Paris - Retired
Formula One veteran Rubens Barrichello will make his debut driving in
the Le Mans 24 Hour endurance race, it was confirmed on Thursday.
The Brazilian will share the wheel of a Dutch entry with Jan Lammers, the 1988 winner with Jaguar.
"I'm delighted to hear that we have been accepted for my 23rd Le Mans
and Racing Team Netherlands' first entry," ex F1 driver Lammers told
Britain's autosport magazine online edition.
"We are extremely proud to enter some Brazilian flavour into Le Mans," he added.
They will be driving a Dallara LMP2 car which the pair have already started testing.
Whilst this will be Barrichello's first taste of Le Mans, the
44-year-old has completed three editions of the Daytona 24 Hour,
finishing runner-up last year.
The former Ferrari ace retired from F1 in 2011 after 11 wins.
The 85th running of motorsport's mythic race will be staged without the participation of Audi.
The German auto giant announced in October they were pulling out of the world endurance championship to focus on Formula E.
Audi won Le Mans 13 times between 2000 and 2014 but the last two years saw them usurped by Porsche.
Barrichello follows in the footsteps of other F1 stars to be drawn to
Le Mans including Mark Webber, the Australian who on June 17 will be
acting as a marshall and official starter.
In total 60 cars were accepted Thursday for the race which attracts a crowd of 250,000 petrol heads to the circuit.
Among the list of proposed drivers are F1 legend Alain Prost's son
Nicolas, Nelson Piquet Junior and footballer Fabien Barthez, the 1998
French World Cup winner who returns in a Ligier.
Denmark's Christina Nelson is the only female driver.
Toyota are set to compete with three cars as they try to gain revenge
on Porsche after the agony of leading last year's race only for their
car to pack up in the closing lap.
"No one will forget last year's race," said Pierre Fillon, the
brother of French presidential candidate Francois Fillon and president
of ACO, the local Sarthe region's automobile club.
"The Le Mans 24 Hours remains the holy grail which all the (endurance) drivers want to win," he added.