Reigning FIA WEC LMP2 champion Sam Bird is close to confirming a deal to mount a title defence in 2016, Motorsport.com can reveal.
The British driver took the 2015 LMP2 title in a G-Drive Ligier along with Roman Rusinov and Julien Canal took and expects to be able to confirm a new contract shortly.
“Things are really close to sorting things out for 2016,” Bird told Motorsport.com. “It is exciting times and I am pleased to say that I’ll be back in WEC next year - but in what, you’ll just have to keep on guessing.
“I think [defending] the title in LMP2 is something I will really enjoy,” he continued. “This year was really good.
"We proved we were the best team in LMP2 and our attitude going in to the final race was to show we could do it in style by taking the title with a win, which we achieved.”
Bird, who recently tested a Toyota LMP1 car, could also dovetail his race programme with testing and reserve duties in LMP1 after impressing the Japanese manufacturer in Bahrain last month.
Manor set for LMP2 entry?
One of Bird’s former Formula 3 teams - Manor Motorsport - is believed to be planning an LMP2 campaign after Graeme Lowdon visited both Le Mans and Bahrain this season evaluating opportunities for a future programme.
Lowdon, along with long-time collaborator John Booth, decided to step back from the Manor Formula 1 team at the end of this season after six largely fruitless years spent in Grand Prix racing.
Motorsport.com understands Manor may run an interim programme in 2016, before a possible partnership with Dallara’s new LMP2 contender in 2017.