Paul di Resta is making his FIA World Endurance Championship debut with United Autosports, but says that his DTM schedule will continue to be his main priorities when it comes to calendar clashes between the two series.
The ex-F1 driver is driving the #22 United Autosports ORECA 07-Gibson alongside Filipe Albuquerque and Phil Hanson, but also drives for R-Motorsport’s Aston Martin DTM programme. When asked about his WEC debut at Friday’s press conference, Di Resta answered:
“It’s obviously the first time, undertaking this championship. Still the main focus for me is my DTM, so I’ll be missing at least one race, maybe another one next year when the calendar clashes, but it’s a series I’ve always looked at.”
The WEC calendar already clashes with the DTM schedule, as the 6 Hours of Fuji falls on the same weekend as DTM’s season finale at Hockenheim. United Autosports have already confirmed that Oliver Jarvis will be replacing Di Resta in Japan, but more clashes could well be on the way if the Scot is to be believed.
Di Resta also commented on the looming tyre war between Michelin and Goodyear. LMP2 is the only class with two tyre manufacturers. Di Resta’s United Autosports ORECA runs on Michelin, but JOTA Sport, Jackie Chan DC Racing and High Class Racing run Goodyear tyres.
“It’s obviously a big thing. Goodyear have obviously put a lot of attention into it,” Di Resta continued. “I think you can see that when they’ve branded one of the cars, and one of the cars will be immediate competition. But you know, when you look at the P2 grid, yes you have driver with silver or a lower category, but at the same time, I think five or six cars will be fighting for this championship. It’s the combination of how you get together with that.”
“We are essentially new to joining with ORECA. It was a necessary change, but we only had two testing in Barcelona with the Prologue. We’ve arrived here, and it seems to be in a sweet spot and in a good zone. But not underestimating that we could be very much out of the window with the lack of experience we got in that, so it’s all about consistency and all about how this championship plans out. Some great racetracks we go to, tracks that I’ve raced on in F1 and very much looking forward to get back out with.”