2019 Indianapolis 500 winner and 2016 IndyCar champion Simon Pagenaud will join COOL Racing for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the team has announced.
The Frenchman previously raced at Le Mans in the late 2000s and 2010s, scoring an overall podium with second place for Peugeot in 2011, alongside former IndyCar driver and countryman Sebastien Bourdais, and former F1 driver Pedro Lamy. In a close finish, the three were 13.854 seconds adrift from the winning Audi R18 of Andre Lotterer, Marcel Fassler and Benoit Treluyer.
Pagenaud will team up with Reshad De Gérus and Vladislav Lomko in the #47 COOL Racing Oreca 07-Gibson, with the team’s sister car, #37, crewed by regular European Le Mans Series trio Alexandre Coigny, Nicolas Lapierre, and Malthe Jakobsen in the LMP2 pro/am subclass.
While primarily an Indycar driver these days, Pagenaud has recent experience in prototypes as well. For the last two years running he has won the Daytona 24 Hours with Meyer-Shank Racing, alongside Tom Blomqvist, Oli Jarvis, and Helio Castroneves in 2022, with almost the same crew winning in just over a month ago, the only change being Colin Braun replacing Oli Jarvis.
Pagenaud will be in good company at Le Mans, with fellow former or current Indycar drivers, including Bourdais and Scott Dixon competing in the race. They won’t be directly competing against each other, however, with both drivers racing for Cadillac in Hypercar — the American brand’s first return to the race in over 20 years.
His return to the French endurance classic, Pagenaud commented, “I’m back to Le Mans! I’m so delighted that the stars have finally aligned for this to happen.
“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!
He concluded: “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!”