European Le Mans Series champion DragonSpeed has announced its intention to participate in the 2018-19 FIA World Endurance Championship with a program in the LMP1 class.
Having won the LMP2 category of ELMS with its #22 car – run under the G-Drive Racing banner – DragonSpeed has elected to expand its endurance racing operations by joining the WEC for it’s “super-season”, which includes the 2018 and 2019 editions of the 24 Hours of Le Mans as the series transitions to a winter calendar.
The American team also announced the signing of two of its three drivers, as Ben Hanley and Henrik Hedman will continue their duties with the team.
Hanley and Hedman raced in 2017 for DragonSpeed’s #21 entry in ELMS, piloting an Oreca 07 with former works Toyota driver Nicolas Lapierre, and partnered Felix Rosenqvist in a Le Mans one-off this year.
“The whole team is thrilled and up for the challenge,” said DragonSpeed principal Elton Julian.
“Having won sportscar titles in GT3 and LMP2, the natural progression for our highly talented and motivated crew is to move up to LMP1.”
Julian also announced that the team is currently evaluating chassis and engine options, in addition to its search for a suitable third driver.
“We’re carefully studying potential partners who can help us put together a programme which will deliver the progress and success we want for DragonSpeed.
“Everyone is on the same page in terms of the package and approach we need, and we can’t wait to get started.”
Bronze driver Hedman, who is also one of the team’s key supporters, was excited about DragonSpeed’s step into WEC, and the opportunities offered by the series’ new calendar.
“The chance to progress to the premier level of endurance racing with such a successful and close-knit group made this an easy decision,” said Hedman.
“Step by step, we’ve grown together and achieved a lot. I applaud the ACO and FIA for the new schedule and the opportunity it has created.
“I’m committed to preparing myself and applying everything I’ve learned over the past few seasons to racing the new generation of LMP1 cars with Elton and the team.”