Realteam steps up to WEC, signs Duval and Nato

European Le Mans Series outfit Realteam Racing will step up to the LMP2 class of the FIA World Endurance Championship in 2021 and has signed ex-LMP1 stars Loic Duval and Norman Nato.

Realteam steps up to WEC, signs Duval and Nato

After two seasons in the LMP3 ranks of the ELMS, where it achieved one victory and a podium finish, Realteam will field an Oreca 07 run by TDS Racing in the WEC’s burgeoning LMP2 class.

Duval and Nato will be joined by team owner and bronze-rated driver Esteban Garcia, who was part of Realteam’s ELMS crew alongside David Droux for the past two years. Swiss racer Droux will continue with the team on its graduation to WEC, taking the role of reserve driver. 

Realteam qualifies under the WEC’s new Pro-Am LMP2 rules, essentially a sub-class for teams which voluntarily elect to race with a bronze driver.

"We are very pleased to take this further step by entering a LMP2 in the World Endurance Championship and to be eligible for the FIA ​​LMP2 Pro / Am Endurance Trophy,” Garcia said in a statement. 

“After two full seasons in ELMS with David (Droux), a victory and a podium in the championship, it was time for us to reach our goal of competing in the WEC as well as the 24 Hours of Le Mans. TDS Racing will continue to bring us its full experience in this program. I'm very excited to share the wheel with two drivers as experienced as Loic and Norman! "

The announcement marks a full-time return to the WEC for Duval, who last raced for TDS Racing during the 2018/19 superseason, bagging a podium finish in his class at Le Mans.

He was previously a part of Audi’s LMP1 line-up since the inception of the WEC in 2012 and right up to the manufacturer’s exit five seasons later, with a Le Mans 24 Hours/title double in ‘13 being the highlight of his stint.

The French driver will dovetail his new Realteam Racing commitments with a drive in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, where he will compete for JDC-Miller Motorsport in the top DPi class.

"I'm delighted to be back in the FIA ​​WEC, with the 24 Hours of Le Mans as the highlight, after a year's absence,” Duval said.

“I'm happy to do it again with TDS Racing, with whom I have been racing for two years , and with Esteban for this Pro-Am project. 

“For me, this represents the essence of the 24 Hours of Le Mans as there have always been gentlemen associated with professionals.”

Nato was a part of the Rebellion LMP1 crew that won two races last season before the Swiss outfit ended its long-running WEC programme.

Like Duval, Nato will also undertake a second programme in 2021, making his Formula E debut with Mercedes customer squad Venturi alongside Edoardo Mortara.

shares
comments

Related video

Toyota "behind target" after snowed-off hypercar test

Previous article

Toyota "behind target" after snowed-off hypercar test

Next article

Serra replaces Rigon on Ferrari GTE Pro WEC roster

Serra replaces Rigon on Ferrari GTE Pro WEC roster
Load comments

About this article

Series WEC
Author Rachit Thukral
How 'Brilliant' Bob Wollek lived up to his nickname Prime

How 'Brilliant' Bob Wollek lived up to his nickname

Sportscar racing lost one of it's greatest talents 20 years ago today when Bob Wollek was knocked from his bicycle prior to the Sebring 12 Hours. The enigmatic Frenchman never won the Le Mans 24 Hours, but many still remember today why 'Brilliant Bob' became a legend

WEC
Mar 16, 2021
How Ferrari's Hypercar project could bolster Leclerc's legacy Prime

How Ferrari's Hypercar project could bolster Leclerc's legacy

Ferrari's planned return to the top category at the Le Mans 24 Hours has further heightened anticipation for the 2023 race. Few concrete details are currently known, but already it has a high-profile superstar angling for involvement, which would make a refreshing change

WEC
Mar 5, 2021
Why Ferrari is ending its 50-year top-flight sportscar racing exile Prime

Why Ferrari is ending its 50-year top-flight sportscar racing exile

Making a return to top-flight sportscar racing after 50 years away, Ferrari will enter the Le Mans Hypercar ranks in 2023. The Italian marque denies the link with Formula 1's new cost cap that frees up resources, but it's certainly no coincidence...

WEC
Feb 25, 2021
The GTE dilemma that IMSA has created for the WEC Prime

The GTE dilemma that IMSA has created for the WEC

The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s decision to scrap its GT Le Mans class for 2022 raises the question of whether the FIA World Endurance Championship should phase out GTE cars. But it's a much harder decision than it appears on the surface.

WEC
Feb 3, 2021
The ground-up refresh behind Toyota's new Le Mans challenger Prime

The ground-up refresh behind Toyota's new Le Mans challenger

Toyota's new GR010 contender for the World Endurance Championship's Hypercar era has little in common with the LMP1 TS050 that preceded it. But within the confines of the scaled back new rules, its latest challenger will be no less formidable a prospect

WEC
Jan 22, 2021
The tiny increments that decided the final LMP1-era WEC Prime

The tiny increments that decided the final LMP1-era WEC

The system of success handicaps devised by the FIA World Endurance Championship to level the LMP1 playing field in the category's swansong season ended up having a counterproductive effect, as COVID cancellations also played in the champions' favour.

WEC
Dec 5, 2020
Why Audi’s shock return promises a new age for sportscars Prime

Why Audi’s shock return promises a new age for sportscars

OPINION: The news that Audi will return to Le Mans means we'll at last get to see the fight promised in 2012 against Peugeot and Toyota. It also gives LMDh a tangible form, which could open the floodgates for more like-minded marques to follow suit…

WEC
Dec 1, 2020
The eternal debate revived after the 2019/20 WEC season Prime

The eternal debate revived after the 2019/20 WEC season

It may have been missed amid the clamour over Lewis Hamilton's seventh F1 title, but Britain had another world champion crowned last weekend. Mike Conway's WEC crown raises an old conundrum - does title glory make up for the pain of Le Mans defeat?

WEC
Nov 19, 2020