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Treluyer Working on LMP1 Return

Benoit Treluyer working on LMP1 return in FIA World Endurance Championship…

Photo: Audi

Benoit Treluyer could make his return to prototype competition, with the three-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner talking with “several teams” on a potential FIA World Endurance Championship program for the 2018-19 season.

The Frenchman, who remains an Audi-contracted driver this year, is reportedly close to signing with a LMP1 privateer team.

Both SMP Racing and the Manor-run CEFC TRSM Racing outfit are the leading LMP1 teams yet to finalize its full driver lineups, which will field two cars apiece in the revived top prototype class.

Treluyer, however, insists that a deal has yet to be reached but is hopeful of a comeback to the category.

“If I come back, it will be in LMP1 or in a very good LMP2 team,” he told Endurance-Info. “I want to have a chance to get on the podium.

“Winning Le Mans is again on my mind. I’ve been talking with several teams but nothing is finalized. I’ve been approached by different teams and my phone has been ringing more than in the past.”

While having received offers to remain in the prototype ranks, Treluyer shifted his focus to GT3 racing last year following’s Audi’s exit from LMP1, which saw the 41-year-old take on the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup with Belgian Audi Club Team WRT and make his debut in the Italian GT Championship.

Treluyer admitted that he needed a break from top-level prototype competition but is now ready to return.

“I think I needed a weaning after the Audi [LMP1] adventure,” he said. “More than a shock, the end of the LMP1 program was a disappointment. I needed a break and I didn’t feel like coming back.

“But the desire has now returned. Whenever I drive, I’ve always been honest with myself. If you don’t want to drive at Le Mans, then it’s better not to come at all.”

SMP and Manor are both coming off week-long tests at Motorland Aragon, which saw Mikhail Aleshin, Vitaly Petrov and 2017 European Le Mans Series LMP2 race winners Egor Orudzhev and Matevos Isaakyan share the wheel of a BR Engineering BR1 AER.

So far, only Aleshin and Petrov are confirmed at SMP, with Charlie Robertson and Oliver Rowland two of the expected six drivers for Manor’s pair of Ginetta G60-LT-P1 Mecachrome entries.

ByKolles, with its revised ENSO CLM P1/01 NISMO, was also in attendance, although it’s understood Treluyer is not in contention for the team’s two remaining seats.

Treluyer/Lotterer/Fassler Reunion for Suzuka 10H?

The most successful LMP1 driver trio in WEC history could be reunited for the Suzuka 10 Hours in August, with Treluyer tipped to join Andre Lotterer and Marcel Fassler at the wheel of an Audi R8 LMS.

The new-for-2018 event will mark the third round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge, in a race that will feature factory support from the German manufacturer.

Should the deal materialize, it would mark the first time all three drivers have shared the wheel of the same car since the end of the Audi R18 program in Bahrain 2016.

“That would be great if all three of us could do this race together,” Treluyer said. “But for that, it’s necessary that the budget is gathered.

“Driving in GT is different from a prototype but the desire to win is the same.”

Laurent Mercier contributed to this report

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Steven

    February 25, 2018 at 11:34 am

    Really hope Treluyer gets a ride. He was always one of the quickest drivers in the Audi camp and always seemed like a humble guy.

  2. Mart

    February 25, 2018 at 1:05 pm

    Not in contention at Kolles. If he would give a sh*t. That team has to go asap. Crooks

    • TF110

      February 25, 2018 at 5:04 pm

      Why do you say that? You have inside information that they’re ‘crooks’ as you put it? Or is it just personal disdain? Genuinely curious how you came to this conclusion.

      • Tyler Sanders

        February 25, 2018 at 7:42 pm

        He just made something up that is all.

  3. AF

    February 25, 2018 at 5:28 pm

    Told you.

  4. Jordan

    February 26, 2018 at 3:01 am

    I consider him and Andre to be the fastest sports car drivers the past few years.

  5. Matias Lee

    February 27, 2018 at 3:34 am

    Lotterer had kind of relationship with Lexus/Toyota when racing in Super GT but maybe Toyota LMP1 isn’t what he like. Treluyer is also connected with Nissan along his career in Super GT but that also didn’t bring him any chance.
    Maybe they think Japanese manufacturers are simply employers to them.

    • hodari

      February 28, 2018 at 2:01 am

      Their relationship with the Japanese constructors are limited only to the Japanese series (Super GT\Super formula). They are factory drivers for Porsche (Lotterer) and Audi (Treluyer).

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