BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – Lucas di Grassi says that he is “likely” to race in this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans despite Audi’s withdrawal from the FIA World Endurance Championship at the end of 2016.
Di Grassi previously balanced duties between Audi’s LMP1 team and with its affiliated ABT Schaeffler operation in Formula E, with the latter now becoming his priority for 2017.
A number of drivers involved in both WEC and Formula E face dilemmas over which to prioritize later in the year.
Most notably, the New York Formula E double-header clashes with WEC’s visit to the Nürburgring, ruling out a number of drivers from the electric event including Sebastien Buemi, Jose Maria Lopez and Sam Bird.
Di Grassi believes it will be hard for Formula E to avoid clashing with other series as it expands, and thinks that drivers will need to fully commit to the championship down the line.
“With Formula E expanding, I think it will be hard not to have clashes in the future. I hope there are no clashes,” di Grassi told NBC Sports.
“For me with Audi, they told me: ‘The priority is Formula E. If you want to do one or two other races, you can.’ They even told me if you want to do WEC, you can, but the priority is Formula E. You have to miss the WEC.
“It’s a very clear, straightforward view for us, for ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport. For the team the priority is Formula E. That I understand and I agree that Formula E is getting to a level where it is getting very complicated, very detail oriented, so you need to focus on that.”
When asked if he would be racing at Le Mans and making other WEC appearances, di Grassi said it was “likely”.
“My interest is in the Pro categories. Either LMP1 or GTE Pro,” di Grassi added.
“I think GTE is the future. P1, you have very little cars, only two manufacturers. For GTE the tendency is to grow. GTE is very interesting in a career point of view.
“But still to be discussed if Audi would release me or not to do it.
“But normally Audi understand quite well if I want to do another race in which they don’t compete.”