Vergne relishing WEC debut with CEFC Manor TRS

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Jean-Eric Vergne is relishing the prospect of testing his mettle against the world’s best LMP2 teams and drivers this year and, despite a lack of pre-season testing, he believes that he will integrate quickly into the world of endurance racing.

“I am really looking forward to it this year,” said the former Toro Rosso F1 racer. “It is a good deal, and endurance racing has been in my mind more and more over the last few years.

“It looks like I won’t get in the car until Silverstone,” explained Vergne. “I have no problem with this because I am used to jumping into cars at the last moment. I need to get familiar with the team, the strategies and work with two other drivers but all this will come naturally.

“What is clear is that Manor is a good team and they have a season of experience behind them,” he says. “I think we can do some good races this year. Clearly, I am a competitive guy so I am looking forward to pushing the team on in 2017.

“The FIA WEC is a very strong championship, this is clear. I love this level and the challenge will be one that as a team together we can embrace and hopefully challenge for some really strong results.”

Vergne has some experience of driving with a roof over his head after he completed some testing miles with the Toyota Gazoo Racing team back in 2015 at Paul Ricard. The 26-year-old Frenchman thinks that the new LMP2 cars will be spectacular to watch in 2017.

“I heard that at Motorland Aragon a few weeks ago it was as quick as an LMP1 at some stages,” says Vergne. “The LMP1 cars save fuel so the LMP2 cars have a small margin to catch them so it will be interesting to see how close we can get. Ultimately, I think the podium at Le Mans will still be filled by LMP1 cars, but the LMP2 battle is going to be super-exciting and really close.

“The last few weeks I have been watching some WEC races and old Le Mans races and they are races where absolutely anything can happen so I am really looking forward to racing with Manor but I also have to learn quite a bit in the first races.”