Matt Rao

FIA WEC

Manor alters No. 24 crew line-up for WEC Mexico

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Manor’s Jean-Eric Vergne will be joined by two new drivers in the No. 24 Oreca 07 Gibson for the upcoming FIA World Endurance Championship round in Mexico following a revision of the team’s line-up.

Manor fielded ex-Toro Rosso Formula 1 and current Formula E racer Vergne alongside Jonathan Hirschi and Tor Graves in the No. 24 Oreca through the opening three rounds of the season, the trio recording a best finish of fourth in the LMP2 class at Le Mans.

Vergne was replaced by Roberto Merhi for the last round at the Nürburgring due to Formula E’s clashing commitments in New York, but will be joined by an all-new line-up for the next race at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City on September 3.

Matt Rao returns to Manor’s LMP2 line-up after featuring last season ahead of a move to Signatech Alpine for 2017, acting as its silver-rated driver.

Vergne and Rao will be joined by British racer Ben Hanley, who moves onto his third team of the WEC season after featuring for TDS Racing, DragonSpeed and G-Drive Racing so far this season at Spa, Le Mans and the Nürburgring respectively.

Manor’s No. 25 Oreca line-up remains unchanged, with Vitaly Petrov being joined by Simon Trummer and Roberto Gonzalez for Mexico City.

Click here to see the full entry list of the 6 Hours of Mexico.

Piquet, Webb, Rao land FIA WEC rides

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Nelson Piquet Jr. will add another series to his career record this year, having been confirmed for a partial season program with Rebellion Racing in the FIA World Endurance Championship.

Piquet joins the team’s No. 12 Rebellion R-ONE AER lineup, alongside Nicolas Prost and Nick Heidfeld, for the opening three races of the championship at Silverstone, Spa and Le Mans. Mathias Beche, who’s also slated to drive for Rebellion, has shifted over to the Thiriet by TDS Racing team in the European Le Mans Series, an LMP2 entrant.

Piquet then marks his return to Le Mans, where he raced once in 2006 with Aston Martin.

Interestingly, Piquet, Prost and Heidfeld race against each other in the FIA Formula E Championship.

Elsewhere, there’s also been two other confirmations on Monday.

Oliver Webb, a former Indy Lights driver who’s carved out a good sports car career primarily in LMP2 the last couple years, steps up to the other privateer LMP1 entrant, Team ByKolles, for 2016. He’ll join Pierre Kaffer and Simon Trummer in that team’s CLM P1/01 AER, having previously driven with Team SARD-Morand last year.

The Manor WEC team has added another Brit, with Matt Rao joining countrymen James Jakes and Will Stevens as three of the thus far four confirmed drivers in that team’s Oreca 05 Nissans. Lineups are yet to be determined as the Graeme Lowdon and John Booth-led team have not yet announced their fifth and sixth drivers.

The Piquet and Webb confirmations mean all LMP1 seats for this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans have been filled.