Ex-F2 racer Arjun Maini has switched to sportscar racing for the 2019 season with a full-time seat in the European Le Mans Series which includes Le Mans 24 Hours race.
Having raced in the single-seater competitions thus far in his career, Maini makes a move to sportscar and endurance racing, joining RLR MSport team to compete full-time in the ELMS series which also includes a Le Mans 24 Hours drive in 2019.
The Indian will drive the Oreca 07 in the LMP2 class – the lead category in the series – alongside ex-F1 driver Bruno Senna and gentleman racer John Farano. Senna, though, won’t drive with them in Le Mans with the team to confirm its third driver soon.
“I’m extremely excited to make my endurance racing debut this year in the European Le Mans Series,” said Maini. “The highlight of the year will surely be the race at Le Mans and I’m hoping I can do my country proud as it is one of the most prestigious events in motor racing.
“It is imperative for anyone to succeed to be backed by a strong team and I think the team at RLR MSport will provide the perfect environment for me to perform at my very best, especially considering I will be racing in a category I have no prior experience in.
“Given that they are the reigning ELMS LMP3 Champions, the expectations for the 2019 season will be quite high and I’m looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead.” The Indian was contemplating a move elsewhere after a luckless rookie F2 campaign.
He also tested in the winter in Japan’s Super Formula series after being certain of no F2 return in 2019. It remains to be seen if he continues on with Haas F1 Team as their development driver, considering his move to sportscar.
Meanwhile, RLR MSport’s Nick Reynolds added: “RLR MSport’s return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the European Le Mans Series’ headlining LMP2 class is an important milestone for the team and we feel it’s absolutely imperative to maximise our chances of achieving great results by recruiting the best drivers.
“Arjun Maini has shown a great deal of innate speed during his illustrious single-seater career and his talent is unquestionable. I’m certain his transition to prototypes will be a successful one and that he will give a positive contribution to RLR MSport’s 2019 programme at Le Mans and throughout the European Le Mans season.”
While Maini is set to make his debut in endurance racing, the British outfit is making their return to the LMP2 class with a Oreca 07 Gibson, after a successful and title-winning (2018) LMP3 campaign with a Ligier JS P3.