Inter Europol Competition has announced the driver line-up for its debut season in the FIA World Endurance Championship, signing Alex Brundle and Renger van der Zande to partner Kuba Smiechowski.
The Polish team is stepping up from the European Le Mans Series to the WEC for the first time, entering a single ORECA 07-Gibson. Team regular Smiechowski will team up with Brundle and Van der Zande, two drivers with considerable sportscar experience.
At the opening round in Sebring, Van der Zande will be replaced by 2020 IMSA DPi champion Helio Castroneves. Castroneves steps in for the Dutchman as he is racing with Chip Ganassi Racing in IMSA’s Twelve Hours of Sebring.
Brundle, son of ex-F1 driver Martin Brundle, has been almost exclusively involved in racing LMP2 machinery since the WEC’s conception in 2012. Driving for OAK Racing, G-Drive Racing and later Jackie Chan DC Racing, he took three class wins in 2016 and notably finished third overall in the 2017 24 Hours of Le Mans. In 2020, he raced for United Autosports, winning the opening rounds of the ELMS season and fighting for the class win at Le Mans until an oil leak ended his victory chances.
“I’m delighted to take on the challenge of the World Endurance Championship with Inter Europol Competition,” said Brundle. “It’s great to be back racing on the world stage and at some circuits I really enjoy.
“I’m certainly joining an impressive driver roster and I can’t wait to start pushing the car with Kuba, Renger and Helio.”
“The team have scored great results in LMP3 and I’m looking forward to working alongside the engineering and the mechanical crew to be part of the next stage of the team’s racing success and development.”
Van der Zande, meanwhile, returns to the WEC for the first time since the 2018/19 Super Season, which he contested with DragonSpeed. The Dutchman won the Rolex 24 at Daytona twice in a row with Wayne Taylor Racing.
“It’s a privilege to be adding this FIA WEC programme with Inter Europol Competition to my Chip Ganassi Racing with Cadillac programme in IMSA next
season,” said Van der Zande. “That’s my base programme for 2021 and of course, I am happy to be going back to Le Mans as well, such an iconic circuit and race.
“Unfortunately, I have a clash for the first round of the series at Sebring, so I cannot race there in WEC, but I will be watching and hope that
Inter Europol Competition has a great run, while I focus on the Ganassi IMSA 12-Hour race. As a result, my FIA WEC season really starts at the next round at Spa-Francorchamps.”
Van der Zande will be replaced at Sebring by Helio Castroneves. The Brazilian only raced ORECA’s 07 prototype once before, at Petit Le Mans in 2017, but has extensive experience with the French chassis builder as part of his continued involvement with the Acura DPi programme, which is based on an ORECA chassis.
“I’m super excited to be able to race at the WEC with Inter Europol Competition for the Sebring race, we’ve been talking last year and now we were able to do something really special and hoping this could lead for more opportunities with the team,” Castroneves said.
“After three years racing with DPI it certainly prepared me for this challenge and I just can’t wait for 2021 to start.”