Ex-Formula 1 driver Jan Magnussen will return to the Le Mans 24 Hours next month after a late call from the British JMW Ferrari squad.
The former McLaren and Stewart F1 driver, who lost his full-time drive with Corvette Racing at the end of last season, will contest the rescheduled round of the World Endurance Championship on September 19/20 in the GTE Am class in what is set to be his 21st participation in the event.
The four-time Le Mans class winner will share the team’s Ferrari 488 GTE Evo together with Americans Richard Heistand and Max Root.
Magnussen, who had been left without a seat for Le Mans after the Cool Racing LMP2 squad had to scratched its second entry, told Autosport that he had received the offer to join the team out of the blue at the weekend.
“I got a call from Christian Kuhn, who looks after one of the drivers [Root], asking if I could help him out by doing Le Mans with them.
“My reply was, ‘hell, yes’.
“The two other drivers are both new to Le Mans, so they need someone who can guide them.”
Magnussen revealed that is unlikely to get a chance to test the JMW car ahead of the start of practice on the Thursday of Le Mans week.
“There may be the chance of a shakedown, but certainly not a proper test,” he explained.
“I’ve been sent the manual and it’s 53 pages, so I’ve got a lot of homework.
Magnussen, who is racing in the Danish Touring Car Championship this year, has raced a Ferrari in the past: he drove a 458 GT3 in the International GT Open series back in 2013.
He made 15 participations at Le Mans with the Corvette Racing factory Chevrolet squad and also failed to start in 2015 after an accident in qualifying.
The British Carlin squad has withdrawn its LMP2 Dallara from what would have been its maiden Le Mans assault.
The team has scratched the Dallara-Gibson P217 due to have been driven by Harry Tincknell, Ben Barnicoat and Jack Manchester for the same financial reasons that have prevented it from racing in the opening rounds of the European Le Mans Series.
Team boss Trevor Carlin told Autosport: “Our sponsors have had to withdraw for COVID-related business reasons; there’s nothing more to it than that.
“The Automobile Club de l’Ouest [Le Mans organiser and WEC promoter] have been really supportive and helped us in every way possible to be there.
“Our intention is to return and we are prepared to do whatever it takes to earn the right to go.”
Carlin conceded that it was looking unlikely that the team will be able to return to the ELMS with the Dallara this season.
The withdrawal of Carlin has reduced the Le Mans entry to 59 cars.
That’s one down on the 60 announced last month and the 62 revealed in February.
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