Three-time Indy 500 winner and full-time Acura Team Penske IMSA DPi driver Helio Castroneves is close to finalizing a deal to make his debut at June’s 24 hours of Le Mans.
RACER has learned the Brazilian, who will spend the month of May pursuing his fourth Indy 500 victory with Team Penske, is expected to be confirmed as a member of the RLR Motorsport LMP2 program. Winners of the 2018 ELMS LMP3 championship, RLR recently announced the signing of Bruno Senna, along with others drivers, as part of its 2019 plans using the dominant ORECA 07 chassis.
The inclusion of Castroneves for Le Mans would fill the void left by Senna, who is meant to drive for the Rebellion LMP1 team during the June 13-16 event.
Provided both sides come to terms, Castroneves would become the latest high-profile open-wheel driver to add the 24 Hours of Le Mans to his résumé.
After coming close to joining the now defunct Porsche LMP1 Hybrid program for Le Mans, Acura Team Penske teammate and two-time Indy 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya took part in his first Le Mans last year as part of the United Autosports LMP2 effort. Joining Montoya on the first-timers list, double Formula 1 world champion Fernando Alonso made his debut with the Toyota LMP1 Hybrid team, and would go on to win the race.
If Castroneves is able to race at Le Mans, he would become the fifth member of Penske’s Acura program to contest the world’s most famous endurance event. After Montoya, Penske’s Ricky Taylor, Simon Pagenaud and Alexander Rossi have all taken part in at least one 24-hour race at La Sarthe, leaving two-time IMSA Prototype champion Dane Cameron as the final Acura driver to compete in the French classic.