After nearly two seasons away, Bruno Senna returns to the FIA World Endurance Championship and is targeting a run for the LMP2 championship with the new, but highly experienced RGR Sport by Morand team.
The 32-year-old Brazilian is set for his LMP2 debut in the Mexican-backed team’s Ligier JS P2 Nissan alongside Audi factory driver Filipe Albuquerque and team owner/driver Ricardo Gonzalez.
Sportscar365 caught up with Senna to get his thoughts on the new venture, his re-acclimation to prototype racing as well as their outlook in the highly competitive LMP2 class this year ahead of this weekend’s season-opening Six Hours of Silverstone.
How did this opportunity with RGR Sport by Morand come about?
“I’ve known [RGR Sport sporting director] Toni Calderon for a few years now. When they were organizing the Mexico race, they saw an opportunity to do this program as well.
“It’s fantastic that they thought about me. My last experience with prototypes was in 2009 with ORECA, so I’m really happy that they chose me to come along.
“We always talk about the project, the team, the drivers. And Ricardo [Gonzalez] has had great success in endurance racing, so from the beginning we thought this could be a winning project.
“That’s the thing that nailed it for me. And then Filipe [Albuquerque] got involved, so everything is good.”
What does it mean for you to be back in the WEC?
“It’s fantastic. Every time you go into a different category inside a different championship, it gives you a different perspective.
“When you’re in GT, you’re always looking in your mirrors. You’re always trying to figure out what everyone else is thinking.
“Then P2 is a the middle ground where you’re looking in your mirrors for the LMP1s but you’re trying to overtake the GT cars, so the fight is pretty big. It’s quite cool that the fight is so strong this year. The P2 grid is very, very strong as well.”
Your last prototype experience came some seven years ago with the ORECA 01 LMP1 effort. Did that help you in any way in acclimating to the Ligier JS P2?
“In terms of driving the car itself, I think it doesn’t change so much. But that did teach me how to save fuel, how to be more efficient. I actually carried that into the rest of my career.
“In F1, I could start the race with less fuel than my teammates, and this would give me a good advantage at the beginning of the race. I could make positions, I could save my tires.
“And in Formula E of course its fantastic to know how to save fuel. I’m quite efficient in the races, I’m always going forward. So I think that experience helped me mature a bit as a driver.”
With Morand’s operations, with some OAK Racing personnel and Ricardo’s ownership role, have you been pleased how the entire program has come together?
“It’s very important for everyone that it was going to be a fresh thing for everybody. I’m new. It will be important that the engineers and the staff and the team would be familiar with the cars and have good assistance from OAK, who ran the car last year.
“Ricardo has run the car last year. Filipe obviously knows prototypes very well. It’s nice to get some fresh minds into it, but also it was important to get some experience too.”
What are your realistic targets this year?
“We think that we can win races and hopefully challenge for the championship. That was the plan from the beginning, and the plan hasn’t changed. But the bar has been set higher. So we still have some work to do, and then we can be there.
“Endurance racing is not only about being the fastest. It’s about being consistent. It’s about good luck and doing good strategy. So it’s going to be pretty tough, but we know these guys can do it.”