Official ‘rookies’ announced for WEC Bahrain test in December

Official ‘rookies’ announced for WEC Bahrain test in December

The four drivers nominated as official ‘Rookies’ for the official FIA WEC test session at Bahrain International Circuit on Sunday 15 December have today been announced.

Selected by the Promoter and Organiser of the FIA World Endurance Championship for their exemplary performance, race skills and commitment, the young drivers will experience a minimum of 30 laps in the cars of the four class Champions from the 2018-2019 Super Season.

Leading the way will be newly crowned FIA Formula 2 Champion Nyck de Vries who will get his first experience of 1000+ bhp in the Toyota TS050 HYBRID. The 24-year-old Dutchman has been competing in the WEC with Racing Team Nederland in LMP2 and richly deserves the opportunity to taste the LMP1 power and performance of the current FIA World Endurance Champions, Toyota Gazoo Racing. 

Driving the LMP2 championship winning Signatech Alpine A470-Gibson will be current European Le Mans Series LMP3 points leader Mikkel Jensen. Also 24, the Danish driver has been outstanding this season, winning three times from five races and a strong favourite for championship honours.

The Netherlands has proven to be fertile ground for young racing talent, as demonstrated by the selection of the third Rookie driver. Job van Uitert (20) has begun his endurance career in an excellent manner, competing in both the WEC and ELMS, and the current LMP2 hot-shot will expand his endurance racing horizons by experiencing the Porsche 911 RSR-19 of FIA World GT Championship winners, Porsche GT Team. Many of the top LMP drivers will attest that first-hand knowledge of GT machinery brings an invaluable element to a driver’s armoury of skills in multi-class racing.

The final official rookie is 24-year-old Vincent Abril who will experience the Porsche 911 RSR of LMGTE Am class winner and 24 Hours of Le Mans 2019 victor, Team Project 1. The Frenchman got his first taste of world championship racing at the Super Finale to the Super Season and will make his Season 8 debut in the 4 Hours of Shanghai this November with Dempsey-Proton Racing. Experienced and successful in other sports car championships, Abril will profit from seeing the WEC at its best in Bahrain.

Each of the four “Rookie” drivers will be awarded a minimum of 30 laps during the test day, with the five hours of track time also available to other WEC competitors should they wish to profit from the opportunity to evaluate potential drivers for the 2020-2021 season.

Pierre Fillon, President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest: “The ACO, through the World Endurance Championship and our continental series in Europe and Asia, has a strong history in encouraging and promoting young talent, and we congratulate Nyck, Mikkel, Job and Vincent for being selected for this rookie test. This is a fantastic opportunity for these up and coming young drivers to show off their skill, determination and professionalism to teams representing some of the world’s leading automobile manufacturers, Toyota, Porsche and Alpine. We are happy to be able to open doors for these four drivers and now they have to go through them in the best way possible!”

Gérard Neveu, CEO of the World Endurance Championship: “It has been very rewarding to see the progress of our ‘rookies’ from previous years, and the perfect example of this is Thomas Laurent, now a Toyota Gazoo Racing reserve driver after first testing the LMP1 car in Bahrain in December 2017. Endurance racing offers long and successful racing careers for those that choose it, as has been demonstrated by the presence of so many top names in the WEC.”

An entry list for the official Rookie Test, which takes place the day after the 8 Hours of Bahrain, will be released in due course. The sessions at Bahrain International Circuit on Sunday 15 December will be from 10h00 to 12 Noon, and from 13h00 to 16h00.