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Jean-Eric Vergne claims WEC seat with Manor for 2017

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Ex-Formula 1 driver and current Formula E racer Jean-Eric Vergne will make his debut in the FIA World Endurance Championship next month after signing a deal with Manor for 2017.

Vergne raced for Toro Rosso in F1 between 2012 and 2014 before spending two years in a reserve role at Ferrari.

The Frenchman moved into Formula E following his race stint in F1, driving for Andretti and DS Virgin before joining Techeetah for season three and taking a stake in the team.

Vergne will balance his Formula E duties with a drive in the WEC this year, announcing on Friday that he would be linking up with the CEFC Manor TRS Racing team.

Vergne will make his debut for Manor at the 6 Hours of Silverstone on April 16 ahead of a nine-round season that will also see him make his first appearance at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June.

“I’m extremely happy to join CEFC Manor TRS Racing for the WEC season,” Vergne said.

“Endurance racing and especially the 24 Hours of Le Mans is something that has been more and more on my mind lately. I couldn’t ask for more than to start this experience with such a great team.

“I can’t wait to be behind the wheel and bring my motivation to the team to achieve great results together!”

“We are very happy to welcome Jean-Eric to the team. He is a very talented driver that we have followed over the years as we have raced alongside him in Formula 1,” Manor sporting director Graeme Lowdon added.

“We are really looking forward to starting the season and working together with Jean-Éric and I hope that, together, we will have a really successful year.”

Vergne is the fifth driver to join Manor’s two-car effort for the 2017 WEC campaign, taking a seat alongside Tor Graves, Jonathan Hirschi, Roberto Gonzalez and Simon Trummer.

Keating stripped of Le Mans GTE-Am win; No. 68 Ganassi entry also disqualified

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FIA stewards announced Monday that two Ford GT entries have been disqualified from this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, including the GTE-Am class-winning No. 85 entry from privateer Keating Motorsports.

Also DQ’d was the factory No. 68 Chip Ganassi Racing entry of Joey Hand, Dirk Mueller and Sebastien Bourdais, which initially finished fourth in the GTE-Pro class.

Both entries were found in violation of fuel capacity regulations, with the No. 85 entry also failing to meet the minimum refueling time during pit stops.

The refueling system on the No. 85 entry, driven by Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen and Felipe Fraga, measured a time of 44.4 seconds during a stop, just shy of the minimum required time of 45 seconds.

As a result, the team was initially issued a 55.2-second post-race penalty by officials, which elevated the No. 56 Team Project 1 Porsche 911 RSR of Joerg Bergmeister, Patrick Lindsey, and Egidio Perfetti to the class win.

The time penalty was calculated by the difference in the refueling time (0.6 seconds) multiplied by the amount of pit stops made by the team (23), then multiplied by four.

The No. 85 entry was set to finish second in class, but then received an outright DQ after its fuel capacity was also revealed to be 0.1 liters above the maximum permitted capacity of 96 liters.

As for Ganassi’s No. 68 entry, it was found to have a fuel capacity of 97.83 liters, which is above the maximum allowed capacity of 97 liters for the GTE-Pro Fords.

The No. 67 Ford of Andy Priaulx, Harry Tincknell, and Jonathan Bomarito subsequently moves up to fourth, and the No. 69 Ford of Scott Dixon, Ryan Briscoe and Richard Westbrook moves up to fifth.

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