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Ex-F1 driver van der Garde to make Le Mans debut

Giedo van der Garde will race in the Le Mans 24 Hours this season after penning a deal with the JOTA Sport LMP2 team.
Giedo van der Garde will make his Le Mans 24 Hours debut in 2016 after penning a deal with JOTA Sport that will also see him make the full-time switch to the European Le Mans Series.

The Dutchman, who raced with Caterham F1 in 2013, is returning to racing in the LMP2 sportscar category after a season on the sidelines in 2015 in the wake of a legal wrangle with the Sauber F1 team

A former Formula Renault 3.5 champion, van der Garde will drive the JOTA Sport-prepared Gibson 015S-Nissan in the ELMS alongside regulars Simon Dolan and Harry Tincknell, the latter back with JOTA following Nissan's LMP1 exit.

As part of his 2016 campaign, van der Garde will also compete in the Spa 6 Hours World Endurance Championship round – alongside Dolan and F3 driver Jake Dennis -, before making his Le Mans 24 Hours debut this year.

“In F1 I was competing in the highest level of motorsport, but with Caterham there wasn't a real possibility to win races. Now with JOTA there is, and again on a high level of racing,” he said. “That's what I'm aiming for: winning. To win the 24 hours of Le Mans isn't even a dream; it's my goal.

“Therefore I am very pleased to sign with such an established and proven team as JOTA Sport. This is a new chapter for me going in to endurance racing and I am sure it will be an enjoyable one. I have always enjoyed the teamwork side of racing, particularly from an engineering perspective, so I think this will be an asset to start with.

“Endurance racing has so much momentum at the present time and after some time away from the cockpit last season I could appreciate the levels to which it has grown. To make my debut with JOTA Sport this season is a very good start to the year. I'll do my utmost best to be successful for JOTA. During ELMS, but also in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, one of the biggest events in racing. A huge challenge, but a dream comes true. I can't wait to go flat out.”

ELMS champions in 2014, JOTA will embark on an expansion for 2016 with a move into full-time WEC competition too. Campaigning an Oreca 05R, drivers will be announced in due course.

van der Garde hit the headlines in 2015 after bringing a legal case against the Sauber team, disputing that he had a deal to race in F1 with the team despite it signing Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson. Though a court ruling in Melbourne briefly stated he should be allowed to drive, the matter was adjourned before being settled in an out of court settlement.



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
05.09.2014 - Free Practice 2, Giedo van der Garde (NDL), third driver, Sauber F1 Team.
VdeV, Sportscars [Credit: VdeV Sports]
Lucas di Grassi (BRA) / Loic Duval (FRA) / Oliver Jarvis (GBR) #08 Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18. 05.05.2016. FIA World Endurance Championship, Round 2, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium
Lucas di Grassi (BRA) / Loic Duval (FRA) / Oliver Jarvis (GBR) #08 Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18. 05.05.2016. FIA World Endurance Championship, Round 2, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium
VdeV, Sportscars [Credit: VdeV Sports]
V de V Sports
JOTA Sport G-Drive, WEC, ELMS [Credit: JOTA Sport]
RGR Sport by Morand - Bruno Senna, Filip Albuquerque, Ricardo Gonzalez
JOTA Sport Oreca 05 Nissan
Shane Van Gisbergen (NZL), VonRyan Racing, BES [Credit: Pirelli]
Treluyer/Fassler/Lotterer - Audi Sport
Treluyer/Fassler/Lotterer - Audi Sport
Rene Rast (GER), Audi Sport Team Joest, WEC [Credit: Audi]
Rene Rast (GER), Audi Sport Team Joest, WEC [Credit: Audi]
Treluyer/Fassler/Lotterer - Audi Sport
Treluyer/Fassler/Lotterer - Audi Sport
Muller/Martin - BMW Sports Trophy Brasil [credit: Olivier Beroud]
Andrew Palmer, United SportsCar Championship [Credit: Andrew Palmer PR]

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