The 31-year-old will take his usual place in Peugeot’s #94 9X8 line-up alongside Gustavo Menezes and Loic Duval in the 8-hour fixture at the Bahrain International Circuit on Saturday, having missed September’s Fuji event after injuring his left collarbone.
The exact nature and cause of Muller’s injury was never revealed, with the Swiss driver only stating that he had been advised by the doctors to skip the Japan round of the championship to complete his recovery.
Muller has now been given the all-clear to take part in the Bahrain 8 Hours. This would be his first competitive outing in any category since he sustained the injury in August, although he did take part in the Valencia Formula E test for Abt Cupra earlier this month.
Bahrain was the scene of Muller’s maiden outing with Peugeot in 2022, with the then-Audi factory driver having been called in to replace the retired James Rossiter ahead of his full campaign with the team.
“I’m very excited to get back behind the wheel of the 9X8, to get back to work with the whole team and go out there and give our best for this last race of the season,” said Muller.
“Hopefully we will finish with a good one and I’m confident we can do a good job. Obviously, it was not an easy season for us, but we have shown some potential, some highlights here and there and I hope that the last race of the season can be one as well.
“I go to Bahrain with good memories from my first official event with Peugeot last year. We can also build on that experience so I’m just going to go out there, give all I have and hopefully something positive will come out of it.”
Photo by: Paolo Belletti
#94 Peugeot Totalenergies Peugeot 9X8: Loic Duval, Gustavo Menezes, Nico Muller
Stoffel Vandoorne, who replaced Muller in the Japan round of the championship and will move to a full-time race seat in 2024 in place of Menezes, will take to the track on Sunday for the post-season rookie test.
He is one of the three drivers testing for Peugeot in Bahrain, with reserve Malthe Jakobsen and Mikkel Jensen, who is part of the #93 race crew, also in action.
Peugeot goes to Bahrain following a difficult race in Fuji where its two cars finished down in seventh and eighth, undoing the progress the French manufacturer had made at the previous two rounds at Le Mans and Fuji.
However, Peugeot Sport Technical director Olivier Jansonnie hopes his squad can end the season with a strong result.
“The Bahrain track is famous for being hard on the braking and tyres, especially regarding the degradation with high track temperatures.
“Thanks to last year’s race and the Rookie Test, we already have some experience as well as precious data that could be very useful in tyre management.
“This will be one of the challenges during the 8-hour race leading to different strategies for the teams, knowing that tyre allocation is a little bit better than for a 6-hour race.
“The circuit is also very interesting with technical sections and smooth sequences. There are varying stakes in temperature management, an 8-hour race that brings more difficulties in terms of endurance and tyre management will be very important for us and our drivers.
“The goal for this last round is to keep both cars at a level of reliability that allow them to have a consistent race and to stay close to the leaders to be able to take advantage of the race opportunities that can lead to a good result.”