After speaking with PlayStation Team Oreca and with the full blessing of the team, Stefan Johansson has decided against taking part in the 2002 Le Mans 24 Hours.
"I have decided to withdraw from this year¹s Le Mans race due to a combination of reasons", explained the Swedish driver who won the famous 24 Hours race in 1997.
"Le Mans is undoubtedly one of the best races in the world and it has been a very hard decision to make. I would like to point out that this has absolutely nothing to do with the team : Oreca is one of the most professional and successful teams I have ever worked with and they certainly stand a good chance of winning this year¹s race. This also does not mean that I am retiring from driving, I look forward to being back for some more races possibly this year and undoubtedly for next year. I would like to thank Oreca for being very understanding in this matter and I wish them best of success for the race".
Pierre Dieudonné, Sporting Director of PlayStation Team Oreca made the following comment :
"Of course, losing a driver of the calibre of Stefan is a blow, but we fully approve and respect his decision because we feel that it is the right one. Racing at Le Mans is an enormous commitment for a driver and we thank Stefan for being so honest about his feelings as it gave us time to react".
Stefan¹s place in the team will be filled by Pedro Lamy.
A happy Pedro Lamy returns to PlayStation Team ORECA where he will share the number 15 car with Olivier Beretta and Erik Comas. The Portuguese driver's relationship with the team stretches back to 1998 when he won the FIA GT Championship with Olivier Beretta. Last year he, Beretta and Karl Wendlinger, finished a fourth overall at the French endurance classic event.