The 24 Hours of Le Mans is one of the most challenging races in world motorsport, so popular that it often tempts racing drivers back out of retirement. This year, a new effort by the name Racing Team Nederland is set to compete at the endurance classic, as well as the full season of the European Le Mans Series, with a couple of famous names behind the wheel.
Jan Lammers, 22-time Le Mans competitor, will return to the LMP2 fold with a brand-new Dallara P217 Gibson together with vastly experienced former Formula 1 driver Rubens Barrichello. 60-year-old Lammers won the 24 Hours back in 1988 for Jaguar, and also has considerable experience in Formula 1, making his debut at the 1979 Argentinian Grand Prix. He last competed at Le Mans in 2011 for the Hope Racing hybrid LMP1 car.
Barrichello, on the other hand, will arrive at the Circuit de la Sarthe as a rookie. The Brazilian made 322 Formula 1 starts, winning 11 races and scoring 68 podiums. The 44-year-old has, however, enjoyed some success in sportscar racing since retiring from F1 in 2011. Last year he finished second at the Rolex 24 at Daytona for (2017 winners) Wayne Taylor Racing. The pair will be joined by Dutchman Frits van Eerd, who is bringing the financial backing to the 2017 effort.
“We are all very proud to have such a great driver and sports personality with us,” Lammers said about his Brazilian teammate. “I know Rubens since he was 16 and the first racing car he drove in Europe was ours. Within a few laps we immediately realised already then that he was very special. Now 322 Grands Prix and 11 race wins later he is the most experienced F1 driver on the planet. He fits in great with Frits and myself as a hard-working family man. He gives us a masterclass in driving and we all have a lot of fun doing it.”