F1 drivers in the 2008 Le Mans 24 Hours

Peugeot drivers, 2008 Le Mans 24 Hours

It’s the Le Mans 24 Hours this weekend and all eyes are on what will surely be the the Audi-Peugeot battle for overall honours.

I was particularly interested to see that Peugeot’s line up is almost entirely comprised of ex-F1 drivers, including one former world champion. Of their nine drivers only Nicolas Minassian doesn’t have an F1 start to his name. Audi, on the other hand, have just two former Formula 1 pilots.

Who else on the Le Mans starting grid has been in F1? Here’s a quick run-down:

Emanuele Pirro
Audi Sport North America / Audi R10 TDI

Replaced Johnny Herbert at Benetton in 1989 but had to make way for Nelson Piquet the following year. Didn?t spend long in F1 but has had a successful career in sports cars.

Allan McNish
Audi Sport North America / Audi R10 TDI

Along with Mika Salo (below) was dropped by Toyota after the Japanese team?s maiden season in 2002. Given his subsequent excellent career in sports cars and Toyota?s dismal F1 history, perhaps they got that one wrong.

Olivier Panis
Team ORECA Matmut / Courage-ORECA LC70 Judd

Bright French prospect whose leg-breaking crash at Montreal in 1997 seemed to blunt his edge. A succession of increasingly poor Prost F1 cars didn?t help. Later at BAR and Toyota.

Marc Gene
Team Peugeot Total / Peugeot 908 HDi FAP

Spaniard who got Minardi in the points and later drove for Williams and tested for Ferrari.

Jacques Villeneuve
Team Peugeot Total / Peugeot 908 HDi FAP

1997 F1 world champion who squandered his career on the dismal BAR project. Then drove for Renault, Sauber and BMW before being dropped.

Pedro Lamy
Team Peugeot Total / Peugeot 908 HDi FAP

Portuguese who suffered a huge crash in testing at Silverstone in 1994, landing in a spectator enclosure.

Stephane Sarrazin
Team Peugeot Total / Peugeot 908 HDi FAP

Made one F1 start for Minardi in 1999 at Interlagos, where he crashed out spectacularly with a stuck throttle.

Alexander Wurz
Team Peugeot Total / Peugeot 908 HDi FAP

After driving for Benetton spent several years as McLaren tester. A return to racing for Williams last year didn?t go so well and he quit before the end of the season, but still tests for Honda.

Christian Klien
Team Peugeot Total / Peugeot 908 HDi FAP

Another active F1 tester on the Peugeot roster, Klien arguably got his F1 break before he was really ready and was dropped by Red Bull in 2006.

Franck Montagny
Team Peugeot Total / Peugeot 908 HDi FAP

Talented Frenchman who made a handful of starts for Super Aguri in 2006 while they scrabbled around looking for a Japanese driver to replace him with.

Ricardo Zonta
Team Peugeot Total / Peugeot 908 HDi FAP

Peugeot?s eighth F1 driver in their nine-man squad drove for BAR in 1999 and 2000, and later appeared for Jordan and Toyota as a substitute.

Tomas Enge
Charouz Racing System / Lola B08/60 Aston Martin

Made a couple of F1 starts for Prost in 2001 as the team headed towards bankruptcy.

Jan Lammers
Charouz Racing System / Lola B07/10 Judd

Had a record 10 years between consecutive F1 starts in 1982 and 1992.

Jean-Christophe Boullion
Pescarolo Sport / Pescarolo-Judd

Williams tester who replaced Karl Wendlinger at Sauber in 1995.

Toshio Suzuki
Tokai University ?ǣ YGK Power / Courage-ORECA LC70 YGK

Made a brief appearance in F1 in 1993.

Jos Verstappen
Van Merksteijn Motorsport / Porsche RS Spyder

Michael Schumacher?s number two in 1994 who famously was doused in flames during the German Grand Prix. Later drove for Simtek, Arrows and Minardi.

Hideki Noda
Kruse Schiller Motorsport / Lola B05/40 Mazda

Just three races for Larrousse in 1994.

Heinz-Harald Frentzen
Aston Martin Racing / Aston Martin DBR9

Drove for Sauber before taking Damon Hill?s place at Williams for 1997-8. However he came closest to winning the title in 1999 with Jordan, though he was dropped from the team in 2001. After driving for Prost he turned to Arrows before the team collapsed.

Karl Wendlinger
Aston Martin Racing / Aston Martin DBR9

Like Frentzen a Mercedes prot??g?? who was schooled in sports cars alongside Michael Schumacher. His F1 career was cut short by a horrific crash at Monaco that left him in a coma. He returned in 1995 but only for a few races.

David Brabham
Aston Martin Racing / Aston Martin DBR9

Son of three-times champion Jack Brabham. Drove for his father?s former team in 1990, then returned to F1 with Simtek in 1994.

Christian Fittipaldi
Team Modena / Aston Martin DBR9

Nephew of 1972 and 1974 world champion Emerson Fittipaldi. His brief F1 career peaked with a fourth place for Minardi in 1993.He survived an astonishing somersault at the Italian Grand Prix that year as he tagged team mate Pierluigi Martini as the pair crossed the start/finish line.

Jan Magnussen
Corvette Racing / Corvette C6.R

Made one start for McLaren in 1995 before doing a season and a half with Stewart in 1997-8. Showed immense talent in junior categories but never realised it in F1.

Olivier Beretta
Corvette Racing / Corvette C6.R

Along with Noda, only drove for Larrousse in 1994, for ten races.

Massimiliano Papis
Corvette Racing / Corvette C6.R

Did six races for Arrows in 1996

Mika Salo
Risi Competizione / Ferrari F430 GT

Along with McNish was dropped by Toyota in 2002 in one of F1?s most unfathomable decisions. Showed promise with Lotus and Tyrrell before being edged out of F1 in 1999, only to return for Ferrari as Michael Schumacher?s substitute. A year with Sauber took him to Toyota, and after being dumped by them he left F1.

Gianmaria Bruni
Risi Competizione / Ferrari F430 GT

Bruni had a hectic time with Minardi in 2004 including being involved in a pit fire.

Eric van de Poele
Risi Competizione / Ferrari F430 GT

Belgian driver who never got a chance to drive anything even halfway decent in F1. Was team mate to Damon Hill at Brabham in their final season, 1992.

Andrea Chiesa
Speedy Racing / Spyker C8 Laviolette GT2R

Swiss driver Chiesa suffered the same curse of miserable equipment as van de Poele did.

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