Stoffel Vandoorne commits to WEC campaign with JOTA

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Ex-McLaren F1 racer Stoffel Vandoorne will combine Formula E commitments in 2021 with a World Endurance Championship tilt.

The Belgian, who has also been serving as a Mercedes F1 reserve driver, was disappointed to miss out on standing in for Lewis Hamilton at the Sakhir Grand Prix when the seven-time World Champion tested positive for COVID-19.

But Vandoorne did take part in the ‘young driver test’ at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina circuit two days after the end of the 2020 season.

The 28-year-old finished runner-up in the Formula E standings last season for Mercedes and will now return to the WEC in an Oreca 07 entered by JOTA Sport in the LMP2 category.

Teaming up with Indonesia’s Sean Gelael, who has spent the last four years racing in Formula 2, and Tom Blomqvist, Vandoorne will also contest the Asian Le Mans Series.

The 2021 World Endurance Championship is due to begin with the 1,000 Miles of Sebring in Florida on March 19, followed by five more events at Spa, Le Mans, Monza, Fuji and finally Bahrain in November.

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Stoffel Vandoorne, Mercedes

Three weeks before Sebring, both Vandoorne and Blomqvist – son of rally legend Stig Blomqvist – are due to begin their Formula 3 campaigns in Saudi Arabia on the Riyadh Street Circuit, with January’s season-opening event in Chile having been postponed.

Vandoorne has competed in two previous World Endurance Championship races, finishing third at both the 6 Hours of Spa and the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2019 for the Russian SMP Racing team – along with another ex-F1 driver, Vitaly Petrov – in the LMP1 class. On those occasions, he was standing in for Jenson Button.

“It will be really good to combine this programme together with my Formula E campaign in 2021, so I am really looking forward to getting started,” said Vandoorne, quoted by Motorsport.com.

“To be in the WEC with JOTA is great because they are such an established and respected team in a super-competitive environment, which is obviously something I always look to be involved in.

“To be able to do it together with Sean and Tom is great as well because they are two of my great racing friends.”

JOTA co-owner David Clark said: “We are really excited to confirm Sean, Tom and Stoffel’s programmes for 2021 and are looking forward to challenging for wins and the LMP2 title. The quality of this trio is another great statement of intent from us all at JOTA.”

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