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Webb confirms World Endurance Championship entry with Team SARD-Morand for 2015

After becoming European Le Mans (ELMS) champion in 2014, British racing driver Oliver Webb has confirmed he will contest the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) with Team SARD-Morand. The newly established team is supported by Japanese manufacturer Toyota, and will campaign an LMP2 entry in one of motorsport’s most exciting series.

BRDC member Webb will join Team SARD-Morand as they embark on the exciting ‘Race to 24’ programme. That will see a group of promising young endurance drivers compete against each other to secure the coveted drive for the jewel in the WEC calendar – the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Webb will race as the team’s gold driver for the full season and support the Race to 24 winning driver.

After two successful seasons in the ELMS, Swiss Benoit Morand joins the LMP2 class of the FIA WEC while Japanese team SARD RACING TEAM is coming back in an international championship.

Over the past two seasons in the highly competitive LMP2 class, Benoit Morand and his Judd-powered Morgan claimed one overall victory, finished in the top 3 in the final standings of the 2014 ELMS and twice received the chequered flag in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Founded in 1972, Sigma Automotive Co Ltd started its racing activities as SARD (the acronym for Sigma Advanced Research and Development) in the mid-eighties, establishing a long-term relationship with Toyota, notably in endurance racing. SARD and Toyota scored their best result in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1994, with the runner-up spot for the 94 CV prototype driven by Jeff Krosnoff, Eddie Irvine and Mauro Martini.

These two approaches of motor racing, blending Benoit Morand’s reputation of originality and performance and SARD’s Japanese tradition and racing experience, are joining together today to create Team SARD-Morand. The team is initiating an exciting challenge, which starts in 2015 with a significant presence in the LMP2 grid of the FIA WEC with two Morgan EVO SARDs.

Webb enjoyed a strong 2014 in the ELMS, claiming the title with Signatech-Alpine in his debut season with the French outfit, and also securing a podium finish at the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans in his first attempt. In addition to this, Webb contested the Monaco round of the World Series by Renault championship and took a podium finish at the 2014 Dubai 24h before making a winning start to the 2015 season at the same race earlier this month winning the Dubai 24h by four laps.

Webb explains: “2014 was a big season for me and my career, and it will be a tough one to beat, but I am looking forward to this new challenge in the World Endurance Championship with SARD-Morand. The programme they are running this season will see me alongside some of the most promising drivers in the lead up to the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

“The World Endurance Championship is one of the most competitive series in the world, and has a fantastic calendar, visiting some of the most exciting and iconic circuits in international motorsport. The competition on the grid is at the highest level, but I am feeling confident we have a strong package, and I am as determined as ever to ensure 2015 is at least as successful as last year.”

Shin Kato (SARD RACING TEAM founder): “Our best finish in the 24 Hours of Le Mans is second so you can easily guess our next target. As far as I know, the LMP2 class will be very competitive in 2015, notably because of a growing number of entries.”

Benoit Morand: “Team SARD-Morand is born to win races, it’s in our genes! The Morgan chassis received a new 2015 homologation. After discussions with our partner Onroak Automotive, it rapidly was obvious that thanks to the changes which can be made, the chassis will keep a very good level of competitiveness. We know the Morgan very well and it is the best option for Team SARD-Morand in 2015.”

Webb’s first outing with the team will be a test in February, before the first round of the season at Silverstone, England, over the weekend of 11-12 April 2015.

For information on Oliver Webb, visit www.oliwebbracing.com or follow him on twitter, www.twitter.com/oliverjameswebb