SILVERSTONE – Ahead of his debut in the FIA World Endurance Championship with the new Manor team at Silverstone this weekend, Will Stevens says that he can see his long-term racing future in sportscars.
Stevens made his Formula 1 debut at the end of 2014 with Caterham before spending the full 2015 season with Manor Marussia, recording a best finish of 13th at Silverstone.
Stevens was dropped to make way for Pascal Wehrlein and Rio Haryanto at Manor for 2016, leaving him to explore options outside of F1.
Former Manor bosses Graeme Lowdon and John Booth announced in February that they would be setting up an LMP2 team in the WEC for 2016 after falling out with the owner of the F1 operation.
Stevens is one of a number of ex-Manor drivers to join the ‘real’ Manor (as the bosses call it) in the WEC this year, and he is confident that it can hit the ground running in the series at Silverstone this weekend.
“WEC’s a great championship to be part of, but we’re both new to it. We need to learn together,” Steven said.
“I think we’ve got enough experience in the team to hit the ground running. For sure this weekend is going to be tough, but I didn’t come here to not try and win races and finish on the podium.
“I have trust in the team, and they have that in me as well, so I’m hoping for a good result straightaway.”
Stevens said that he sees his long-term future in the WEC, and believes that a number of other drivers are coming to the same realization.
“WEC for me is a great championship. In terms of a career, it’s really where I see the future,” Stevens said.
“I know a lot more guys are seeing that where it needs to be. For me, it’s a great chance to come into it straight into P2 and be with a team I know well.
“Everyone wants to aspire to be with a factory team in LMP1. I think you can see how long people’s careers are in it.
“Longevity wise, it’s where I want to be.”
Stevens is dovetailing his WEC commitments with a drive in the Blancpain GT series, where he shares an Audi with Rene Rast.
Last weekend, he made his debut in the series at Misano in what was actually his first ever race in a car with a roof, having spent his entire career in single seaters.
“It’s a different discipline to what I’ve been used to so far,” Stevens said.
“My first race last weekend was actually really exciting. The first time for a while I’ve had a proper race which was nice. In all honesty I’m really enjoying it.
“We’ve not had too many days under our belt in the P2 car, so we’re learning with every lap we do, that’s for sure. Obviously this year is going to be busy for me, but that’s exactly what I wanted to do coming off of last year.
“I’m really excited about both campaigns. This weekend is going to be cool. P2 looks like a great championship this year. As everyone said, the competition is really strong. We clearly know in the Oreca car, it’s good.
“Myself and Manor are new to the championship. I’ve been with them for a while now, I know they can do a good job. We’ll take it one step at a time.”