F1 refugee Karun Chandhok has confirmed that he will make a second appearance at the Le Mans 24 Hours, having signed a deal with LMP2 team Murphy Prototypes for the 2013 race.
Last year, Chandhok became the first Indian to compete at the French endurance classic when he partnered David Brabham and Peter Dumbreck at JRM but, with the British squad not making the trip this season, will join Brendon Hartley and Mark Patterson to race for its Irish rival this June.
“I am really excited to return to the Le Mans 24 Hours as racing there last year was one of the highlights of my career,” former HRT F1 racer Chandhok commented, “I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and had a great race to finish second in the privateers class and sixth overall. I'm really glad to be back in a prototype for the biggest endurance race in the world. While I've enjoyed my first steps into the GT world, racing high downforce cars is what I know and love.
“[Team owner] Greg [Murphy] and I were very keen to work together and I'm glad it's worked out. He is a straight-talking Irishman and seems very motivated to reach the top step of the podium. I know Brendon from our time together on the Red Bull Junior Team. He's obviously very quick but also a great guy which will make the weekend a lot of fun. They'll give me a great chance to try and become the first Indian to get on the podium at Le Mans."
Chandhok and Hartley have previously worked together as test drivers at Red Bull F1 team, and the Kiwi will provide a good reference for his new team-mate, having driven for Murphy in 2012, when the team led its class in the 24 Hours before being hit by mechanical problems.
“We're looking to win every race that we compete in this year and, having lead Le Mans for five hours last year, we very much feel that's unfinished business for us,” team owner Murphy said, “With these three drivers, our line-up is good enough to win.
“Karun brings an awful lot to the table. He's a very professional driver with F1 experience and very quick, so we have a very good blend between the three of them. Brendon is electrically fast over one lap and he's learned a lot about sportscar racing. He knows when to push and when to hold back and it was important for us to have him as our anchorman."
Chandhok will continue to drive in the FIA GT Series for the remainder of the 2013 season.