Weekly News Round-up
Get the latest news from in and around the FIA WEC paddock...
As Europe basks in a heatwave and Monza seems but a distance memory, here's a quick recap of some news nuggets from the past week.
Lamborghini announces Bortolotti and Caldarelli for their Hypercar programme
Lamborghini Squadra Corse has announced the first two drivers in the line-up for its Hypercar programme which will debut in 2024 in the FIA World Endurance Championship (Hypercar class) and IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship (GTP class).
Italians Andrea Caldarelli and Mirko Bortolotti, both currently involved in GT competition with Lamborghini, have been confirmed for the new project, not only as race drivers but also as test drivers to develop the new car.
Both drivers were born just over a month apart in 1990.
“I’m so happy to continue my career with Lamborghini,” said Bortolotti, “and to start an exciting new chapter. And I’m very grateful to Squadra Corse for making the LMDh project possible, and for the unconditional trust they have put in me since 2014. Representing the brand on the most important endurance racing stage and competing for overall victory in the great endurance classics is both an honor and a responsibility.”
As for Caldarelli?
“I’m really happy to be part of the programme, which is truly fantastic, and in general about this new challenge from Lamborghini Squadra Corse,” he said.
“Back in 2017, when I started racing for Lamborghini, I had the goal of fulfilling my childhood dream: to race with my favourite brand of car in the most prestigious endurance races. I had the opportunity to race at the Circuit de la Sarthe in 2022, winning both heats of the Road to Le Mans with the Huracán GT3, and it was really special. I can’t wait to get back behind the wheel of an LMDh: I’m really excited about this new adventure, and I’ll do my best to bring all my experience to this project and to win new and prestigious trophies.”
Albuquerque and Hanson continue at United Autosports
United Autosports have had a busy week re-signing drivers with first Filipe Albuquerque announced at the end of last week, then Phil Hanson confirm but moments ago (22 July).
For Felipe 2023 will be a fourth consecutive season in the FIA World Endurance Championship and the Portuguese driver’s seventh consecutive season with the Anglo-American team.
Filipe debuted with United in the 2017 European Le Mans Series (ELMS), winning his first race with the team at Silverstone. The following year, he paired with Phil Hanson in pursuit of the 2018 ELMS, bringing home three trophies (including two wins) from six rounds. In 2019, Albuquerque and his team-mates contended both ELMS and WEC, kickstarting a streak of 13 consecutive podiums in 14 months.
These achievements came to a head at WEC Bahrain 2020, when Albuquerque and United made endurance history. Together with team-mates Hanson and Paul Di Resta, the #22 crew won the FIA WEC (LMP2), ELMS and 24 Hours of Le Mans (LMP2) in the same year – the first ever team to do so.
“I am very happy to re-sign with United for another WEC campaign and the aim is unsurprisingly to repeat our championship victory of 2019-2020. I never imagined that I’d be driving for the same team for so long but it’s an absolute pleasure working with Richard, Zak, the engineers and the entire team. Bring on ’23 – I can’t wait!”
Hanson and United Autosports will also contest the FIA World Endurance Championship together once more in 2023.
The 23-year-old Briton, has raced with the team since 2018, making his debut at the Rolex 24 at Daytona, alongside F1 legend Fernando Alonso and a young Lando Norris.
In Hanson’s WEC career with United he has accumulated a number of impressive endurance accolades; this includes being the second youngest driver to win a WEC title claiming LMP2 honours at Le Mans 2020 aged 21 years, 78 days; he also, alongside Paul di Resta and Filipe Albuquerque, scored four consecutive wins between Bahrain 2019 and Le Mans 2020 which made them the only trio in LMP2 history to achieve this feat; his six WEC LMP2 class wins makes him the most decorated Briton in the championship’s history.
“I am very happy to announce my continuation with United Autosports for another season of WEC in 2023,” said Hanson. “Together United and I have shared so much success throughout the last few years of my career and I am as confident as ever that we can challenge for another WEC title next year. Everyone involved is solely focused on winning.”
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