘that sounds perfect’.
“I need to think what is best for my future. That’s why I came into this weekend just focused on the race, and I’ll let my management look at that.”
Menezes admitted that a return to LMP2 could be an option and is not a closed door.
“It’s just something I have to explore and see what works best for me, coming into that Hypercar era,” he added.
Daniel Lloyd contributed to this report