Photo: Roger Jenkins
Panis-Barthez Compétition, the team founded by Monaco Formula 1 winner Olivier Panis and Fabien Barthez, goalkeeper for the French national team, has announced its drivers for the 2018 European Le Mans Series.
Timothé Buret, beginning his third year with the team, will be joined by Julien Canal and Will Stevens for the premier European prototype series and the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the team’s #23 Ligier JS P217.
Team Principal Olivier Panis is delighted at putting together a driver line-up that combines speed, experience eand youth but is still keen to find a place for Fabien Barthez.
“Will Stevens comes from F1, has won in the GT category at Le Mans and has already impressed in LMP2,” said Panis. “That he accepted our offer is a source of pride but I have not forgotten Barthez. He is a major part of this team and we will do everything we can to find him a place in the ELMS and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Rarely has an amateur driver inspired me so much.”
Will Stevens is excited about returning to prototypes for 2018.
“After F1, driving a prototype is exciting,” said Stevens, the 2017 winner of LMGTE Am category at Le Mans with JMW Motorsport. I realised this in 2016, being in a competitive LMP2 entry and getting second place in the category in my debut at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. I focused on the world of GTs for a year but this year I am extremely happy to be back in an LMP2 which represents what I like; a powerful engine, great aero and competitive tyres. I will give everything, with my two teammates, to achieve great results in 2018.”
The 2018 European Le Mans Series opens with the 4 Hours of Le Castellet on April 10.