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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Albuquerque hopes to race at Le Mans subsequent 12 months earlier than attainable 2025 Acura effort

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Albuquerque has raced at Le Mans yearly since his debut in 2014 with the Audi LMP1 crew, with 2023 marking his tenth consecutive look within the French endurance basic.

Nonetheless, the Portuguese driver faces some uncertainty concerning his plans for 2024, with the World Endurance Championship phasing out the LMP2 class from common rounds and capping the variety of entries at Le Mans to fifteen.

United Autosports, the crew which Albuquerque has raced in WEC since 2019/20, is shifting to IMSA’s LMP2 ranks subsequent 12 months and would require approval of the WEC Choice Committee with the intention to achieve an entry for the 92nd operating of the fabled sportscar occasion at Circuit de la Sarthe.

However regardless of solely a restricted variety of seats obtainable within the LMP2 class subsequent 12 months, Albuquerque hopes his expertise will assist him stay on the grid at Le Mans and try a second class win after his 2020 success with Paul di Resta and Phil Hanson.

“I need to do Le Mans yearly in my profession,” Albuquerque informed Motorsport.com/Autosport. “I have been profitable doing so for the final 10 years, I need to proceed doing it once more subsequent 12 months. 

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“Clearly I do know that the variety of automobiles are far more restricted. Usually you’ll safe your entry to Le Mans by doing WEC, now it is advisable to be subjected to approval by Le Mans. 

“I’ve a terrific reference to United, we try to work one thing out. Clearly, I do not suppose they are going to have the automobiles they used to place [previously], two automobiles.

“Clearly, Le Mans must respect the opposite competitions as nicely to have one probability, to place a automotive. 

“There are nonetheless many drivers that need to do it, I hope my expertise is sweet sufficient to safe me a seat as a result of that is precisely my aim for subsequent 12 months as nicely.”

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Requested if any potential return to Le Mans will likely be with United, the crew with which he will likely be contesting the European Le Mans Sequence subsequent 12 months, the 38-year-old mentioned: “I want to do, I need to do Le Mans for subsequent 12 months, I do not know with whom I am doing however I am utterly open to do it.

He added: “I imply for positive I am taking a look at United however we try to see what occurs. Once more, number one precedence is to do Le Mans after which we’ll see what occurs after.”

Acura at Le Mans in 2025?

Picture by: Richard Dole / Motorsport Images

#10: Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti, Acura ARX-06, GTP: Ricky Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque, Louis Deletraz, Marcus Ericsson

Albuquerque’s IMSA SportsCar Championship employer Acura is presently the one LMDh producer with none particular plans to race in WEC or its signature Le Mans occasion.

A transfer by the Japanese producer to convey its North America-based Honda Efficiency Growth (HPD) arm beneath Honda Racing Company may open the door for a Le Mans effort as early as 2025, though there was nothing to recommend that such a transfer is in movement.

Albuquerque reiterated that he want to see the Acura ARX-06 on the Le Mans grid in 2025, however careworn that such a programme can be troublesome to tug off.

He defined that Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti, now the one Acura crew in IMSA following the exit of Meyer Shank Racing, is already devoting appreciable sources to develop to a second automotive in GTP subsequent 12 months, delaying a possible enlargement to Le Mans.

“I do not know, these questions are to the massive bosses. It isn’t all the way down to me,” he mentioned when requested how real looking is the proposition of an Acura entry at Le Mans in 2025. “It isn’t all the way down to me

“As a race fan, as passionate as [I’m] driving the automotive, I needed to go already this 12 months. 

“By now the crew is increasing for 2024 for 2 automobiles by hiring folks and it takes numerous organisation to step as much as two automobiles in the identical degree. 

“To go to Le Mans subsequent 12 months signifies that the crew will likely be beginning a totally new infrastructure in Europe and hiring extra folks and that might be an excessive amount of to do it correctly. And I perceive that they don’t seem to be doing it subsequent 12 months. 

“It will make sense for ‘25? I want, I hope. We’ll work onerous to indicate that we are able to do it.

“That is why I need to do Le Mans in ’24 so I am a greater driver and I am an excellent driver for ’25 to do it general as a result of on the finish of the day I need to be racing general but it surely’s no secret for anyone. 

“Once more, it is all the way down to the massive bosses that they’ve a automotive, they’ve constructed a terrific automotive and it will be nice to see. And I believe followers as nicely will like to see the automotive over there.”



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