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More Drivers Added to Bahrain Rookie Test Lineup

Additional rookie test drivers nominated for end-of-year outing in Bahrain…

Photo: Toyota

A further six drivers have been confirmed for next month’s FIA World Endurance Championship end-of-year test at Bahrain International Circuit.

The entry list for the one-day test on Sunday, Dec. 15. now includes Harrison Newey, Roberto Merhi, Maxwell Root, Jonathan Cochet, Michael Markussen and Nicklas Nielsen.

Super Formula racer and 2017-18 Asian Le Mans champion Newey is one of four drivers set to get behind the wheel of G-Drive Racing’s Aurus-badged Oreca 07 Gibson.

The Brit will share duties in the LMP2 car with ex-Formula 1 driver Merhi, who contested the WEC’s secondary prototype class with Manor in 2016, as well as Cochet and Mikkel Jensen.

42-year-old Frenchman Cochet last raced an LMP2 machine in 2004, when he won the 1000km of Spa in a Courage C65.

Jensen, meanwhile, was one of the four WEC-nominated drivers originally confirmed for the test last month, along with Nyck de Vries, Job van Uitert and Vincent Abril.

Elsewhere in LMP2, Danish national touring car racer Markussen is to sample an Oreca prepared by High Class Racing.

The two rookie additions in the GTE classes are European Le Mans Series class champion Nielsen and Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA competitor Maxwell Root.

Nielsen, who already drives for the AF Core Ferrari team in GTE-Am, will suit up to drive the Italian squad’s GTE-Pro class contender along with works driver Alessandro Pier Guidi.

20-year-old American Root will get his first taste of Team Project 1’s Porsche 911 RSR, sharing seat time with Abril.

Furthermore, full-season Toyota drivers Kamui Kobayashi and Brendon Hartley will be on-hand to turn laps in the Japanese manufacturer’s LMP1 car.

The test will primarily see de Vries and Yamashita gain their first mileage in the Toyota TS050 Hybrid, while the team’s reserve driver Thomas Laurent will also be present.

A total of 12 cars are on the entry list for the rookie test, including a Rebellion Racing R13 Gibson LMP1 and both of the Jota Sport-run Oreca 07 Gibon LMP2s.

Driver lineups for these additions have not yet been announced.

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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