Words by Stephen Brunsdon | Images by Lamborghini
Ex-Formula One driver Romain Grosjean will switch to sportscar racing in 2023 after signing a factory deal with Lamborghini.
The Swiss French driver will make his debut with the Sant’Agata Bolognese firm in January’s 24 Hours of Daytona, racing for the Iron Lynx outfit alongside fellow factory drivers Mirko Bortolotti and Andrea Caldarelli.
Grosjean made his F1 debut with Renault in 2009 as a replacement for the ousted Nelson Piquet Jr but was dropped at the end of the year.
He made a comeback with the same team in 2012 after winning the GP2 Series title with DAMS the previous year and recorded nine podium finishes over the next two seasons.
His final F1 podium came in 2015 with the rebadged Lotus team, at Spa-Francorchamps.
Since his F1 career finished at the end of 2020, notable for his huge accident in the Bahrain Grand Prix where his Haas car erupted into flames after crashing through the Armco barrier, Grosjean has plied his trade in IndyCar, taking a pole position at Indianapolis and scoring another three podiums.
Now, Grosjean will make a return to GT racing in 2023, having enjoyed a partial season in the FIA GT1 World Championship following his first exit from F1 in 2010.
“First of all, it’s an honour to be joining Lamborghini, it’s such an iconic brand for everyone who loves cars, including myself and my kids,”said Grosjean.
“On top of that, I am very excited about two things: the first is starting in Daytona with the GT3 which has been very successful in Daytona and a really good team like Iron Lynx and team-mates around me, so that is going to be a nice discovery for myself.”
Grosjean will contest a full season in the Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO2 – which will make its own debut at Daytona after being revealed mid-way through the 2022 season – with the exact programme yet to be determined.
But that’s not all Grosjean will focus on. He will also join Bortolotti and Caldarelli in the development of Lamborghini’s LMDh prototype with which it will contest both the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship and the FIA World Endurance Championship in 2024.
Grosjean will be one of the official test drivers once the new car rolls out in the spring of next year.
“The new LMDh is a beautiful car – I’m lucky to have seen it – and an incredible project in endurance,” Grosjean added.
“It’s becoming a very exciting category with all the constructors coming. With Lamborghini being such a successful brand, I hope we can do well in the future.”
Lamborghini Head of Motorsport Giorgio Sanna added: “We are very proud to welcome Romain Grosjean to the Lamborghini family, for this new and exciting period in the history of Squadra Corse.
“He’s a driver with a huge amount of experience in various categories over the years and will be able to add a great deal of value to both our GT3 programme but more importantly, the development of our LMDh car as well. I am looking forward to seeing Romain out on track in Daytona which will hopefully be the start of a very successful partnership going forward.”
While Grosjean has had relatively little experience at the wheel of a GT car during his career to date, his solitary campaign in FIA GT1 did produce strong results.
Partnering Thomas Mutsch in the Matech Ford GT, Grosjean took victory on his first weekend in the championship, in Abu Dhabi, before taking another win at Brno in the Czech Republic.
He also contested the Spa 24 Hours, a race Grosjean is expected to compete in during 2023 with Iron Lynx, but a return to single seaters in GP2 alongside a title-winning campaign in AutoGP meant he was unable to complete the season.