Gutierrez returns to racing with WEC drive
Former Sauber and Haas F1 racer Esteban Gutierrez is returning to competitive action for the first time since 2017 in the World Endurance Championship.
Gutierrez last competed five years ago in the IndyCar and Formula E series, although only three races of the latter with a best finish of eighth in Monaco.
In 2013 and 2014 he had raced in F1 for Sauber, scoring his only points in the first of those campaigns by finishing seventh in the Japanese Grand Prix, while he was part of Haas’ line-up for their debut season of 2016.
Since then, the Mexican has worked as reserve and development driver for Mercedes in both F1 and FE, but is now heading into the world of sportscars.
The 30-year-old has signed up for the Inter Europol team, with whom he will team up with Alex Brundle and Kuba Smiechowski in the LMP2 category as the replacement for Renger van de Zande.
¡De regreso a la pista!
WEC 2022 Inter Europol Competition, Let’s GO! pic.twitter.com/FwVzlAADcR
— Esteban Gutierrez (@EstebanGtz) January 11, 2022
“It’s an honour for me to return to racing in this competitive and prestigious series,” said Gutierrez in the team’s official announcement.
“Endurance racing is a new challenge for me. I will focus on learning as much as possible and as soon as possible.
“A thank you to the team for the opportunity to have me race together with Kuba Smiechowski and Alex Brundle. With the team’s progress and our combined ambition, I am confident we will make an excellent team.”
Team manager Sascha Fassbender added: “With Esteban in the team, we have a strong line-up to achieve our ambitions.
“I look forward to working together to accomplish great things this season.”
Brundle, son of Sky Sports F1 broadcaster Martin and who signed a new two-year deal with Inter Europol at the end of last year, said the recruitment of Gutierrez was a “testament to the strength of the team”.
Gutierrez did not have an official role with Mercedes for 2021 after his super-licence expired but served as a brand ambassador.
In 2021, Inter Europol, based in the Polish capital of Warsaw, finished fifth in the LMP2 teams’ category of the World Endurance Championship with a best result of third at the Le Mans 24-Hour race in which they were classified 10th overall.
The 2022 World Endurance Championship comprises six rounds and gets under way with the 1,000 Miles of Sebring in Florida on March 18, followed by further races at Spa, Le Mans, Monza, Fuji and Bahrain.
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January 11, 2022 at 10:04PM