Bruno Senna looks set to develop his race craft in sports cars before breaking into Formula One after testing a Le Mans prototype car in France today.
The GP2 star had been linked to seat with Honda Racing but Ross Brawn’s takeover of the team resulted in an unchanged driver line up for 2009 with Rubens Barrichello joining Jenson Button for a second year.
And with this year’s ban on in-season testing reducing the benefits of a testing role, Senna is on the look out for other opportunities to develop and showcase his talent.
The Brazilian tested a Le Mans prototype car for the first time today at the Paul Ricard Circuit courtesy of Team Oreca Matmut who are preparing for the Le Mans 24 Hour race in June.
“It will certainly give me an insight into an area of my profession I have not seen before,” said Senna.
“While I do not want to be distracted from my target of driving in F1, there are a number of opportunities that will certainly improve my performance when that time comes. This is one of them and I am looking forward to the challenge.”
“I have proven my racing ability with my results in GP2 but when I get my chance to race in Formula One I want to be able to contribute as much as possible technically.
“With the restrictions in F1 testing now, it is difficult for young drivers to develop in this way but by using my time constructively like this, I believe I can make myself stand out from the crowd.”
Bruno will share driving duties in one of the Courage-Oreca LC70s with former F1 race winner Olivier Panis, Le Mans 24 Hour winner Stephane Ortelli as well as Oreca endurance regulars Nicolas Lapierre and Soheil Ayari.
With a great deal of experience of testing GP2 on the shorter Paul Ricard circuit layout, Bruno will tackle the full length 5.8kms circuit during the official Le Mans Series test for the first time.
With tops speeds of over 200mph, a large technical programme to get through and a big team working into the night, this is the kind of experience Bruno hopes will help ease his progress into F1 when the opportunity arises.
Hugues de Chaunac commented: “I understand that the goal for Bruno is clearly F1 but with so few opportunities for young guys to test in F1 now, we felt it would be a good alternative to gain mileage in an LMP1 car.”
“At the moment this invitation is just for Bruno to join our test which will continue into the night. It should be a new experience for him and probably the longest test day he will ever do.”