Audi's Lucas di Grassi had Toyota LMP1 offer for 2017 Le Mans
|By Sam Smith and Scott Mitchell||Tuesday, April 11th 2017, 10:22 GMT|
Toyota approached Lucas di Grassi about a seat in its third LMP1 car before the Brazilian sealed his World Endurance Championship deal with AF Corse Ferrari.
Di Grassi lost his LMP1 drive when Audi ceased its factory WEC programme last year.
He remains Audi-contracted, racing for its works partner Abt in Formula E, and was unable to get the necessary clearance to drive the additional Toyota in the Spa WEC race and Le Mans 24 Hours.
"I had a very good LMP1 season last year and I got approaches from some LMP2 teams, some IMSA teams in the US and also one LMP1 team," di Grassi told Autosport.
"I was not authorised to do any LMP1 stuff in Le Mans but I was OK to do anything else outside that class.
"Audi behaves very well with us drivers doing other things, they are very fair.
"I had a couple of offers and they were quite straightforward with me saying I couldn't do any LMP1."
Audi's sister company Porsche remains in LMP1 as Toyota's sole factory rival.
Autosport understands Porsche did not offer di Grassi either an LMP1 or GTE Pro drive.
Instead di Grassi will contest Le Mans with Ferrari's works GT programme, having favoured that class over LMP2 as he feels the requirement for a lower-graded driver in each P2 team's line-up skews that division.
"I don't like LMP2 because of the silver driver, that's much more important than the other two drivers," di Grassi said.
"So I looked at GTE. The ideal scenario was Porsche but it had a full line-up.
"I know Ferrari because I raced one at Macau in 2012.
"When Audi decided to stop and the [New York FE/Nurburgring WEC] clash was announced it was clear I wasn't doing the full WEC. It's just for Le Mans.
"It will be good to gain GT experience - the more I do, the better."