WEC: Vanwall selects former F1 champion Villeneuve for Le Mans

WEC: Vanwall selects former F1 champion Villeneuve for Le Mans

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WEC World Endurance Championship: Villeneuve was set to return to Le Mans with the Vanwall Hypercar

WEC : Vanwall has replaced its former driver Formula 1 Jacques Villeneuve and the winner of the championship IMSA SportsCar Tristan Vautier returns to Le Mans 24 Hours next month.

WEC World Endurance Championship: Villeneuve was expected to return to Le Mans in June as part of his quest to complete the Triple Crown of Motorsport, but is now at his blue riband event. WEC. It is unclear whether the 52-year-old will return for the remaining three rounds of the season at Monza, Fuji and Bahrain – although he is on the entry list for Monza. Villeneuve made his long-awaited World Endurance Championship debut this year with the Vanwall Hypercar team, joining Tom Dillmann and Esteban Guerrieri in his Vandervell 680 LMH hybrid.

However, he struggled to find competition in the season opener, with a crash at the Sebring Prologue and another race-ending incident with a Ferrari GTE at Spa compounding his woes. He also took part in another detour at Portimao in April, although this followed a brake failure on his Vanwall which saw him unable to stop the car in time to avoid hitting the barriers. Villeneuve won the Indy 500 in 1995 before moving to F1, winning the championship in just his second season in 1997 with Williams. He previously made two Le Mans appearances with the Peugeot Works team in 2007-08, finishing second in 2008 in a Peugeot 908 co-owned by Marc Gene and Nicolas Minassian.

WEC: Villeneuve will be replaced at Vanwall by former JDC-Miller driver Vautier, who raced at the Circuit de la Sarthe last year in an Oreca 07 entered by ARC Bratislava in the LMP2 class. Vautier has raced with JDC-Miller in IMSA since 2018 and scored his first win at Sebring last year alongside teammates Loic Duval and Sebastien Bourdais. However, he was not retained by JDC-Miller following his move from Cadillac to a Porsche customer machine in 2023, with the 33-year-old signing with Algarve Pro in the European Le Mans Series. Vautier was not named as part of the series Le Mans of Algarve Pro in the LMP2 class, but will race at La Sarthe for the second consecutive season after joining Vanwall. Dillmann and Guerrieri will be teammates in what will be the first outing at Le Mans since 2020 for the team that previously ran under the ByKolles name.

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