Nico Hulkenberg anticipates being able to return to Le Mans to defend his 24 Hours title next season, despite having inked an extension to his F1 contract with Force India.
The German, who was an interested spectator at last weekend's Nurburgring 6 Hours, won on his debut in the blue riband sportscar event in June, driving alongside Nick Tandy and Earl Bamber, and has made no secret of his enjoyment of the endurance format.
Hulkenberg secured his immediate F1 future this week, re-signing with Force India after rumours linking him to both newcomer Haas and Kimi Raikkonen's seat at Ferrari, but says that the deal does not necessarily preclude further forays into sportscar racing.
“There is nothing against [doing Le Mans in 2016] – it should be pretty straightforward,” he confirmed ahead of this weekend's Italian Grand Prix, “The priority was to fix my F1 future and now we'll soon start talking to Porsche.”
Refusing to disclose whether or not the contract extension was in his back pocket by the time he visited the Porsche garage at the Nurburgring, Hulkenberg said that he felt sportscar racing was enjoying a resurgence.
“The WEC is an interesting racing series that people are getting more and more interested in, [but] it was just a visit to see my Porsche team and the boys there,” the German insisted, “It was a race-free weekend for us so obviously - German manufacturer, German race - it was a no-brainer to go by and see a few people.
Racing at Le Mans also gave Hulkenberg a chance to try Michelin tyres at a time when the French manufacturer is considering a return to F1, but refused to be drawn on whether he had a preference.
“They're different cars so the tyres feel different,” he smiled, “Obviously, in WEC, the Michelin is very consistent - we don't see the high degradation as high as we do [in F1] - but I'll race what is put on my car.”