A Formula One driver is going to race with Porsche in 2015.
It’s not that one, though. Yet, anyways.
Porsche has confirmed Nico Hulkenberg as one of its drivers for its third Porsche 919 Hybrid for two races in the 2015 FIA World Endurance Championship.
Hulkenberg will be in the car for the 24 Hours of Le Mans June 13-14 and Spa as a warmup act on May 2. The Le Mans test day occurs May 31, and Hulkenberg will be there as well.
F1 is off all three weekends, so this won’t interfere with Hulkenberg’s season at Force India. After Spa, F1 heads to the Spanish Grand Prix and the week before Le Mans, Hulkenberg will be in Montreal for the Canadian Grand Prix.
“Porsche and Le Mans – this combination probably attracts every race driver,” Hulkenberg said in a Porsche release. “I’ve been a Porsche fan for a long time and have been watching their return to the LMP1 class closely. The desire grew to drive that car at Le Mans. I am very pleased the 2015 Formula One calendar allows for it and I’m grateful to my Sahara Force India Formula One Team’s generosity to let me go for it. Now it’s up to me to work hard to satisfy both commitments.”
Hulkenberg will become the first active F1 driver to race at Le Mans in the same year since Sebastien Bourdais with Peugeot in 2009. He has some Porsche experience, having tested the 911 GT3-R Hybrid at the Nurburgring Nordschleife in 2010.
Said Porsche LMP1 team principal Andreas Seidl, “Having caught the interest of another world class driver like Nico is validation for the job the entire Porsche LMP1 crew had done in our first WEC season. Now we will prepare Nico for his new challenges such as dealing with the traffic of the slower GT cars and racing into the Le Mans night. We have got a road map in place which should enable him to exploit his driving abilities at his Le Mans debut. We’re looking forward to working with Nico and we want to thank the Sahara Force India F1 Team and team principal Vijay Mallya for loaning him to us.”
Porsche’s GTE pilots – Fred Makowiecki, Nick Tandy, Michael Christensen among them – are likely to be in contention for the two seats alongside Hulkenberg.
Hulkenberg will now be a teammate with Mark Webber, who he raced against in F1 from 2010 through 2013.