Stoffel Vandoorne will replace Nico Mueller in the #93 Peugeot 9X8 at the 6 Hours of Fuji, due to the Swiss driver injuring his collarbone during the summer break.
The 31-year-old Belgian is the reserve driver for Peugeot Sport team in the World Endurance Championship, while Mueller is one of the regular race drivers for the team after he replaced the outgoing James Rossiter last year. Rossiter stayed within the Stellantis family, however, becoming team principal for Maserati Formula E team.
Peugeot scored their first podium in WEC competition at the 6 Hours of Monza, which took place in July, so will be hoping for more strong results to close out a tough season for the French squad.
“Unfortunately, Nico won’t be able to race for this round and we wish him a speedy recovery,” said Olivier Jansonnie, Peugeot Sport technical director.
“Stoffel Vandoorne has all our trust, and we know that he will be able to step in quickly and give his maximum. We are entering the last part of the season and our aim will be to be 100% reliable for the last two races and fight at the front with both our PEUGEOT 9X8.
“We will get ready as best as we can for these two races, trying to be consistent in our performance and race results.
This will mark Vandoorne’s debut in the Hypercar class, although he previously competed in Hypercar’s predecessor class, LMP1, for SMP Racing, taking a podium for the team at Le Mans in 2019.
The Belgian last raced in the WEC for JOTA Sport in LMP2, for the full season in 2021, finishing second in the standings after taking podiums at every round except Monza.
Jansonnie, meanwhile, continued to discuss Peugeot’s ongoing momentum and hopes for a strong finish in Japan.
“The goal for this race is to keep showing that we are able to fight for the first places and for podiums on a regular basis and with both our cars,” he said.
“Thus, we will have to have the same level of performance than in Monza for the last two races in Fuji and Bahrain. The Fuji Speedway is a track with tricky weather conditions, and we showed in the past that in this case we are doing quite well.
“It’s also a track that suited us in the past, last year we managed to move forward in terms of performance and reliability.”