British ace Sam Bird has secured a full-time drive in the FIA World Endurance Championship for this season as part of an expanded two-car line-up for LMP2 team G-Drive Racing.
A multiple race-winner in GP2 and Formula Renault 3.5 in his time in the single-seater ranks, Bird joins the team’s lead Ligier JS P2 entry alongside Roman Rusinov and Julien Canal.
The 28-year-old therefore replaces Olivier Pla, who has left to join the Nissan LMP1 project for this season.
Bird is currently competing in the inaugural FIA Formula E campaign for Virgin Racing, and sits second in the standings after winning in Malaysia. Last year he sampled sportscars with three rounds in the United SportsCar Championship in a PC car, as well as the Spa and Le Mans WEC events in a Ferrari 458.
The second of the OAK Racing-run cars features an all-Latin American line-up.
Colombian Gustavo Yacaman joins the WEC after contesting last year’s USC for OAK, and is paired up with Mexico’s Ricardo Gonzalez – who won the WEC and Le Mans with OAK in 2013 – and young Brazilian Pipo Derani, who impressed in early LMP2 outings last year after switching from Formula 3.
“In our second year with G-Drive Racing we’re really determined to win the title that escaped us by such a tiny margin in 2014,” said team principal Philippe Dumas.
“Naturally, we’ve remained faithful to the Ligier JS P2 that’s proved just how competitive it is, and we have two excellent driver line-ups. We’ll be up against very stiff opposition in LM P2 with the arrival of new teams and new cars. But that makes the challenge all the more exciting and victory is our sole aim.”