Inter Europol Competition has announced the four drivers, for their new FIA World Endurance Championship programme in 2021.
The team has run for several seasons in the European Le Mans Series and Asian Le Mans Series, and gave the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship go for two races in 2020.
The IMSA series was the place for the otherwise long time Ligier team to try out an ORECA 07 LMP2 car, which is the choice of car for their FIA WEC programme.
Some might say – hey, you don’t need four drivers in the FIA WEC. But yes, you need that when one of their drivers has another contract for the opening round at Sebring.
Renger van der Zande, Alex Brundle and Jakub Smiechowski will be the three drivers for at least four of the six-race weekends. It’s Dutchman van der Zande, who will have to focus on his IMSA programme for Chip Ganassi Racing at Sebring, but it’s still not decided, regarding the September date clash that is between the FIA WEC race at Fuji and the IMSA race on the streets of Long Beach. His race of choice might very well depend on the championships standings at that time, and if CGR will let him race elsewhere.
The team has already found the replacement driver for the 1000 Miles of Sebring. That is none other than Helio Castroneves, who is the defending IMSA Champion. Castroneves will run the Daytona 24 Hours for Wayne Taylor Racing in the DPi category, but that is his only IMSA task in 2021 for now. That makes Helio available for the second LMP2 race in his career, after running at Petit Le Mans in 2017 in an ORECA 07 LMP2 car, when Team Penske had a one-race entry with that, ahead of their Acura programme started for real in 2018. The Acura was based on the ORECA chassis.
It’s less than two months since Inter Europol Competition last was running at Sebring, since that was one of two American races, that the team competed in.
Both Alex Brundle and Renger van der Zande have FIA WEC experience, while “Kuba” Smiechowski’s only WEC taste has been his two 24 Hours of Le Mans participations.
Brundle, van der Zande and Smiechowski will be the pairing for the 24 Hours of Le Mans 2021, which is part of the FIA WEC season.
There are no further details regarding their European Le Mans Series programme, but they will return with at least a single LMP3 car, with no drivers named yet.