Will Stevens has been announced as Nathanaël Berton’s replacement in the No. 26 G-Drive Racing Oreca 05 Nissan for this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The team revealed on Thursday morning that Berthon has parted ways with the team, and news of his replacement came soon after, with Manor driver Will Stevens announced.
Stevens was set to compete in the race with Manor, after being signed to the team for the full FIA World Endurance Championship season, but he will be on loan to G-Drive for the race later this month and the test day this weekend.
“The offer to join G-Drive specifically for Le Mans and share the car with Rene and Roman was compelling,” said Stevens.
“My partnership with Rene at WRT Audi [in the Blancpain GT Series] is working well and with his and Roman’s experience in this race, it offered me a race-winning opportunity which I’m pleased to accept.
“I’m grateful to the Manor WEC Team for releasing me for this occasion and we will continue to work together for the remainder of their first season in endurance racing.”
This will be the ex-Formula 1 driver’s first 24 Hours of Le Mans, and he joins Roman Rusinov and Rene Rast in the G-Drive car.
“The plan with Will made sense for us as he already has recent knowledge of the Oreca,” added Alexander Krylov, G-Drive Racing general manager.
“He is extremely quick and has a good understanding of how to get the maximum out of an LMP2 car. The fact he knows Rene well from GT racing will also be a significant help as he integrates in to the team.”
This leaves Manor with an empty driver slot in its Oreca for Le Mans, to join Matt Rao and Tor Graves.
Both James Jakes and Roberto Merhi, drivers of Manor’s second LMP2 entry that does not have an entry for the race, would appear to be leading candidates.