Mick Schumacher will return to racing in 2024 after being confirmed as a driver for Alpine‘s hypercar programme in the World Endurance Championship [WEC].
Schumacher, who has spent 2023 as Mercedes reserve driver after leaving Haas following the 2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, tested Alpine’s hypercar at a test held at Jerez in October, where he learned the idiosyncrasies of sportscars.
Joining Schumacher at Alpine are LMP2 world champion Ferdinand Habsburg, 2014 European Le Mans Series champion Paul-Loup Chatin and Alpine’s three current LMP2 drivers Nicolas Lapierre, Matthieu Vaxiviere and Charles Milesi.
“A new chapter is beginning for me with Alpine in the FIA WEC Hypercar category. The car is impressive, and I can’t wait to get started,” Schumacher said via an Alpine press release.
“I’ve grown up with single-seaters, so driving a car with a closed cockpit and covered wheels is a great opportunity to hone my driving skills. I sorely missed racing this year; it’s what I’ve loved to do since I was a kid, and it was sometimes difficult to watch the other drivers take to the track.
“Endurance racing is a new challenge for me, and I’m sure we will share great moments together next year with Alpine.”
Alpine will publicly reveal Schumacher, his teammates and the team’s A424 at an Alpine launch event on February 7, 2024.
Another year as Mercedes reserve
Despite moving to sportscars for 2024, Schumacher will remain in his post as Mercedes reserve driver for the second consecutive season.
During his year off from racing, Schumacher has often watched the Grand Prix from the Mercedes garage alongside team principal Toto Wolff and driver development director Jerome D’Ambrosio.
Regular F1 drivers Lewis Hamilton and George Russell have hailed Schumacher‘s impact this year as the German spent Friday night of June’s Spanish GP helping the team find the correct set-up for the race.
Thanks to Schumacher’s late-night simulator work, Hamilton and Russell were able to finish on the podium in Spain, coming in second and third behind runaway winner Max Verstappen.
Schumacher will be called upon to drive in any Grand Prix that doesn’t clash with his WEC commitments in 2024 if Hamilton and Russell cannot race for any reason.
A long family history of sportscar racing
Although commonly associated with Formula 1, the Schumacher family have a long history of competing at the highest level of sportscar racing.
Before arriving in F1 with a stunning performance at the 1991 Belgian GP, which saw him qualify seventh for Jordan, Mick’s father, Michael, was one of the stars of Mercedes‘ sportscar programme.
Schumacher, who joined the Mercedes team with fellow future F1 stars Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Karl Wendlinger, won his fourth world sportscar race with Jochen Mass at Mexico City.
In 1991, Schumacher raced in the illustrious Le Mans 24 Hours for Mercedes, finishing fifth overall with Wendlinger and Fritz Kreutzpointner before moving to F1 in August.
In a twist of fate, Schumacher replaced race winner Bertrand Gachot, who had been jailed for 18 months following an incident with a London cab driver in December of 1990.
Michael’s brother Ralf also dabbled in sportscars, driving for Mercedes in the 1997 Spa 4 Hours, finishing fifth overall alongside legendary touring car ace Klaus Ludwig.