With sportscar racing continuing to gather momentum as a means for young drivers to build a career in motorsport, we introduce the 10 youngest drivers to feature in the FIA World Endurance Championship since 2012.
Photo from ELMS: Tockwith Motorsport's Philip Hanson (left in picture from drivers' parade at Le Mans with team mates Nigel Moore and Karun Chandhok)
1. Matt McMurry’s record of starting the Le Mans 24 Hours aged 16 years and 202 days in 2014 is unlikely ever be beaten and shattered the record set by Ricardo Rodriguez in 1959, which had stood for 55 years. The American also broke the record set by Gunnar Jeannette in 2000 for the youngest driver to finish at Le Mans.
2. Philip Hanson became the youngest driver to appear at a 6 Hour WEC race earlier this season, starting the 6 Hours of Spa aged 17 years, 10 months and 2 days. His best result from three appearances so far is ninth at Le Mans, driving for Tockwith Motorsport.
3. Alessandro Latif was 18 years, 2 months and 4 days old when he made his one and only appearance at Le Mans in 2014. Sadly for the Briton, his day was short-lived as his Greaves Motorsport entry was forced to retire after 31 laps following an accident.
Photo: Nicolai Sylvest, Gianluca Roda and Paolo Ruberti
4. The youngest GT driver in WEC history, Denmark’s Nicolai Sylvest was 18 years, 3 months and 19 days old when he joined Larbre Competition for the 6 Hours of Fuji in 2015.
5. Leo Roussel was 18 years, 9 months and 15 days old when he made his first appearance at Le Mans with Pegasus in 2014. Now 22, the Frenchman has been an ever-present at Le Mans since and currently leads the European Le Mans Series standings with G-Drive.
Photo: Matheo Tuscher at 6 Hours of Shanghai
6. At just 18 years, 10 months and 21 days, Matheo Tuscher became the youngest LMP1 driver in series history when he entered the 6 Hours of Shanghai in 2015 with Rebellion.
7. LMP2 championship leader Thomas Laurent was just 19 years and 12 days old when he made his WEC debut at the 6 Hours of Silverstone this year. The Frenchman has won three races from four starts in his rookie season, including at Le Mans, where he finished second overall to break Tuscher’s previous record for the youngest outright podium finisher in WEC history. He is also the youngest driver on the WEC grid today.
8. Dries Vanthoor pipped Laurent by 15 days to become the youngest-ever class-winner at Le Mans in June. Aged 19 years, 1 month and 29 days, the Belgian swept to victory in LMGTE Am for JMW Motorsport.
9. Rik Breukers had a difficult baptism at Le Mans aged 19 years, 1 month and 4 days with ARC Bratislava. The Dutchman finished 19th in the LMP2 class and 46th overall.
10. DTM racer Lucas Auer completes the list, courtesy of an entry with the Lotus Praga LMP2 team at the 6 Hours of Bahrain in 2013 aged 19 years, 2 months and 20 days. The nephew of former F1 racer Gerhard Berger, Auer contested a further three races in 2014 in the LMP1 class.