Menezes announces Peugeot WEC exit after Bahrain finale

The Californian 28-year-old announced on his Instagram page that he will depart the French manufacturer’s 9X8 Le Mans Hypercar programme after November’s Bahrain finale.

“After a three year journey together, filled with ups and downs, Bahrain will officially be my final race with Peugeot in the FIA WEC,” he wrote.

“It’s been an absolute pleasure building this project together and making memories that will last a lifetime.

“As one door closes, new doors open. It’s too soon to share with you all my plans for 2024, but it will be fast. Best of luck to the team.”

Menezes has been a fixture in the #94 Peugeot line-up since the marque’s long awaited prototype return at Monza in 2022.

He raced initially alongside Loic Duval and James Rossiter, before Nico Muller was brought on board to replace the retiring Rossiter for that year’s Bahrain finale and the 2023 season.

#94 Peugeot Totalenergies Peugeot 9X8: Loic Duval, Gustavo Menezes, Stoffel Vandoome

#94 Peugeot Totalenergies Peugeot 9X8: Loic Duval, Gustavo Menezes, Stoffel Vandoome

Photo by: Andy Chan

The #94 crew’s high point this season so far is a fifth place in the second round of the season at Portimao, although the car did enjoy a spell in the lead in mixed conditions in the Le Mans 24 Hours.

Menezes joined the Peugeot programme after spending three years as part of the Rebellion LMP1 effort, which yielded three WEC victories and a best Le Mans finish of second in 2020.

Previously he spent two years in LMP2, winning his class at Le Mans and taking the 2016 WEC title for the Signatech Alpine squad, which is moving back into the Hypercar class next season with an ORECA-based A424 LMDh chassis.

Peugeot could move to replace Menezes with reserve driver Stoffel Vandoorne, who made his race debut in the 9X8 last weekend at Fuji after a collarbone injury sidelined Muller.

Vandoorne, Duval and Menezes finished a lap off the lead in seventh at Fuji as the 9X8 struggled for performance.

Discussing the prospect of adding a Peugeot WEC drive to his current Formula E duties with the DS Penske squad, which belongs to the same Stellantis group as Peugeot, Vandoorne was enthusiastic about the idea.


But he admitted that a clash between the Berlin E-Prix and Spa WEC round in May could cause complications.

“I’m a racing driver and I want to drive as many programs as possible,” said Vandoorne. “The more you can drive, the better it is.

“People sometimes say it’s not good to combine programmes because it’s different cars. I think about it the opposite way. I think it’s actually good to combine different cars because you learn different skill sets for each car that you drive.

“There is the whole schedule thing that is a big question mark. It’s not only an issue for me, it’s a problem for a lot of the guys in this paddock who do Formula E and WEC as well.

“Hopefully there will be talks between both championships and a solution will be found to try and separate them.”

Source link