Former Jaguar Formula 1 test driver Bjorn Wirdheim will make his prototype debut in this weekend’s Interlagos round of the World Endurance Championship with the Greaves LMP2 squad.
The 33-year-old, who has raced in Japan since 2006, will drive the Greaves Motorsport Zytek-Nissan Z11SN alongside Gunnar Jeannette and Christian Zugel in Brazil.
Greaves and Wirdheim have been in talks since last winter, but the late deal for the Swede to join the team is understood to have been facilitated by links between the British squad and his employer in Japan, the Gainer Mercedes Super GT team.
It appears likely that Greaves and Gainer will link up for the Fuji round of the WEC in October.
“This is the opportunity I’ve been working toward for a while,” he said. “I’m really happy to get the chance to race with a European team after so many years in Japan.
“There’s obviously no chance to test the car before practice, but I’m not too worried. A GT500 is a little bit quicker around Fuji than a LMP2, so I suspect it has more downforce. I believe I will be able to adjust quite quickly. I have raced at Interlagos before [in Formula 3000 in 2002] and drove the Jaguar there in 2004.”
Wirdheim, who finished fourth in Super GT in 2010, revealed that his ambition for next season was to dovetail his career in Japan with a program in the WEC. The 2003 F3000 champion had originally decided to turn his back on Super GT at the end of last year, before accepting a drive with Gainer in the GT300 class.
“The opportunity with Greaves is only for one race, but I am hoping I can promote myself and that it will lead to other opportunities with European teams,” he said. “I’d like to do what guys like Andre Lotterer and Loic Duval have done. They are competing with a factory [Audi] in the WEC, but still racing in Japan.”