F1 drivers in the 2009 Le Mans 24 Hours

Peuget and Aston Martin both have F1 drivers in their Le Mans squads

Peuget and Aston Martin both have F1 drivers in their Le Mans squads

Senna, Mansell, Prost… the 2009 Le Mans entry list has some famous F1 names on it.

Those three are, of course, ‘sons of…’ plus one ‘nephew of…’. But there are 23 other drivers racing at Le Mans this weekend who all have F1 starts to their name.

Here’s a list of all of them, including former Super Aguri driver turned BBC commentator Anthony Davidson.

LMP1

Tomas Enge
AMR Eastern Europe Lola Aston Martin #007

Last F1 start: 2001 Japanese Grand Prix, Prost-Acer, DNF (gearbox)

Infamously lost the 2002 F3000 championship after failing a drugs test (for cannabis). Started three of Prost’s final races in 2001 after Jean Alesi abandoned the struggling team.

Anthony Davidson
Aston Martin Racing Lola Aston Martin #008

Last F1 start: 2008 Spanish Grand Prix, Super Aguri-Honda, DNF (radiator)

Lost his F1 drive when Super Aguri collapsed last year. Now doing a superb job as a commentator for BBC Radio, but far too good to be confined to be standing around holding a microphone.

Jos Verstappen
Aston Martin Racing Lola Aston Martin #008

Last F1 start: 2003 Japanese Grand Prix, Minardi-Cosworth, 15th

Davidson’s team mate Verstappen occasionally partnered Michael Schumacher at Benetton in Schumacher’s first championship year. In the news earlier this year when he was given a suspended jail sentence for threatening his wife.

Allan McNish
Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R15 TDI #1

Last F1 start: 2002 United States Grand Prix, Toyota, 15th

Tipped as an F1 star of the future in his early days before his career stalled. Did (almost) a full season for Toyota in F1 in 2002 before being dropped. Since then has been very successful in sports cars, winning the Le Mans 24 Hours twice, including playing a starring role in Audi’s excellent win last year.

Pedro Lamy
Team Peugeot Total Peugeot 908 HDi FAP #7

Last F1 start: 1996 Japanese Grand prix, Minardi-Ford, 12th

Portugese driver who suffered a terrible crash during testing at Silverstone in 1994. His Lotus cleared the barriers and landed in a spectator tunnel which, mercifully, was empty.

Christian Klien
Team Peugeot Total Peugeot 908 HDi FAP #7

Last F1 result: 2006 Italian Grand Prix, Red Bull-Ferrari, 11th

Placed by Red Bull at Jaguar in 2004 for an astronomical sum. Red Bull took over the team in 2005 and a poorly thought-out attempt at rotating Klien’s seat with Vitantonio Liuzzi that year did little for his development. Dropped before the end of 2006, but subbed for Jenson Button in practice for the British Grand Prix in 2007. Now a BMW F1 test driver.

Franck Montagny
Team Peugeot Total Peugeot 908 HDi FAP #8

Last F1 result: 2006 French Grand Prix, Super Aguri-Honda, 16th

The French driver made seven starts for Super Aguri in 2007 until the team dropped him for Sakon Yamamoto who, being Japanese, was considered a more compelling proposition for the team’s sponsors.

Stephane Sarrazin
Team Peugeot Total Peugeot 908 HDi FAP #8

Last F1 result: 1999 Brazilian Grand Prix, Minardi-Ford, DNF

Substitued for Luca Badoer at Minardi in the 1999 Brazilian Grand Prix, and crashed heavily after 31 laps.

Sebastien Bourdais
Team Peugeot Total Peugeot 908 HDi FAP #8

Last F1 result: 2009 Monaco Grand Prix, Toro Rosso-Ferrari, 8th

The days when F1 drivers turned up in droves to participate in the Le Mans 24 Hours are, sadly, long behind us. Bourdais is the first driver to do so since Montagny in 2006, so three cheers for him. The pair together with Sarrazin form the first of Peugeot’s two cars manned by current or past F1 drivers (and, in this case, drivers who are all French).

Marc Gene
Team Peugeot Total Peugeot 908 HDi FAP #9

Last F1 result: 2004 British Grand Prix, Williams-BMW, 12th

Made 33 starts for Minardi and later appeared as a substitute for Ralf Schumacher at Williams in 2003 and 2004.

Alexander Wurz
Team Peugeot Total Peugeot 908 HDi FAP #9

Last F1 result: 2007 Chinese Grand Prix, Williams-Toyota, 12th

Had an F1 career in two parts. First came four seasons with Benetton lasting until 2000. Then, after a long period as a test driver for McLaren, he returned as a one-off at San Marino in 2005, finishing on the podium after 71 races out of the cockpit. But a return season with Williams in 2007 yielded little success and he retired one race before the end of the season.

David Brabham
Team Peugeot Total Peugeot 908 HDi FAP #9

Last F1 result: 1994 Australian Grand Prix, Simtek-Ford, DNF (engine)

Brabham, son of three times champion Sir Jack Brabham, completes Peugeot’s second all-F1 car (Gene/Wurz/Brabham). Drove for his father’s eponymous team in 1990, then returned with Simtek in 1994.

Tiago Monteiro
Team ORECA Matmut AIM Oreca 01 AIM #10

Last F1 result: 2006 Brazilian Grand Prix, Midland-Toyota, 15th

Impressively finished his first 16 Grands Prix in a row for Jordan – including third in the infamous 2005 United States Grand Prix. Dropped at the end of 2006, now races in the World Touring Car Championship for Seat as well as running the GP2 Ocean Racing Technology.

Olivier Panis
Team ORECA Matmut AIM Oreca 01 AIM #11

Last F1 result: 2004 Japanese Grand Prix, Toyota, 14th

One-time Grand Prix winner for Ligier in 1996 before breaking his leg at Montreal the following season. Stints at BAR and Toyota followed and despite stepping diwn from the latter’s race team in 2004 he remained as a test driver for three more years.

Narain Karthikeyan
Kolles Audi R10 TDI #14

Last F1 result: 2005 Chinese Grand Prix, Jordan-Ford, DNF

Team mate of Monteiro at Jordan in 2005 who only distinguished himself with a hefty shunt in his final race at Shanghai. Has since raced in A1 Grand Prix, giving the Indian team its first win.

Jean-Christophe Boullion
Pescarolo Sport Peugeot 908 HDi FAP #17

Last F1 result: 1995 Pacific Grand Prix, Sauber-Ford, DNF

Former Williams test driver who took over from Karl Wendlinger at Sauber for 11 races in 1995.

LMP2

Hideki Noda
KSM Lola B07/46 – Mazda #39

Last F1 result: 1994 Australian Grand Prix, Larrousse-Ford, DNF

Started three races for Larrousse in 1994 as the team was on its last legs. He suffered two car failures and spun out in the rain-soaked Japanese Grand Prix. The sole F1 driver in the LMGT2 class, Noda is making his second Le Mans start in a Lola-Mazda.

LMGT1

Jan Magnussen
Corvette Racing Corvette C6.R #63

Last F1 result: 1998 Canadian Grand Prix, Stewart-Ford, 6th

Hotly-tipped talent who drove for Jackie Stewart’s team for a season and a half before being dropped.

Olivier Beretta
Corvette Racing Corvette C6.R #64

Last F1 result: 1994 Hungarian Grand Prix, Larrousse-Ford, 9th

Drove the same car as Noda earlier in 1994, before being replaced by a series of different drivers.

Marco Apicella
JLOC Isao Noritake Lamborghini Murcielago R-GT #68

Last F1 result: 1993 Italian Grand Prix, Jordan-Hart, DNF

One of only eight drivers to have started a single Grand Prix yet failed to complete the first lap. Read more about him and the other seven here: One lap wonders

LMGT2

Gianmaria Bruni
AF Corse Ferrari F430 GT #78

Last F1 result: 2004 Brazilian Grand Prix, 17th

After racing for Minardi in 2004 he spent two seasons in Gp2 in the hope of winning promotion back into F1. Since then he has raced sports cars, winning the FIA GT championship last year alongside Tony Vilander in an AF Corse Ferrari.

Mika Salo
Risi Competizione Ferrari F430 GT #82

Last F1 result: 2002 Japanese Grand Prix, Toyota, 8th

Several impressive results for Tyrrell failed to land him a competitive drive until he was drafted in as Michael Schumacher’s substitute in 1999. Salo produced mixed performances for Ferrari – he should have won at Hockenheim, but qualified 18th at the Hungaroring. Later drove for Toyota alongside McNish before the pair were dropped at the end of 2002.

Eric van de Poele
Risi Competizione Ferrari F430 GT #83

Last F1 result: 1992 Italian Grand Prix, Fondmetal-Ford, DNF

Sampled a selection of terrible F1 machinery in 1991 and 1992, achieving five starts from 29 attempts. Should have finished in the points on the sole occasion he qualified in 1991, but his car ran out of fuel in the dying stages of the San Marino round.

Famous names

Three famous F1 surnames are contesting the Le Mans 24 Hours this year.

Bruno Senna, nephew of Ayrton, partners Monteiro and Stephane Ortelli in the Oreca squad. Nicolas Prost, son of Alain, is in a Speedy Racing Lola-Aston. Both are in LMP1.

Leo Mansell, son of Nigel, is racing in the LMGT2 category in a Team Modena-run Ferrari F430.

Last year, 28 F1 drivers past and present entered the Le Mans 24 Hours. This year that number has fallen to 23. Among those who have dropped out since last year are Jacques Villeneuve, Heinz-Harald Frentzen, Karl Wendlinger, Christian Fittipaldi, Ricardo Zonta, Jan Lammers, Andrea Chiesa, Massimiliano Papis and Toshio Suzuki.

Which of the F1 drivers are in with a chance of winning their classes this year? Have your say in the comments.

Read more about Le Mans

Allan McNish is aiming for a third Le Mans victory this year

Allan McNish is aiming for a third Le Mans victory this year

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33 comments on F1 drivers in the 2009 Le Mans 24 Hours

  1. Bourdais finally has a chance at winning a race. Its about time. Maybe a good showing here will save his ride at Toro Rosso.

    • Ronman said on 12th June 2009, 7:49

      His car landed on pole thanks to Sarrazin, i hope they win…

      • persempre said on 12th June 2009, 16:27

        lol – They nearly had to dig him out of the cockpit with a shovel on practice day. He was really hogging it.

        • Filipe said on 12th June 2009, 21:20

          Bourdais has a good shot of winning. It probably between him/Sarrazin/Montagny or McNish/Kristensen/Capello, but the others Peugeots have a shot as well.

          Salo, who is current champ in LMGT2, might win again, but the Porsches are looking good there too.

  2. mp4-19 said on 12th June 2009, 7:39

    i would say Allen McNish is the best of the lot. poor guy got only one season with toyota & almost met with a fatal end at suzuka.

  3. mp4-19b said on 12th June 2009, 7:40

    i would say Allen McNish is the best of the lot. poor guy got only one season with toyota & almost met with a fatal end at suzuka.

    • Tom said on 13th June 2009, 14:26

      I had to youtube search that crash to see what you were talking about. holy flip, the car is demolished. good on safety of f1 though, he walked away, albeit with a limp.

  4. Among those who have dropped out since last year are [...] Olivier Panis…

    Eh, no. ;)

  5. Brakius said on 12th June 2009, 7:45

    McNish should win again, Audi has been stellar in recent years.

    The only other driver I think that has a chance in their class might be Salo, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

  6. Ronman said on 12th June 2009, 7:48

    Wasn’t Villeneuve racing at LeMans last year?

    • Damon said on 12th June 2009, 10:31

      You’d know if you had only read the whole article. Yes, he was.

      Jacques stated that having won F1 WDC and Indy500, he wants to be the first driver since… Graham Hill? Mario Andretti? [someone help me on this one] to win the motorsport crown: F1 WDC + Indy500 + LeMans 24h. And he promised to keep trying until he succeeds.

      He came second last year.
      ___________________
      This year, as in previous years, I’m all for braking Audi’s hegemony.
      I’m cheering for Bourdais and all the Peugeot teams, as well as for the underdog Aston Martins, who qualified quite well too.

      BTW. One of the reason I’ve always loved Le Mans:
      http://media.nextautos.com/images/R15_640.jpg
      Mmmmmm!!!

      • Ronman said on 12th June 2009, 11:19

        Sorry Damon, Keith

        for some reason my mind blew past Jacques name where it was… although i did read the whole article sir….

        can’t wait for Sunday hopefully a Peugeot will win this time

  7. F1Yankee said on 12th June 2009, 8:41

    impressive work, detective. did you put the list together manually?

  8. scunnyman said on 12th June 2009, 9:33

    Quite a coincidence I mentioned jokingly about a team of Senna Prost and mansell at Le mans in an eamil to persempre today.

    Can you imagine????

    And i don’t mean sons and nephew.

  9. Dane said on 12th June 2009, 9:47

    Wow, what an all star list. Cant wait to watch it. They’re finaly showing it in HD down here in Aus

  10. ajokay said on 12th June 2009, 10:27

    Where is the race viewable in the UK? Is it just Eurosport?

  11. johnt said on 12th June 2009, 11:56

    To Keith, I’d just would like to point out that Allan McNish’s first Le Mans win was in fact in 1998 in the Porsche GT1, so before he did his time at Toyota making it only one win since he was in F1.

    I’m sure you knew this already anyhow ;)

  12. I’d like to see a return to the Ferrari V. Porsche glory days at LeMans (Ah, the late 60s and early 70s…) but I doubt it will happen. Porsche is no longer interested in breaking their budget to field a full effort when they can sell cars and let privateers carry the flag for them. Ferrari? They have a lot of money and a huge racing technical staff, so theorietically they could do run a sports car effort in parallel with their Formula One program, but I don’t think they will.

  13. versatppen said on 12th June 2009, 13:22

    Jos Verstappen deserves more credit!

    This man has a lot of raw speed but sometimes lost (loses) his temper (yes, both on and off the track).

    ‘Jos was flying’ said Schumacher after 2001 Malaysia GP when Jos raced his Arrows through the rain.

    Or remember his awesome starts, always overtaking a lot of cars.

    Or Canada, also in the rain where he passed Trulli under the bridge with a very nice move.

    Later in A1 GP he was the man who made the series tolerable to watch.

    Last year he won LeMans in the LMP2 Porsche.

    Sometimes a bad temper, a trully bad manager and unfortunately his first F1 drive came too early.

    In the Netherlands we hope this will be different for his now eleven year old son, who wins everything he can in karting. Let’s see in 7 years!

  14. Ninad said on 12th June 2009, 13:52

    Christian Albers
    Kolles Audi R10 TDI #15
    Last F1 result: 2005 Chinese Grand Prix, Jordan-Ford, DNF

  15. Ninad said on 12th June 2009, 13:54

    Christian Albers
    Kolles Audi R10 TDI #15
    Last F1 result: 2007 British Grand Prix, Spyker F1 Team, 15th

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