Ex-F1 driver Karun Chandhok seals Le Mans 24 Hours return for 2017
|By Gary Watkins||Wednesday, April 19th 2017, 15:40 GMT|
Ex-Formula 1 driver Karun Chandhok will return to the Le Mans 24 Hours in 2017 after a one-year absence, with the British Tockwith Ligier squad.
The Indian driver, who raced at Le Mans in 2012-15 with the JRM and Murphy teams, will race the Tockwith Motorsports LMP2 class Ligier-Gibson P217 in the 24 Hours on June 17/18 and in next month's Spa World Endurance Championship round.
Chandhok will share the car in both events with Nigel Moore and Phil Hanson, who are racing the Tockwith Ligier in this season's European Le Mans Series.
"It will be nice to go back to Le Mans, because it is the best race in the world," he told Autosport.
"Simon [Moore, the team owner] phoned me and said that they were looking for an experienced driver to come and help out.
"I was clear that if I was to do Le Mans, I needed to do a race before, and they suggested that instead of me joining them for an ELMS round we should do the Spa WEC round."
Chandhok had a seat fitting early last week when the team was testing at Silverstone, but will not get to drive the Ligier before first free practice for the Spa meeting on May 4-6.
Yorkshire-based Tockwith was granted its first Le Mans entry courtesy of winning the LMP3 class of last winter's Asian Le Mans Series.
Tockwith's participation and the arrival of Signatech Alpine's second WEC entry for Nelson Panciatici, Andre Negrao and Pierre Ragues will bring the LMP2 car count to 11.
Signatech opted to concentrate it resources on its lead car at Silverstone. The second entry is confirmed for all the WEC rounds up to and including Mexico City in September.
The additional P2s and a third Toyota TS050 HYBRID, which is contesting Spa in preparation for Le Mans, bring the WEC entry for Spa to 30 cars.