In a sudden and surprising turn of events, G-Drive Racing, run by JOTA Sport of Tunbridge Wells, Kent, has announced a change of drivers for the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Nathanaël Berthon, who joined the team at the start of year, will no longer drive for the team. Will Stevens, currently driving for Manor WEC, will instead share the driving duties for the 24 Hours of Le Mans with Roman Rusinov and René Rast in its #26 Nissan-powered ORECA 05 LM P2.
No reasons have currently been provided for the switch.
“I would like to thank Nathanaël for his efforts with the team in 2016,” said David Clark of G-Drive Racing. “We achieved two solid results at Silverstone and Spa and he showed he can be part of a front running team and we wish him every success in the future.”
24 year-old Stevens is being loaned to G-Drive Racing by Manor for Le Mans only. Stevens is understandably delighted at the opportunity.
“The offer to join G-Drive specifically for Le Mans and share the car with Rene and Roman was compelling,” said Stevens. “My partnership with René at WRT Audi is working well and with his and Roman’s experience in this race, it offered me a race winning opportunity which I’m pleased to accept. I’m grateful to the Manor WEC Team for releasing me for this occasion and we will continue to work together for the remainder of their first season in endurance racing.”
“We are very happy to welcome Will to the team,” said Alexander Krylov, G-Drive Racing General Manager and PJSC Gazprom Neft Regional Sales Director. “We know that Will is an excellent professional who can add a great deal to our already impressive line-up of Roman (Rusanov) and René (Rast).
Subsequent to these announcements, it has been revealed that Roberto Merhi will replace Stevens in the #44 Manor ORECA 05 for the 24 Hours of Le Mans