Nope, we’re not kidding, you read that headline right! With 47 days until the 2022 season kicks off in Bahrain, Mercedes’ chief strategist James Vowles is swapping the pit wall for the race track.
Whilst other F1 teams’ staff are busy in their factories, he’ll be making his international racing debut behind the wheel of a McLaren 720S GT3 for Garage 59 in this year’s Asian Le Mans Series.
Vowles will be racing alongside Manuel Maldonado, 2021 ALMS LMP3 champion and 2012 Spanish GP winner Pastor Maldonado’s cousin and GT World Challenge Europe driver Nicolai Kjærgaard for the Garage 59 team.
James first joined the Silver Arrows as an engineer back when they were BAR in 2001 and later Honda. Promoted to race strategist, he was crucial to Brawn GP’s championship success in 2009 and remained with the team when they became Mercedes.
So far in his career, he’s achieved nine Constructors’ Championships and 120 Grand Prix victories.
The Asian Le Mans series is taking place over four, four-hour races, with two back-to-back races at the Dubai Autodrome and the Yas Marina Circuit.
The season kicks off on February 12th in Dubai and concludes on February 20th in Abu Dhabi, three days before F1’s pre-season ‘shakedown‘ gets underway in Barcelona.
It’ll be featuring 37 cars across the LMP2, LMP3 and GT categories and will be streamed live on The Race’s YouTube channel.
No word yet on if Valtteri Bottas will be his strategist this time… yeah, probably not!
Are you excited to see James Vowles go racing? Let us know in the comments below.