Vanthoor in talks with G-Drive for Nurburgring

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Vanthoor in talks with G-Drive for Nurburgring
By: Gary Watkins
Jun 4, 2017, 9:18 AM

New Porsche factory GT driver Laurens Vanthoor is in the frame to sub for Alex Lynn at the G-Drive Racing team at the Nurburgring FIA World Endurance Championship round next month.

Laurens Vanthoor, Audi Sport Team WRT Audi R8 LMS
Alex Lynn, DS Virgin Racing
#26 G-Drive Racing Oreca 07 Gibson: Roman Rusinov, Pierre Thiriet, Alex Lynn
#26 G-Drive Racing Oreca 07 Gibson: Roman Rusinov, Pierre Thiriet, Alex Lynn
#26 G-Drive Racing Oreca 07 Gibson: Roman Rusinov, Pierre Thiriet, Alex Lynn
#26 G-Drive Racing Oreca 07 Gibson: Roman Rusinov, Pierre Thiriet, Alex Lynn
#26 G-Drive Racing Oreca 07 Gibson: Roman Rusinov, Pierre Thiriet, Alex Lynn
Marc Lieb, Competition Motorsports
Marc Lieb, Competition Motorsports
#23 Panis Barthez Competition Ligier JS P2 Nissan: Paul-Loup Chatin
Nick Yelloly, Hilmer Motorsport

The Belgian, who joined Porsche's GT roster for this season, has already been confirmed as a reserve driver for the LMP2 team's two entries at the Le Mans 24 Hours on June 18/19 and will get a run in its #26 Oreca-Gibson 07 during Sunday's official pre-race test.

Negotiations are ongoing for him to take Lynn's place alongside Roman Rusinov and Pierre Thiriet at the the Nurburgring on July 16, when former Williams Formula 1 development driver Lynn is set to be racing for the DS Virgin Racing Formula E team in New York.

Both DS Virgin regulars, Jose Maria Lopez and Sam Bird, are set to be on duty for Toyota and Ferrari respectively in the WEC in Germany.

Rusinov, who puts together Russian oil company G-Drive's motorsport programmes, told Motorsport.com: "We definitely like Laurens because he is a fast driver and he is one of the candidates for the Nurburgring.

"We are in discussions, and, for sure, we are not putting him in the car here for fun."

Vanthoor, whose primary programme with Porsche this year is in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, would only confirm that he had been talking to G-Drive for some time and that it was "a complicated story".

Australian John Martin, who raced with G-Drive in the WEC in 2013, will also act as a Le Mans reserve and is scheduled to test the #26 car on Sunday.

Vanthoor will also fulfil an official reserve role at Le Mans with regular employer Porsche and will drive both its factory GTE Pro class 911 RSRs in the test.

"I should do five laps in each," he said. "We've been doing a quite a bit of testing in the US and I'm doing every test because I'm new to all the tracks this year.

"There has been some interesting stuff done and they want me to help validate the changes."

Other testers

Marc Lieb, winner of the WEC title and Le Mans last year, will get experience of the latest version of Porsche's 919 Hybrid on the Circuit de la Sarthe.

The German, who was dropped from the German manufacturer's prototype squad at the end of last year, will act as a Le Mans reserve and took part in Porsche's final pre-race endurance test at Aragon last month.

Elsewhere, BMW factory driver Nicky Catsburg will drive the TDS Racing Oreca, having been placed on standby in case Matthieu Vaxiviere encounters any after effects from the foot injury that kept him out of last month's Spa WEC round.

Dutchman Catsburg tested for TDS at Spa late last month and also at Paul Ricard in 2014.

Former Signatech Alpine driver Paul-Loup Chatin will drive the IDEC Sport squad's Ligier-Gibson JS P217 in the test.

Yelloly out at Proton Porsche

Formula Renault 3.5 and GP3 race winner Nick Yelloly will not make his Le Mans debut with the Proton Porsche.

The team said he has withdrawn to focus on his German Porsche Carrera Cup campaign.

Proton has brought in Austrian Klaus Bachler to take his place in the #88 GTE Am class Porsche 911 RSR.

UAE driver Khaled Al Qubaisi has taken the vacant spot alongside Bachler and team boss Christian Ried to recreate the line-up that raced at Le Mans in 2014-15.

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