F1 drivers in the 2010 Le Mans 24 Hours

Peugeot's lead car has an all-F1 driver squad

Peugeot's lead car has an all-F1 driver squad

The Le Mans 24 Hours has been won by 64 different F1 drivers since it was first held in 1923. Last year the winning car was piloted by three former F1 racers – Alexander Wurz, Marc Gene and David Brabham.

This year 1992 world champion Nigel Mansell is among the 24 F1 drivers taking part in the great race. He’s joined by, among others, recent F1 racers Giancarlo Fisichella and Romain Grosjean.

Find out which cars each of the F1 drivers are in for this year’s race below.

LMP1 class

Peugeot 908

Peugeot 908

Anthony Davidson
Team Peugeot, Peugeot 908 HDi FAP #1

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

Davidson, who drove for Aston Martin last year, has joined two of last year’s outright winners, Alexander Wurz and Marc Gene. Car number one is the only all-F1 driver team in this year’s race.

His F1 career was limited to two appearances for Minardi in 2002, a stand-in drive for Takuma Sato at BAR in 2005 (which lasted a handful of laps) and a season-and-a-bit for Super Aguri as Sato’s team mate from 2007-2008.

Alexander Wurz
Team Peugeot, Peugeot 908 HDi FAP #1

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

Shared the winning Peugeot last year for his second Le Mans win. His first was in 1996, the year before he made his F1 debut for Benetton.

Spent three years with Benetton before being dropped by Flavio Briatore. After a long stint as a McLaren test driver – including a one-off start and third place at Imola in 2005 – he returned to race for Williams in 2007. But Wurz retired from the sport before the season finale at Interlagos.

Marc Gene
Team Peugeot, Peugeot 908 HDi FAP #1

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

Became the first Spanish driver to win the race last year.

Ferrari test driver Gene raced for Minardi and also made three starts for Williams as a substitute in 2003 and 2004. But he was replaced by Antonio Pizzonia following his last F1 start at Silverstone.

Stephane Sarrazin
Team Peugeot, Peugeot 908 HDi FAP #2

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

His F1 career lasted 31 laps when he substituted for Luca Badoer at Minardi in the 1999 Brazilian Grand Prix.

Franck Montagny
Team Peugeot, Peugeot 908 HDi FAP #2

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

Another driver who only raced in F1 as a substitute. Former Renault development driver Montagny drove for Super Aguri in 2006 after the team were forced to drop Yuji Ide, and stayed only until the team replaced him with Sakon Yamamoto.

Sebastien Bourdais
Peugeot Sport, Peugeot 908 HDi FAP #3

Last F1 result: 2009 German Grand Prix, Toro Rosso-Ferrari, DNF (hydraulics)

Dropped by Toro Rosso halfway through last year after lagging behind rookie team mate Sebastien Buemi rather too often.

Bourdais is one of few drivers in recent years to have driven at Le Mans while being an active F1 driver, as he did last year.

Pedro Lamy
Peugeot Sport, Peugeot 908 HDi FAP #3

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

Best remembered for a shocking testing crash at Silverstone in 1994 where his Lotus cleared the barriers at the old Abbey curve, following which the corner was changed into a chicane for that year’s British Grand Prix.

Lamy returned for Minardi in the middle of 1995 and stayed until the end of the following season. He claimed just one point during his F1 career, finishing sixth at Adelaide in 1995.

Olivier Panis
Team ORECA, Peugeot 908 HDi FAP #4

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

The 1996 Monaco Grand Prix winner is driving for ORECA for the third year in a row at Le Mans, but this time he has the benefit of driving the same make car which won the race last year.

Panis spent the first seven years of his F1 team driving for Ligier, which in 1997 became Prost. Following a year as a McLaren test driver he returned to racing with BAR in 2001 before moving to Toyota. Even after retiring from F1 racing at the end of 2005 he remained a Toyota test driver for two more years.

Nigel Mansell
Beechdean Mansell Motorsport, Ginetta-Zytek GZ09S #5

Last F1 start: 1995 Spanish Grand Prix, McLaren-Mercedes, DNF (handling)

The 1992 world champion finally makes his first start at Le Mans having tried to do so while racing for Lotus in the 1980s, and being denied the opportunity by Colin Chapman.

Mansell and sons Leo and Greg are driving a Ginetta run by themselves and British GT team Beechdean. Appropriately enough, it’s car number five. They aren’t likely to trouble the frontrunners in the LMP1 class – but can they keep running to the end of the 24 hours?

Audi R15-plus

Audi R15-plus

Allan McNish
Audi Sport Team Joest, Audi R15-plus TDi #7

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

While Peugeot have seven ex-F1 drivers in their factory squad, McNich is the only former Formula 1 pilot in the Audi camp. He drove for Toyota in 2002 but missed the last race of the season after a savage crash in qualifying at Suzuka.

A two-time Le Mans winner in 1998 and 2008, McNish is part of Audi’s crack squad including Rinaldo Capello and eight-time winner Tom Kristensen seeking to reclaim the supermacy at the event they lost to Peugeot last year.

Emanuele Pirro
Drayson Racing, Lola-Judd B09/60 #11

Last F1 start: 1991 Australian Grand Prix, Scuderia Italia Dallara-Judd, 7th

Five-times Le Mans 24 Hours winner returns to the race having missed it last year. He joins the team run by Lord Drayson (who also drives for them), who have moved up to LMP1 having raced an Aston Martin in the GT2 class last year.

Pirro drove for Benetton and Scuderia Italia during his F1 career which lasted from 1989 to 1991.

Jean-Christophe Boullion
Rebellion Racing, Lola-Judd B08/60 #13

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

Drove the Pescarolo-run 908 last year, this year Boullion is with Rebellion Racing.

During his F1 career he also had the opportunity to sample the dominant Williams-Renaults of the early 1990s, though only as a test driver. He raced in 1995 for Sauber, standing in for Karl Wendlinger for much of the season.

Christijan Albers
Kolles, Audi R10 TDi #14

Last F1 result: 2007 British Grand Prix, Spyker-Ferrari, 15th

Albers was dropped by Spyker in 2007 one race after he dragged his fuel hose out of the pit lane in Magny-Cours during the French Grand Prix.

He is reunited with former team boss Colin Kolles who has entered a pair of last-generation diesel Audis – the R10s. This is his first appearance at Le Mans.

LMP2 class

ARX-01c

ARX-01c

David Brabham
Highcroft Racing, HPD ARX-01c #26

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

David Brabham drove for father Jack’s team in 1990 and Simtek in 1994 – neither of which were especially competitive prospects.

He’s had better machinery at his disposal at Le Mans. Last year he was an outright winner in a Peugeot 908. This year he’s driving the first of the ARX-01 cars to compete at Le Mans. These were created by Virgin designer Nick Wirth and, like his VR-01, were produced entirely using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD).

Hideki Noda
KSM Lola-Judd B07/40 #39

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

This will be Noda’s third time at Le Mans, giving him as many starts in the 24 Hours as he had in F1. He drove for Larrousse in 1994.

He suffered a massive crash during qualifying in his first appearance at La Sarthe in 2008, flipping his Lola-Mazda several times.

GT1 class

Tomas Enge
Young Driver AMR, Aston Martin DBR9 #52

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

Enge drove one of the gorgeous works Aston Martins last year. This year he’s in an Aston again but this time it’s a GT1 DBR9.

His single seater career is best remembered for the failed drugs test which cost him the 2002 F3000 championship. He made three F1 starts for Prost in 2001 after Jean Alesi left to join Jordan.

Romain Grosjean
Match Competition, Ford GT #60

Last F1 start: 2009 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Renault, 18th

Having failed to land an LMP1 seat for his first Le Mans 24 Hours, Grosjean is driving a Ford GT for Matech, as he does in the GT1 World Championship.

He made seven starts for Renault last year after taking Nelson Piquet Jnr’s place at the team. But he was not retained for 2010, the team preferring to promote his former GP2 team mate Vitaly Petrov instead.

GT2 class

Jan Magnussen
Corvette Racing, Chevrolet Corvette C6.R #63

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

Magnussen stays with Corvette for this year’s race. But having won the GT1 class with them last year, this year they are competing in GT2.

He made a single start for McLaren in the Pacific Grand Prix in 1995 and showed some promise. But he rarely delivered on that when he spend a year-and-a-half with Stewart Grand Prix from 1997 to 1998, eventually being dropped for Jos Verstappen.

Olivier Beretta
Corvette Racing, Chevrolet Corvette C6.R #64

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

Also sticking with Corvette this year, Monegasque driver Beretta made ten starts for Larrousse in 1994.

Gianmaria Bruni
AF Corse Ferrari 430 GT #78

Last F1 result: 2004 Brazilian Grand Prix, 17th

Bruni has had a successful career in sports cars since his sole F1 season for Minardi in 2004.

Eric van de Poele
Risi Competizione Ferrari 430 GT #83

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

Van de Poele is in the same car as last year, which is probably not that much slower than the Modena and Brabham cars he drove during his F1 stint in 1991 and 1992.

His last three appearances for Fondmetal were a step forward in that he at least had a car that was capable of qualifying – having started just two of the previous 26 races he’d entered.

Giancarlo Fisichella
AF Corse, Ferrari 430 GT #95

Last F1 result: 2009 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Ferrari, 16th

Fisichella’s F1 career came to an end last year after 231 starts for teams including Jordan, Benetton, Sauber, Renault, Force India and finally Ferrari. He won three times and nearly gave Force India their maiden victory at Spa last year.

Now a Ferrari F1 test driver he competes for them in GT racing and this will be the 37-year-old’s first Le Mans 24 Hours.

Jean Alesi
AF Corse, Ferrari 430 GT #95

Last F1 result: 2001 Japanese Grand Prix, Jordan-Honda, DNF (accident)

Fisichella is sharing his car with another veteran of over 200 F1 races, Jean Alesi. This is the only car which isn’t a Peugeot to feature more than one F1 driver.

Alesi scored on his debut for Tyrrell in 1989 and famously jousted with Ayton Senna at Phoenix the following year. He switched to Ferrari as the team were heading into one of their periodic slumps but finally won for the team at Montreal in 1995.

After drives for Benetton, Sauber and Prost he ended his career at Jordan – suffering a heavy crash with Kimi R?â?ńikk?â?Ânen during the 2001 Japanese Grand Prix.

Mika Salo
AF Corse, Ferrari 430 GT #96

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

Forever remembered as the driver who gave up what would have been his only F1 win at the Hockenheimring to support Ferrari team mate Eddie Irvine’s failed bid for the world championship.

After being unceremoniously dumped out of F1 by Toyota in 2002, Salo eventually moved to GT racing, winning the American GT2 championship in 2007. This is his fourth appearance at Le Mans, he won the GT2 category last year driving for Risi Competizione.

Other famous names

Lola-Aston Martin B09/60

Lola-Aston Martin B09/60

As well as the Mansell brothers, Alain Prost’s son Nicolas is driving one of the Rebellion Racing Lolas.

Prost shares his car with Marco Andretti, grandson of 1978 F1 champion Mario, who competed in the Le Mans 24 Hours several times but never managed to win it.

And Vanina Ickx, daughter of six times Le Mans winner and 1970 F1 championship runner-up Jacky Ickx, drives the LMP1 Lola-Aston entered by Signature Plus.

Five former F1 drivers who competed in last year’s Le Mans 24 Hours are not present this year. They are Jos Verstappen, Christian Klien, Tiago Monteiro, Narain Karthikeyan and Marco Apicella.

Are you watching this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours? How do you think the F1 drivers will fare in this year’s race? Have your say in the comments.

Le Mans 24 Hours

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49 comments on F1 drivers in the 2010 Le Mans 24 Hours

  1. sw6569 said on 8th June 2010, 17:37

    think its Allen McNish ;)

    Good article though. i’d be watching all 24 hours if it weren’t for my exams!

    • sw6569 said on 8th June 2010, 17:38

      lol my fail. Allan McNish :) not McNich

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 8th June 2010, 17:40

      Easily done! Fixed.

      • sw6569 said on 8th June 2010, 17:44

        :)

        I really wish Mansell was in a car with some decent drivers. With all due respect to his kids, they aren’t quite at his level – or at least what his level once was! All the best to them though.

        I think it’d be good if Antony Davidson won too. Unfortunately I just don’t know enough about the le mans series except that its a great series! I saw this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3y0tbdpcFc and any series that can produce that is incredible

        • sw6569 said on 8th June 2010, 17:46

          (and yes, i know thats the american series, similar cars though :))

        • beneboy said on 8th June 2010, 18:22

          ALMS + Laguna Seca = Happy beneboy :-)

          Great video, great track, great drivers and great cars.
          What more could you ask for ?

  2. f1yankee said on 8th June 2010, 17:52

    i’m picking bourdais to win.

    • KlBD said on 9th June 2010, 0:02

      Agreed, the #3 Peugeot seems to be their hare car, but with Bourdais, Pagenaud, and Lamy onboard I think it could outpace the #1 without too much trouble.

      • Victor said on 9th June 2010, 8:11

        Yeah, but the #2 will be able to destroy both of them on pace. There are no three quicker drivers in the Peugeot than the ones in the #2 car.

        • KlBD said on 10th June 2010, 0:02

          I agree that Sarrazin, Minassian and Montagny are basically the equivalent of Capello, McNish and TK, but it could be the young guns turn to shine this year…especially with how Pagenaud’s been performing in the runup to Le Mans.

  3. Interesting article, I didn’t know there were quite that many!

    One other small error though, you have “Match” instead of “Matech” under Grosjean’s name.

  4. You’re being a bit generous to Karthikeyan to say he competed last year – he was supposed to, but injured his shoulder just before the race while trying to climb the pit wall. He was making a last-moment dash to the bathroom if I remember correctly – the series docs ruled him out and he never drove a lap.

    But I think between your F1 list and our British driver list we’ve just about got everyone covered!

    • PeriSoft said on 9th June 2010, 0:26

      He was making a last-moment dash to the bathroom if I remember correctly – the series docs ruled him out and he never drove a lap.

      Oh, wow. That must really have been a bite in the ass…

  5. Ledzep4pm said on 8th June 2010, 18:16

    As far as I am aware Mansell’s car is a Zytek Chassis and engine being run by Zytek and has no Ginetta involvement, apart from Ginetta having shares in Zytek. One of the reasons he wont be able to win to win is because the engine is the ZJ458 90 degree V8, not a V10. Although the engines are restricted a larger v10 still has more torque.

    • KlBD said on 9th June 2010, 0:03

      Though the cars are homologated as Ginetta-Zyteks…then again this new model looks a lot like the old 07S.

  6. This is the second time that Albers races with an Audi R10 for team Kolles. I believe he was ninth last year.

    • verstappen said on 8th June 2010, 21:16

      Correct.
      And from dutch f1/autosport site rtlgp:

      He was asked by Colin Kolles to ‘test’ the HRT (= bring a lot of money, drive a few laps and provide feedback)

      and (with sufficient funding) a come back in F1 would be possible (*biting my virtual lips – no bad jokes about the refuelling ban!*).

  7. matt90 said on 8th June 2010, 18:59

    Interesting seeing the two different configurations of the peugeot. I hadn’t seen the second one before (pic next to Anthony Davidson profile). I wonder if thats the one being used this year. And if not, where it was used before.

    • Victor said on 8th June 2010, 20:03

      It’s the low-downforce nose which was first used at Le Mans last year.

      • matt90 said on 9th June 2010, 0:15

        Oh right, cheers. Wish I’d seen the race last year, but a lack of access to eurosport makes it difficult. Hopefully I’ll find a way this year!

  8. iBlaze said on 8th June 2010, 19:04

    Nice article, it’s always interesting to hear what former F1 drivers are doing now.

    I think Tomas Enge actually replaced Luciano Burti at Prost in 2001 though, after Burti’s accident at Spa. I believe Alesi and Frentzen just did a straight swap between Jordan and Prost a few races before.

    Thinking about it, 2001 had a particularly high number of swapped seats actually. Didn’t Burti start the year with Jaguar?

    • That is correct. Mazzacane started the year at Prost but turned out to be slow (there may have been a sponsorship problem as well). Jaguar thought Burti was not performing to expectation, so a swap was arranged.

      Meanwhile, Alesi had not been paid his salary for the first part of the season. For some reason, Jordan and Frentzen fell out, so a swap was arranged.

      Enge did indeed replace Burti after the latter crashed at Spa.

  9. Speaking of F1 drivers at LeMans, have you heard about that idea of a $20 million prize for anyone who wins the Indy 500 and some NASCAR race the same day? I couldn’t care less about NASCAR, but I thought it was a good idea. A significant prize for anyone who could win the Triple Crown of Motorsport in the same year: Monaco GP, Indy 500 and LeMans.

    • I heard about the idea – and that it was unlikely any of the drivers would bother attempting it because they thought doing two big races (a 500km and a 600km) on the same day was foolish. Most years, Indy 500 is on the same day as Monaco, and to make it worse it would be logistically impossible to do both unless you were able to bring a Concorde back into operation.

  10. Spud said on 8th June 2010, 19:37

    It has to be said, those LMP1 cars are beautiful.
    Can’t wait for the race. I’ll watch as much as I can.

  11. Steezy said on 8th June 2010, 20:03

    go fisi!

    “Your comment was a bit too short. Please go back and try again.”

    go giancarlo fisichella!

    • I’ve paid some attention to Le Mans before, but because Fisico is there, I’m going to be tracking as many sessions as possible – and planning how I’m going to do an all-nighter on Saturday…

  12. Steve K said on 8th June 2010, 20:08

    I had the pleasure of seeing the Patron Highcroft car in person as Brabham took the checkered flag in Long Beach. I’m pulling for it to win it’s class. ALMS could use the boost.

    • KlBD said on 9th June 2010, 0:05

      If the performance of Strakka Racing’s ARX-01c in the previous 2 LMS rounds is any indication, the ARX-01c is the class of the LMP2 field, and Highcroft have got the strongest driver lineup in class by miles… :) That said, as a fellow ALMS fan I’ll be pulling hard for them as well!

  13. Michael said on 8th June 2010, 20:23

    Anthony Davison debuted as a sub for Alex Yoong in 2001 at Minardi along side some guy named Webber. Wonder what happened to him?
    Still think Ant is a driver who never got a fair shake in F1.

  14. -A- said on 8th June 2010, 20:39

    As always, since I’m very interested in this race, I’ll try to watch as much as possible. Also, I appreciate a number of current or recently former Grand Prix drivers competing in the race. With the works involvement and everyone saying “It’s basically a 24-hour sprint race, in terms of how quick everyone goes”, they can show their talents and at the same time, driving for long times over the distance of the 24 hours demands that the drivers work on their consistency.

  15. Zahir said on 8th June 2010, 20:41

    I may be imagining things Keith but have you written an article about how Le Mans works?

    If so can you try retrieve the link, I might try get into it this year.

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