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WEC Fuji

Vandoorne replaces injured Muller in Peugeot's Fuji WEC line-up

Stoffel Vandoorne will make his maiden appearance in the World Endurance Championship’s Hypercar class at Fuji, replacing an injured Nico Muller at Peugeot.

Stoffel Vandoorne, Peugeot

Vandoorne will share the #94 Peugeot 9X8 in the six-hour fixture in Japan with Loic Duval and Gustavo Menezes for what would be his first WEC outing in any category since the 2021 WEC season finale in Bahrain.

The Belgian has been called in by Peugeot following the news that Muller sustained an injury on his left collarbone in August. A decision was subsequently taken in consultation with his doctors to skip the Fuji 6 Hours in order to fully recover from the injury.

“Unfortunately, Nico won’t be able to race for this round and we wish him a speedy recovery,” said team director Olivier Jansonnie. “Stoffel Vandoorne has all our trust, and we know that he will be able to step in quickly and give his maximum. 

“We are entering the last part of the season and our aim will be to be 100% reliable for the last two races and fight at the front with both our PEUGEOT 9X8. We will get ready as best as we can for these two races, trying to be consistent in our performance and race results.” 

Stoffel Vandoorne, Peugeot 9X8

Stoffel Vandoorne, Peugeot 9X8

Photo by: Peugeot Sport

Vandoorne moves up to a race seat just two months after Peugeot scored its first Hypercar podium at Monza, with Jean-Eric Vergne, Mikken Jensen and Paul di Resta finishing third in the sister #93 car.

It followed an improved showing for the brand at the Le Mans 24 Hours, where Peugeot led for certain stages of the race and also showed markedly improved reliability, an area that the French manufacturer struggled with in the past.

The Fuji race on 10 September is one of the two flyaway races that will bring the season to a close, with the campaign set to conclude in Bahrain with a bonus point eight-hour fixture on 4 November.

“The goal for this race is to keep showing that we are able to fight for the first places and for podiums on a regular basis and with both our cars,” said Jansonnie. 

“Thus, we will have to have the same level of performance than in Monza for the last two races in Fuji and Bahrain. 

“The Fuji Speedway is a track with tricky weather conditions, and we showed in the past that in this case we are doing quite well. It’s also a track that suited us in the past, last year we managed to move forward in terms of performance and reliability.

Vandoorne joined Stellantis marque Peugeot as a reserve driver at the start of the year, months after securing a deal to race for sister team DS Penske in Formula E. He was due to test the 9X8 as early as the Bahrain rookie test last year, but an appendicitis diagnosis prevented him from taking part in the running.

He is one of the two additional drivers Peugeot has in its roster alongside Malthe Jakobsen, who was promoted to the rank of WEC junior in May.

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