Former Formula One driver Karun Chandhok has confirmed to DSC that he will participate in the 6 Hours of Spa Francorchamps and Le Mans 24 Hours with ELMS LMP2 team Tockwith Motorsport, which is set to make its FIA WEC debut in Belgium next month.
For Chandhok, the main reason for signing the deal was to get a seat at Le Mans once again, the Indian last competed in the French endurance classic back in 2015 with Murphy Prototypes in its Oreca 03R.
“I’m really excited to be going back to Le Mans,” he told DSC. “If I go, it’s something I want to do properly, and I feel with Tockwith I can do that. They came looking for me, and offered me Le Mans and Spa, which is great, it will be a good to get behind the wheel of the new LMP2 cars.”
The weekend at Spa will be Chandhok’s first taste of the new LMP2 machinery, and a good chance to gain some experience racing with the team before Le Mans week.
“Spa is a great yardstick, it’s a good place to go as it will be good to see how we stack up against the WEC’s LMP2 class.
“The Oreca seems to be the favourite car of choice in the FIA WEC, but at Le Mans with the low-downforce package we don’t know, it should be a bit of a reset for everyone. So Spa for us will just be a chance to get used to each other.”
After Le Mans, Chandhok explains that he is actively looking at competing in sportscars more often.
“The main thing is Le Mans,” he said. “I really missed it last year as it’s the best race in the world. But after Le Mans who knows. I want to do more racing, I’ve had a microphone in my hand too much. I’d love to do more races with them. I want to do as much as I can, but I don’t want to do things for the sake of it.
“There’s potential with this team, even though they are rookies, and there is more potential further down the line. Maybe we’ll do another WEC race towards the end of the year together and then have conversations about next year.
“I know that Phil (Hanson) has real aspirations to carve out a long career in sportscars.”
Tockwith’s Ligier JS P217 for Phil Hanson, Chandhok and Nigel Moore has been confirmed for the WEC’s race at Spa, along with the second Alpine A470, which brings the total number of LMP2 entries to 11 for the race. The full field has also grown to 30 entries with the addition of Toyota Gazoo Racing’s third TS050 making its first appearance.
Tockwith bringing a Ligier to the field also means that it will feature more than one of new-for-2017 LMP2 chassis for the first time.
Photo courtesy of Jakob Ebrey Photography