Nico Hulkenberg is the latest Formula One driver to join the FIA World Endurance Championship, as the German has signed with Porsche for next year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans and Six Hours of Spa rounds.
The 27-year-old was named Thursday as the first driver for the team’s third Porsche 919 Hybrid, which it had confirmed earlier this week.
Hulkenberg, who will return to Sahara Force India next year, will become the first active F1 driver to compete at Le Mans since Sebastien Bourdais in 2009.
“I’ve been a Porsche fan for a long time and have been watching their return to the LMP1 class closely,” Hulkenberg said. “The desire grew to drive that car at Le Mans.
“I am very pleased the 2015 Formula One calendar allows for it and I’m grateful to my Sahara Force India Formula One Team’s generosity to let me go for it. Now it’s up to me to work hard to satisfy both commitments.”
Hulkenberg becomes the second F1 star to join Porsche’s factory LMP1 effort following Mark Webber, who made the switch from the premier open-wheel ranks to sports cars full time this year.
“Having caught the interest of another world class driver like Nico is validation for the job the entire Porsche LMP1 crew had done in our first WEC season,” said team principal Andreas Seidl.
“We’re looking forward to working with Nico and we want to thank the Sahara Force India F1 Team and team principal Vijay Mallya for loaning him to us.”
Porsche has yet to fill the two remaining seats in its third entry, although it’s understood the German manufacturer’s works GT pilots are in the running, including Michael Christensen and Fred Makowiecki, who recently tested the 919 Hybrid.