Honda World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) driver Tiago Monteiro has announced that he will race in this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours race, competing for ByKolles Racing at the wheel of a CLM P1 Prototype.
Monteiro has previously contested the famous 24 hour race in 1999, 2001, 2009 and 2011. The Portuguese driver has been invited to race for the Austrian team, which is a regular in the World Endurance Championship.
Monteiro admits that he found it difficult to have the required availability to compete in the Le Mans race, but is pleased to have found an opportunity with ByKolles which suits both parties.
“My involvement with Honda in the WTCC limits my availability and I have had to turn down invitations from other teams for the 24h,” said Monteiro. “Fortunately, I don’t have that problem with Kolles Racing! Honda understands the importance of this event for me and has gladly accepted that I will take part in this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.
“I am very grateful to the team, where I have known a lot of people since I was in Formula 1 with Jordan, Midland and Spyker. I know the way they work and the potential of the team. I am very excited to get started on this project.”
Monteiro faces a steep learning curve with the team, having not driven an LMP sportscar in over four years.
“Ideally, I should participate in a lot more tests to familiarize myself with the car because I have not driven a LMP1 since 2011. But I will do my best to be fast and not make any mistakes. For now, my goal is to make it to the end of the 24 hours and maybe even think about a podium in the category! It would be a fantastic achievement.”
Monteiro will take part in private testing with the team on May 19th and 20th ahead of official testing at the end of May. The race itself takes place on the 13th and 14th June.