Nico Hulkenberg says he will be 'keeping an eye out' for which drivers assume his Le Mans 24 Hours title as the iconic event prepares to crown a new winner without its defending champions.

The Force India F1 driver was a shock winner alongside Nick Tandy and Earl Bamber in the 2015 edition of the round-the-clock race despite having never competed at La Sarthe before. Nevertheless, in an almost faultless performance by each driver, the trio emerged ahead of more experienced rivals and team-mates in a Porsche 1-2.

This year however a schedule clash with the inaugural European Grand Prix to be held in Azerbaijan has ruled Hulkenberg out from defending his crown. Even so, while the German says he will certainly have a keen eye on the outcome of this year's race, he won't dwell on missing out.

"When we've had our meeting after qualifying I'll definitely have a look on TV or online if possible to keep an eye out for what my guys are doing.

"It was clear and communicated that F1 is my main thing, passion and job. It doesn't work this year. That decision was taken pretty early so I got that out of my head that it isn't happening this year but in the future again I'm sure it will."

None of last year's race winning trio will participate in the LMP1 class this year with Bamber and Tandy set to attempt victory for Porsche in the GTE Pro class instead, albeit in separate entries. Porsche will enter just two 919 Hybrids this year, opting against entering a third 'guest' car.