Manor has announced Oliver Rowland as the first driver to race for its LMP1 entry in the 2018/19 FIA World Endurance Championship ‘super season’.

Manor entered WEC at the beginning of 2016 in the LMP2 class and confirmed at the end of last year that it had joined forces with British constructor Ginetta to contest WEC’s top-flight division in 2018 with a one-car effort in a partnership with Chinese organisation TRS. 

British racer Rowland sealed the Formula Renault 3.5 title in 2015 and most recently claimed third in the 2017 Formula 2 standings while dovetailing his commitments as development driver for the Renault Formula 1 team, a set-up he has been part of since 2016. 

Rowland, who has also competed in one Formula E race - finishing 13th in the 2015 Punta del Este E-Prix with Mahindra - will make his endurance racing debut in the new Ginetta G60-LT-P1 for the WEC ‘super season’, which will include his first appearance at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. 

“I am very excited to be joining TRSM for the LMP1 World Endurance Championship,” he said. “Endurance racing is a new experience for me and it will create a fresh challenge, but I am really looking forward to working with the team and driving such an amazing car. 

“Competing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans is extremely exciting and it’s something that I've always wanted to race in. I can't wait to get started with the team to ensure we get the best out of the package and moving forward seeing if we can challenge for some fantastic results in the championship.”

Manor sporting director Graeme Lowdon, added: “We are very happy to welcome Oliver to the team, we have followed him closely over the years and have been very impressed with his performances. 

“Although this will be his first season in sportscars we have every confidence that he will adapt to LMP1 very quickly. It is great to be returning to FIA WEC and we are looking forward to starting the season at the Prologue in April.”

The Manor-Ginetta outfit is set to go up against rival privateer LMP1 machinery from ByKolles and Dallara/BR Engineering, with Toyota the sole-remaining factory team left in the premier class of sportscar racing, following the departures of Porsche and Audi.

Manor said the the rest of its 2018/19 driver line-up will be revealed in “due course”.