LMP2 regular Francois Perrodo will spearhead an all-French VLN entry later this year, competing in three races in a WRT Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo after this weekend’s Nürburgring 24.
Perrodo will join long-time teammates Matthieu Vaxiviere and Emmanuel Collard in the car for VLN 4, 6 and 8, beginning next month.
Perrodo and Vaxiviere finished third in LMP2 in last weekend’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, driving a TDS Racing Oreca 07 Gibson with Loic Duval.
The Bronze-rated Frenchman says he first discovered his love of the Nürburgring Nordschleife on a track day a few years ago, and has had ambitions to race in the N24 ever since.
“I think like anyone else who’s discovered that track, I completely fell in love,” Perrodo told Sportscar365. “A track like that shouldn’t exist but thank god it does, because it’s simply the most beautiful track in the world, it’s amazing.
“The idea was to get the permit, which we did early last year, then we did a couple of races with Vaxiviere and Collard in the Renault RS.01, which was a great experience, but the car itself has been designed for sprint races so it’s not quite perfect on the Nürburgring.
“Ultimately, my dream is to complete in the 24 Hours, but I think it’s a track that demands a lot of respect and experience so I think the plan is to do three or four VLN races per season, because the main championship remains WEC.
“This year, we’re driving with WRT in an Audi R8, so we’re going to do VLN 4, 6 and 8, I think. Something like this, with Collard and Vaxiviere. We’re three best friends, we know each other a lot.”
Perrodo revealed that he ‘shopped around’ for the right team to run his car in VLN later this year, and settled on WRT in part due to Collard and Vaxiviere’s relationships with team manager Vincent Vosse.
“[Emmanuel] knows Vincent from many years ago and Matthieu also has a relationship with him, and I met Vincent at Spa at the WEC race,” he said.
“He’s a super nice guy and we hit it off immediately, and hopefully it will be a good choice. I think the Mercedes was also an interesting choice, everybody says good things about it. Apparently it’s an easy car to drive for Ams.
“That was a close contender, but in the end, Vincent made what’s necessary to make the decision.”
WRT doesn’t have any cars in the N24 this weekend, and hasn’t made any VLN starts so far this season, but does have previous experience at the Nordschleife.
The trio’s first VLN race will be VLN 4 on July 13.
Daniel Lloyd contributed to this report.