Pagenaud will share an ORECA 07-Gibson entered by Cool Racing with Reshad De Gerus and Vladislav Lomko in the centenary edition of the French enduro, joining the 24-car LMP2 field.
He effectively takes the place of Toyota driver Jose Maria Lopez in the Swiss squad’s regular European Le Mans Series line-up.
It will mark the Pagenaud’s first race appearance at Circuit de la Sarthe since 2011, when he finished second overall in a Peugeot 908 LMP1 car behind the race-winning Audi R18 TDI.
Although Pagenaud’s last race at Le Mans was so far back that the present-day World Endurance Championship was yet to be formed, he has been a regular in prototypes in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, helping Meyer Shank to back-to-back victories at the Rolex 24 at Daytona this year.
“I’m back to Le Mans! I’m so delighted that the stars have finally aligned for this to happen,” said the 38-year-old.
“This 2023 season is going to be amazing. The 24 Hours of Daytona, Indianapolis 500, and Le Mans are the number one motorsport events and I’m going to take part in all three of them the same year. I love that!
“I’m looking forward to this great experience. COOL Racing / CLX Motorsport is a young team yet they manage to race at the front in a very competitive class, that’s exciting!”
#37 Cool Racing Oreca 07 – Gibson: Alexandre Coigny, Malthe Jakobsen, Nicolas Lapierre
Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images
Cool Racing will enter two cars at Le Mans this year, with the second entry to be crewed by its regular Pro-Am ELMS line-up of Alexandre Coigny, Nicolas Lapierre and Malthe Jakobsen.
It means Lapierre will be back at Le Mans for a 15th consecutive season, despite stepping down from his Alpine duties to focus on the development of the French manufacturer’s LMDh contender for 2024.
“For this edition, the team’s clearly moving up a gear, lining up two LMP2 ORECA 07s,” said Team Manager Anthony Megevand.
“It’s both an honour and a great responsibility: we’ll have to be on it and up to Le Mans standard, in the most competitive and jam-packed class! But we’ve devised our programme and composed our crews with this in mind.
“Simon will be of great support to our team on many levels. He’s technical, experienced, and fast. We know him and we want to write a beautiful story together. With Reshad and Vladislav, the #47 car will be a strong contender.”