Alex Wurz is bidding to become only the fourth driver to win the Le Mans 24 Hours with three different manufacturers after signing up to drive Toyota’s new LMP1 petrol-electric hybrid next season.
The Austrian, who won Le Mans with Porsche in 1996 and Peugeot in 2009, was announced for Toyota’s one-car 2012 campaign alongside Nicolas Lapierre and Kazuki Nakajima in October. He is bidding to follow in the footsteps of Jacky Ickx (Ford, Mirage and Porsche), Yannick Dalmas (Peugeot, Porsche, McLaren and BMW) and Tom Kristensen (Porsche, Audi and Bentley) as a multiple winner with different marques.
Wurz explained that he had been motivated to end his three-year stint with Peugeot by the chance to work with a team with Formula 1 pedigree.
“Sports car racing is moving into a new era of ultra high levels of technology, so attention to detail in terms of aerodynamics and mechanical design will start to make a big difference,” he said. “I believe that a team which has pushed the boundaries in the crazy times of F1 will have an advantage.
“I saw the biggest car manufacturer in the world coming in with an F1 factory and a lot of engineers who have also worked in F1. They have linked up with an existing sports car team, ORECA, to shorten the learning curve, so it looks like a very strong programme.”
The French ORECA squad, which has run a customer Peugeot 908 HDi for the past two seasons, is to provide what is being termed as operational support for Toyota. That will include the supply of mechanics and engineers at the races.