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Chandhok open to post-Le Mans WEC outings

Karun Chandhok has expressed his desire to compete in more FIA World Endurance Championship races after next month’s Le Mans 24 Hours, but is uncertain about his future for now.

Chandhok open to post-Le Mans WEC outings
#34 Tockwith Motorsports Ligier JSP 217: Nigel Moore, Philip Hanson, Karun Chandhok
Karun Chandhok
#34 Tockwith Motorsports Ligier JSP 217: Nigel Moore, Philip Hanson, Karun Chandhok
#34 Tockwith Motorsports Ligier JSP 217: Nigel Moore, Philip Hanson, Karun Chandhok
#34 Tockwith Motorsports Ligier JSP 217: Nigel Moore, Philip Hanson, Karun Chandhok
#48 Murphy Prototypes ORECA 03R: Nathanael Berthon, Mark Patterson, Karun Chandhok
Murphy Prototypes: Karun Chandhok
#34 Tockwith Motorsports Ligier JSP 217: Nigel Moore, Philip Hanson, Karun Chandhok
#34 Tockwith Motorsports Ligier JSP 217: Nigel Moore, Philip Hanson, Karun Chandhok
#34 Tockwith Motorsports Ligier JSP 217: Nigel Moore, Philip Hanson, Karun Chandhok

Chandhok returned to the top flight of sportscar racing at last weekend's WEC 6 Hours of Spa, driving Tockwith Motorsport’s Ligier JS P217 alongside Nigel Moore and Philip Hanson.

He currently has a two-race contract with the British squad that also encompasses Le Mans, but is open to begin negotiations with team owner Simon Moore for future outings.

The 33-year-old, who remains the only Indian to actively race in the French endurance classic, also stated that racing remains his first priority, despite devoting time to Formula 1 commentary in recent years.

“That’s a question for [Nigel Moore],” Chandhok told Motorsport.com when asked about making further WEC appearances.

“Driving will always come ahead of TV, if there’s any opportunity. That’s why I dropped the Canadian GP [from my Channel 4 F1 duties].

“At the moment we’ve spoken about these two [Spa and Le Mans], some of it obviously depends upon what Hanson and his dad want to do and how we want to progress.

“So we will sit down after Le Mans and see. We might do some other WEC towards at the end of the season, but [Hanson and Moore] will carry on with ELMS. It depends upon how the season develops."

Chandhok, however, ruled out returning to ELMS, where he last made a one-off appearance with Murphy Prototypes in 2016.

Top-five Le Mans goal

Tockwith’s WEC debut was marred by a string of issues, with Moore having to drive through the pits again after he incorrectly served a penalty for a ride-height sensor infringement.

The British squad's problems were compounded by an early puncture, before a gearbox issue forced it to retire the car 10 minutes before the finish.

But Chandhok believes Tockwith has yet to exploit the full potential of its Ligier and feels a top-five finish is possible, given the unpredictable nature of the fabled 24 hour event.

“You have to aim to be in the top five,” he said. “There’s no point going to any race and believing you have no chance of a top five. That’s just depressing.

"We might be a new team, we've got a teenage rookie [Hanson] which is still staggering to believe that’s he going to Le Mans. But Nigel did it at when he was 17 [in 2009], so he’s proved it’s possible.

“But having said all of that we should believe that we have a chance of getting in the top five. And anything can happen at Le Mans."

He added: “I don’t think we’ve got really on top of the package either. I think the laptime we’ve got is not a full reflection of what the Ligier is capable of.

“We need to understand the set-up. I have no prior experience of the car, but it sounds like the set-up is not quite where we want it to be.”

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About this article

Series WEC
Drivers Karun Chandhok
Teams Tockwith Motorsports
Author Rachit Thukral
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