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2023 Le Mans top class drivers


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#1 HistoryFan

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Posted 01 November 2021 - 09:11

With a lot of manufactures joiningthe top class of the 24h of Le Mans in 2023 there are a lot of drivers needed.

Newest story: Yi Yefei is considered as driver for the Porsche LMDh effort.

 

So let's have a look what's likely:

 

Toyota

Sébastien Ogier is very much considered for Toyota and also Ryo Hirakawa had some tests. Current drivers: Kamui Kobayashi, Kazuki Nakajima, Sébastien Buemi, Brendon Hartley, Mike Conway, José María López

 

Peugeot

Kevin Magnussen, Jean-Eric Vergne and Gustavo Menezes in the first and Paul di Resta, Mikkel Jensen, Loic Duval confirmed in the second Hypercar for 2022 and I think all six drivers are very likely staying for 2023.

 

Ferrari

No drivers confirmed but I think Ferrari will have some of its GTE Pro drivers like James Calado, Sam Bird and Daniel Serra in the Hypercar. And I could also imagine to have some old F1 drivers like Kimi Räikkönen or Antonio Giovinazzi in it. And some junior like Callum Ilott as well.

 

Acura

Wayne Taylor Racing and Michael Shank Racing are likely to field at least one car each. Ricky Taylor and Filipe Albuquerque are likely to join WTR.

 

Cadillac

Ganassi and Action Express will field at least one car. Sébastien Bourdais, Earl Bamber and Renger van der Zande are likely to drive for Ganassi.

 

BMW

No drivers confirmed so far. But could be drivers like Timo Glock and Marco Wittmann - drivers from the BMW roaster.

 

Porsche

Felipe Nasr and Dane Cameron are likely to drive one of the Penske entered Porsche LMDh. Also Yi Yefei is consideres as drivers as are Porsche drivers like André Lotterer and Pascal Wehrlein as are Penske drivers like Will Power and Josef Newgarden.

 

Audi

Nico Müller and René Rast are confirmed with Robin Frijns likely to join. Kelvin van der Linde and Dries Vanthoor are also heavily linked to the programme.

 

Not sure if Glickenhaus and ByKolles will field an entry.



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#2 Radion

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Posted 01 November 2021 - 09:30

I want Kimi to win the 24hrs with Ferrari!

#3 TomNokoe

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Posted 01 November 2021 - 09:50

Charles Milesi deserves a look somewhere. Very quick.



#4 F1matt

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Posted 01 November 2021 - 10:03

There are some great drivers mentioned above but I would be very surprised to see Kimi in WEC. 



#5 BRG

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Posted 01 November 2021 - 10:25

 I would be very surprised to see Kimi in WEC. 

Just possible, but I think Ogier at Toyota is less likely.  He has dabbled in racing but really hasn't got the experience for a top level WEC seat.



#6 noikeee

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Posted 01 November 2021 - 12:33

I agree I think Ogier is fanciful, he can certainly do GTs but has he ever even raced high downforce cars, to go straight to an absolute top seat?

The problem I see with Kimi is he's prone to lapses of concentration, which sounds like a very bad idea through a Le Mans night stint. I think for all the mumbling public personality he'd be absolutely fine with the team player element of endurance, and I think he'll be interested in doing the WEC, he's raced right about anything, why not this? I think it's very likely he'll end up in the WEC, just not sure he'll be a success.

#7 Blundle

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Posted 01 November 2021 - 14:18

Alex Lynn is signed up with Ganassi Cadillac so that should translate to Le Mans in '23.  Presumably Tinknell and Jarvis will be at the top end of the grid - hasn't Jarvis been driving with Risi? 



#8 ARTGP

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Posted 01 November 2021 - 14:34

Neel Jani is practically a shoe in for Porsche.

 

If they are going to throw in all of these single seater guys, it will be chaos with the GT cars in the beginning....


Edited by ARTGP, 01 November 2021 - 14:38.


#9 Dara

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Posted 01 November 2021 - 14:40

I wouldn't be suprised if Vandoorne would end up in one of those cars. He's really showing his skill in the Jota.

#10 Dan333SP

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Posted 01 November 2021 - 15:29

I'd be surprised if Kevin Estre isn't at least tested in the Porsche, he's been one of their absolute best GT drivers for years now and although he missed racing the 919, I think he's a top shelf driver and it'd be silly to miss a chance to get him into that seat. 



#11 krapmeister

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Posted 01 November 2021 - 21:52

Surely Nico Hulkenberg has to be a chance for a seat, maybe at one of the German manufacturers? He is a Le Mans winner

And Will Power? Hmmm... as much as I love Will, is he really a good fit for sports cars? So much stuff 'just happens' to him ie. Will Power things...

Edited by krapmeister, 01 November 2021 - 21:55.


#12 ARTGP

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Posted 01 November 2021 - 22:07

Surely Nico Hulkenberg has to be a chance for a seat, maybe at one of the German manufacturers? He is a Le Mans winner

And Will Power? Hmmm... as much as I love Will, is he really a good fit for sports cars? So much stuff 'just happens' to him ie. Will Power things...

 

I don't think Nico will do any kind of full season considering that he is looking for an Indycar ride.  Also, if Will Power stays in Indycar, then he won't do WEC/IMSA.

 

Hulkenberg could probably get a seat for LM24 however.



#13 krapmeister

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Posted 01 November 2021 - 22:23

I don't think Nico will do any kind of full season considering that he is looking for an Indycar ride. Also, if Will Power stays in Indycar, then he won't do WEC/IMSA.

Hulkenberg could probably get a seat for LM24 however.

Not sure about the Hulk in Indycar. Sounding like there may not be anything coming from the AMSP test, wondering if Nico wasn't really taken by the experience? No rumours of him being lined up by any other teams either.

So if not Indycar, then WEC is probably his next (only?) option

Edited by krapmeister, 01 November 2021 - 22:28.


#14 messy

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Posted 01 November 2021 - 22:55

On paper at least, Magnussen, JEV and Menezes in the Peugeot sounds mighty, doesn’t it.

#15 ezequiel

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Posted 02 November 2021 - 01:21

Isn't Nyck De Vries the current Toyota test and development driver?



#16 OvDrone

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Posted 02 November 2021 - 01:48

I want Kimi to win the 24hrs with Ferrari!

 

He likes to sleep too much.



#17 krapmeister

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Posted 02 November 2021 - 02:53

He likes to sleep too much.


Mind you there would be plenty of time for him to have a sh!t and eat an ice cream (not necessarily at the same time)

#18 Amz964

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Posted 02 November 2021 - 09:04

Is Jarvis still in the Audi programme? If he is can see them being in one of the Audi seats. Also can see Di Grassi as he has experience.

Can see Hulk definitely in one of the Porsche even if it's a one off.

Didn't Charles say he wants to do Le Mans as well so he could be in one of the Ferrari seats.

Edited by Amz964, 02 November 2021 - 09:05.


#19 juicy sushi

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Posted 03 November 2021 - 18:52

Nakajima joins Davidson in exiting the Toyota WEC team:  https://racer.com/20...yota-wec-drive/



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#20 ARTGP

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Posted 03 November 2021 - 19:05

Nakajima joins Davidson in exiting the Toyota WEC team:  https://racer.com/20...yota-wec-drive/

 

I didn't see this coming. Also, Davidson hasn't driven for Toyota for some years now. He actually fully retired from racing (he was doing an LMP2 season for a few years now).

 

Strange. But it does pave the way for the other guy, Ryo Hirakawa.


Edited by ARTGP, 03 November 2021 - 19:06.


#21 HeadFirst

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Posted 03 November 2021 - 19:13

I never have understood why Nico H didn't go to WEC, when he realized an F1 seat was not going to happen. Why would he hang around F1, filling in for Covid victims, when he could be getting paid to race in an exciting world class series? Perhaps F1 is as advertised ... the Pinnacle of Motorsport. 



#22 ARTGP

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Posted 03 November 2021 - 19:24

I never have understood why Nico H didn't go to WEC, when he realized an F1 seat was not going to happen. Why would he hang around F1, filling in for Covid victims, when he could be getting paid to race in an exciting world class series? Perhaps F1 is as advertised ... the Pinnacle of Motorsport. 

 

He's only 34 years according to google. It's not surprising. He could easily hang about ambulance chasing an F1 seat for another 2-3 years, before actually committing to something like WEC.  Age/physical doesn't show as much in the WEC. Even Kubica is doing well.


Edited by ARTGP, 03 November 2021 - 19:24.


#23 Anja

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Posted 03 November 2021 - 19:29

Some drivers are like that, with F1 as their sole focus. Even if they find themselves out of F1 while still in their 20s or early 30s that's the end of their entire racing career because they reached their goal and no other racing matters.


Edited by Anja, 03 November 2021 - 19:34.


#24 HeadFirst

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Posted 03 November 2021 - 19:57

Some drivers are like that, with F1 as their sole focus. Even if they find themselves out of F1 while still in their 20s or early 30s that's the end of their entire racing career because they reached their goal and no other racing matters.

 

I guess that makes sense for some drivers, and then there are others who just enjoy racing ... anything.



#25 theblackangus

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Posted 03 November 2021 - 22:18

Anyone know why Kaz is stepping down?



#26 ARTGP

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Posted 03 November 2021 - 22:48

Anyone know why Kaz is stepping down?

 

Theres an article on sportscar365 now.

https://sportscar365...ta-in-new-role/

 

I think they are replacing him with Hirokawa....They claim he's being ushered into a different role within TGR. The whole interview reads like the decision was made for him, not the other way around.

 

Toyota did Kaz dirty. I can't say I like this.

 

 

Nakajima said he still feels he has what it takes to be a top-level driver and had been looking forward to the influx of manufacturers to the WEC in the coming years, prior to the decision having been made.

“Yes that’s what I believe,” he said. “Like we did last week, I believe that I can still drive a car properly and still do something as a race car driver.

“That’s part of my sadness, to be honest. I know we are heading to a great era of the new WEC championship with a lot of manufacturers coming.

“There will be a lot of competition going on. As a race car driver I was trying and looking forward to race in this period. 

“It is my sadness but as I explained before, I have a lot of positive feeling for the future.


Edited by ARTGP, 03 November 2021 - 22:51.


#27 HistoryFan

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Posted 06 November 2021 - 10:03

Hope he'll stay at Super Formula.



#28 HistoryFan

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Posted 20 November 2021 - 17:59

Alessio Rovera to become Ferrari factory driver.

 

https://sportscar365...factory-driver/



#29 William Hunt

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Posted 21 November 2021 - 21:27

".....I think they are replacing him with Hirokawa...."

 

Sébastien Ogier also not impossible but seems too soon for him so probably Ryo Hirakawa. 



#30 TennisUK

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Posted 21 November 2021 - 21:33

Seems far too early for Ogier, particularly as by 2023 we all know the class is going to be a bit crazy.

#31 HistoryFan

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Posted 22 November 2021 - 06:48

Sébastien Ogier also not impossible but seems too soon for him so probably Ryo Hirakawa. 

 

Ogier is close to a LMP2 deal for 2022.

 



#32 ARTGP

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Posted 22 November 2021 - 07:01

I just don't see Ogier beating out thoroughbred single seater drivers for a Toyota seat. No way.  Rally drivers just don't suddenly become elite single seater circuit drivers. I'm sure he'll get up to a reasonable speed and will beat Am drivers in LMP2, but is he going to be the best of the best? I strongly doubt it. He's a 37 year old retired rally driver. 

 

If Ogier proves me wrong, it would be one of the most remarkable feats of any racing driver ever in the history of motorsport.


Edited by ARTGP, 22 November 2021 - 07:04.


#33 noikeee

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Posted 22 November 2021 - 09:26

I just don't see Ogier beating out thoroughbred single seater drivers for a Toyota seat. No way. Rally drivers just don't suddenly become elite single seater circuit drivers. I'm sure he'll get up to a reasonable speed and will beat Am drivers in LMP2, but is he going to be the best of the best? I strongly doubt it. He's a 37 year old retired rally driver.

If Ogier proves me wrong, it would be one of the most remarkable feats of any racing driver ever in the history of motorsport.


Ogier isn't completely new to circuit racing, but yes. Jumping to absolute top of another kind of racing altogether seems fanciful.

#34 Dan333SP

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Posted 22 November 2021 - 20:29

Colin McRae raced at Le Mans in a GTS Ferrari 550 in 2002, I don't recall the lap time differential but he definitely struggled a bit relative to his more experienced teammates, particularly with traffic. 



#35 P0inters

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Posted 22 November 2021 - 21:26

Loeb finished 2nd in the 2006 race. He also won races in GTs and WTCC. I wouldn't be at all surprised if Ogier is quick.



#36 TennisUK

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Posted 22 November 2021 - 21:36

From memory Loeb was always a notch slower than Lopez when they were racing touring cars (not that I ever followed that series so I could be wrong).

#37 ArnageWRC

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Posted 22 November 2021 - 23:40

Loeb finished 2nd in the 2006 race. He also won races in GTs and WTCC. I wouldn't be at all surprised if Ogier is quick.

 

Just because Loeb was decent, doesn't mean Ogier is going to be. Loeb's style in a rallycar was very much like a racing driver; very neat and tidy, not much sideways. Ogier has done very little in a racing car; a Porsche SuperCup race, and a couple of DTM races at Red Bull Ring.....

He's on a massive learning curve; he's got talent, but that's no guarantee he'll make it. He's also up against a far bigger number of competitors than a WRC event.



#38 ARTGP

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Posted 23 November 2021 - 02:35

The problem I see with Kimi is he's prone to lapses of concentration, which sounds like a very bad idea through a Le Mans night stint. I think for all the mumbling public personality he'd be absolutely fine with the team player element of endurance, and I think he'll be interested in doing the WEC, he's raced right about anything, why not this? I think it's very likely he'll end up in the WEC, just not sure he'll be a success.

 

Kimi is interesting. The WEC cars are significantly slower than the F1 cars. That would be in his favor.



#39 EightGear

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Posted 23 November 2021 - 09:07

Robin Frijns has more or less confirmed that he will be at Audi.



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#40 BRG

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Posted 23 November 2021 - 10:40

I just don't see Ogier beating out thoroughbred single seater drivers for a Toyota seat. No way.  Rally drivers just don't suddenly become elite single seater circuit drivers. I'm sure he'll get up to a reasonable speed and will beat Am drivers in LMP2, but is he going to be the best of the best? I strongly doubt it. He's a 37 year old retired rally driver. 

 

If Ogier proves me wrong, it would be one of the most remarkable feats of any racing driver ever in the history of motorsport.

Vic Elford?  Professional rally driver for Ford and Porsche, won Monte Carlo Rally.  Took 4th place in his first F1 start.  Won the Targa Florio, Daytona 24, and the Nurburgring 1000 (three times!).  Actually achieved most of those wins in the same year (1968)!

 

I don't know if Ogier can do anything like that, but it isn't impossible.

 

Robin Frijns has more or less confirmed that he will be at Audi.

Hmm.  Autocar more or less confirmed that Audi had bought McLaren.   ;)



#41 Capeta

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Posted 23 November 2021 - 10:52

Just because Loeb was decent, doesn't mean Ogier is going to be. Loeb's style in a rallycar was very much like a racing driver; very neat and tidy, not much sideways. Ogier has done very little in a racing car; a Porsche SuperCup race, and a couple of DTM races at Red Bull Ring.....

He's on a massive learning curve; he's got talent, but that's no guarantee he'll make it. He's also up against a far bigger number of competitors than a WRC event.

They both did SuperCup at Monaco, Ogier was better than Loeb.
Loeb always struggled with brakes on track racing, he was 2/3 sec off the pace at Le Mans, wich was ok because gaps were huge at the time.
Ogier is a better racing driver than Loeb, no doubt, but is it enough for a top seat ? Shouldn't.
He could be in a very good LMP2 with some topguns to win it and be happy about it.



#42 BobbyRicky

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Posted 23 November 2021 - 11:24

Italian Jesus is probably going to get one of the Ferrari-seats.