Paul di Resta says he’s relishing the new challenge of endurance racing as he prepares for his sportscar debut at the Rolex 24 hour race in Daytona later this month.

The Williams F1 reserve driver, who remains an outside shot at a full-time return to the sport in 2018, kick-starts his 2018 with a maiden outing at the iconic Daytona 24 hour race with United Autosports, joining fellow ex-F1 driver Bruno Senna plus regular United Autosports drivers Will Owen and Hugo de Sadeleer in the #32 Ligier JS P217. In the team’s sister car Fernando Alonso and Lando Norris gear up for their Daytona debuts with co-driver Phil Hanson in the #23 car.

The Scottish driver gets his first experience of Daytona this weekend in the Roar before the 24 test and having enjoyed an initial shakedown test with United Autosports last November in Aragon di Resta is eager to become familiar with the Ligier once again and take on new challenges such as racing in traffic and working alongside co-drivers.

“I’m really looking forward to starting the 2018 season so early on,” di Resta said. “I have never done this before in my career and it's something new to me – endurance racing, in the US, at Daytona.

“I had a small taste of the LMP2 car in early November and really liked how it was, now the real business will begin. I have to start working hard with the team and my teammates to make the best of this race with United Autosports. I liked what I saw in the team and I hope it only works better when the pressure is on.”

di Resta ended 2017 finishing 11th in the DTM drivers’ championship for Mercedes having also had a brief F1 return in Hungary as a late stand-in for an unwell Felipe Massa. The Scottish driver had been eager for an F1 comeback but looks to have dropped down on the shortlist of candidates to replace the retiring Massa at Williams.

Sergey Sirotkin is believed to be favourite for the F1 race seat having impressed during a post-season test in Abu Dhabi with Robert Kubica’s test failing to impress Williams.