Josh Pierson, Nicolas Varrone and Antoine Doquin have been nominated by FIA WEC organizers for drives in the 2023 for end-of-season Rookie Test at the Bahrain International Circuit on Sunday, November 5th.
All three ‘Rookie’ drivers selected to take part will complete a minimum of 30 laps aboard the title-winning car in their designated category.
American teenager Josh Pierson (above), who has been competing with United Autosports in LMP2 the past two seasons, has been handed the opportunity to test the title-winning Toyota GR010 HYBRID.
The 17-year-old was the youngest Le Mans 24 Hours starter last year at age 16 and has two WEC LMP2 race wins to his name.
“I’m really excited to get my first experience in a Hypercar, especially with a team like Toyota that is experienced and passionate about the sport,” he said.
“I’m extremely honoured and grateful to have been selected for this and I’m really looking forward to getting behind the wheel. I’d also like to thank United Autosports, my co-drivers, and my driver coach, Stephen Simpson, as I owe a lot of my progression as a driver to them. I can’t wait to get started!”
The LMP2 nominee is 2023 GTE Am title winner Nico Varrone, who will drive the winning ORECA 07 Gibson. As the title hasn’t been decided, the Argentinian will not know if he will test with WRT, Inter Europol or United Autosports until the conclusion of the eight-hour season finale.
Varrone will test after a hugely impressive debut season in the WEC, playing a key role in Corvette Racing’s Le Mans class win and title with the C8.R alongside Ben Keating and Nicky Catsburg.
“I’m very honored to be selected by the WEC to participate in the Rookie Test at Bahrain,” he said. “This has been a great year with Corvette Racing. I couldn’t imagine a better year in this championship.
“We managed to clinch the title early and win the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which was our biggest goal going into this season. So, it is fantastic to have the chance to drive the WEC championship-winning car in LMP2. This is something that is very great for me.
“Obviously I am driving GTs but my goal is Hypercar, so this is another step forward toward that for my career. It will be cool to drive the LMP2, and I’m sure I will enjoy it. Thank you to the WEC and everyone for this opportunity.”
Finally, 19-year-old Frenchman Antoine Doquin will drive the GTE Am-winning Corvette Racing C8.R. Doquin currently competes in the European Le Mans Series with Racing Spirit of Leman in LMP3 and won the Asian Le Mans Series LMP3 title in 2022 with CD Sport.
Notably, his drive will take place the day after the final competitive race for GTE machinery, which will no longer feature in the FIA WEC and ELMS from 2024 onwards.
“I am eager to get my first laps behind the wheel of a car from the FIA WEC,” he said. “I would like to express my gratitude to WEC and Corvette Racing for giving me this opportunity.
“It’s a source of pride for me to know that I will be driving a car that has won the championship in its category. After competing and winning in the Michelin Le Mans Cup and then in the European Le Mans Series championships, this is the logical next step in my endurance journey.
“I can’t wait to get there, to discover the car, the team, the track, and this unique environment.”
Frederic Lequien, the FIA WEC’s CEO added: “The FIA WEC has no shortage of talented drivers and the fact that Josh, Nicolas and Antoine have been picked is a testament to the high level of drivers we have in both WEC and the ELMS.
“We are always looking to nurture young talent in endurance racing and we have seen in the past how beneficial our rookie tests can be for drivers’ future careers. We look forward to seeing how all three of these individuals perform behind the wheel in Bahrain.”
The full entry list for the official Rookie Test on Sunday 5 November will be released in due course.