Ricciardo reveals talks with Porsche over 2015 Le Mans drive

Daniel Ricciardo has revealed he held talks with Porsche over a drive at the 24 Hours of Le Mans for 2015, but failed to gain permission from Red Bull.

Porsche fielded an additional car at Le Mans in 2015 alongside its two full-season FIA World Endurance Championship entries, and courted a number of active Formula 1 drivers for the seats.

Nico Hulkenberg became the first active F1 driver in 24 years to win the race as he shared the #19 Porsche 919 Hybrid with Porsche factory drivers Earl Bamber and Nick Tandy.

Porsche is known to have discussed a drive at Le Mans with Fernando Alonso and Jean-Eric Vergne, and had also lined up four-time IndyCar champion Dario Franchitti for a seat prior to his career-ending accident.

Outgoing Renault F1 driver Ricciardo has now revealed that he also discussed the seat with Porsche, acting as a first contact with future McLaren boss Andreas Seidl, who headed up Porsche’s LMP1 programme at the time.

“Andreas is a guy that I do really look forward to working with,” Ricciardo said.

“I was first in contact with him I think back in 2014. There was a bit of a push to try and do Le Mans at the time with Porsche and there was a little bit of small talks.

“I’ve heard people who have worked with him speak very highly and I’m looking forward to that.

“I’ll keep being a sponge and trying to make myself better.”

The talks between Ricciardo and Porsche came during his first season with Red Bull in 2014 as he scored his first three grand prix victories.

Red Bull ultimately blocked Ricciardo from joining Porsche for the race, but Seidl was excited to finally get to work with the Australian when he joins McLaren for the 2021 season.

“Yeah, we had some conversations back in the day,” Seidl said.

“Unfortunately he didn’t get the permission at that time to join the project. I think that would have been an interesting experience for us but also for him. The car he was supposed to drive actually won Le Mans.

“Daniel was always a driver I was following throughout his entire F1 career. I always liked his performance on-track, but also the way how he comes across as a person outside of the car with his positivity, which is something very important for me also to have within the team.

“I’m simply happy that it finally worked out for next year, and I’m looking forward once he’s joined us in January.”

#19 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Nico Hulkenberg, Nick Tandy, Earl Bamber

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

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