Penske talks of Le Mans return after IMSA/WEC rules convergence

Legendary American motorsport chief Roger Penske says that the new agreement between the FIA World Endurance Championship and IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar series – that will lead to a common LMDh headline class – opens the door for him to make a return to the Le Mans 24 Hours.

Penske has raced twice at Le Mans: once as a driver in 1963 (starting from pole position with teammate Pedro Rodriguez), and then as a team owner in ’71 – running Ferraris on both occasions.

Last year, Penske told Motorsport.com that a return to Le Mans was “a target” – but warned “we’ve got to go with the right stuff” to compete for victory. Following Friday’s announcement at Daytona, Penske said that common rules between the North American and global sportscar championships was exactly what he wanted to compete for overall honours.

“We have been asking for this for a number of years,” Penske told Motorsport.com. “We can run here [at Daytona], we can run Petit Le Mans and we can run Sebring. 

“Le Mans is one of the things we’ve never won. I have been there twice. We need to go and be able to race there and race to win.

“Ironically, when you look at this weekend, coming here to the 24 Hours of Daytona, we’ve got six [DPis] to race [against]. We need to have 20 cars in the prototype category. Le Mans doesn’t need to have three Toyotas, two Peugeots and four Porsches. They need 25 cars. 

“So this convergence is going to allow these world-class events to have that kind of competition. The OEMs don’t have to spend $300 million to go to Le Mans and race each other. They can take that down many, many times and we can have people with cars coming from the U.S. and other parts of the world enter these big races. I think it’s great.”

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