Former Formula One and current Action Express IMSA driver Felipe Nasr has joined Cetilar Villorba Corse for the remaining rounds of the 2018 European Le Mans Series and the Le Mans 24 Hours, the team confirmed today.
Nasr will drive in the seat filled last year and at Paul Ricard this year by Andrea Belicchi, who “suffered from back problems during the 4 Hours of Le Castellet” and has been forced to stop racing the team’s Dallara LMP2 as a result. He will share the team’s P217 with Roberto Lacorte and Sergio Sernagiotto.
The Brazillian has plenty of experience racing in the current generation of LMP2/DPi cars out in the USA, racing the Dallara-based Cadillac with Action Express; he also tested the P217 with the Italian team last November with the team, and covered “about 500 kilometrees”.
Nasr said: “There are so many reasons that makes this moment special that is difficult to talk about only one of them.
“1, I am really happy to be driving for Cetilar Villorba Corse with whom I tested in Paul Ricard last year, it is great to be back to an Italian team for me that started my racing career in single seaters driving for an Italian team.
“2, I am really thrilled to drive this LMP2 Dallara, the same chassis that I am driving in the US, in tracks that I know and like so much: Monza, Spa, Silverstone and Red Bull Ring.
“And 3, I am excited to have the opportunity to be in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, it is a dream that I have! Let’s go racing!”
Cetilar Villorba Corse team principal Raimondo Amadio added: “With great pleasure we welcome again Felipe in our team. Not only for some tests but for an entire season and a 24-hour race which are really important for us all.
“We really appreciate his talent and so we will do everything to make him feel part of the team immediately. Such a talented and experienced driver will be great new energy to keep on improving. I am sure that with him we are going to face all the challenges at our best.”
Notably, with this news, Nasr becomes the latest former F1 driver to join the Le Mans grid, bringing the count for in this year’s French classic to 22. Of that 22, Nasr becomes the fifth Le Mans debutant, the other four being Fernando Alonso, Juan Pablo Montoya, Pastor Maldonado and Paul Di Resta.
Photo courtesy of Cetilar Villorba Corse