The 30-year-old Swiss was announced Thursday by Peugeot for his WEC program with the 9X8 LMH following the confirmation of his departure from Audi after nine seasons on Wednesday.
The Swiss effectively filled the spot in the two-car 9X8 squad that has remained vacant since Kevin Magnussen opted to return to Formula 1 with the Haas team in March.
Peugeot Sport’s official statement explained that it would begin work on testing and development of the 9X8 this year, but Muller has not ruled out joining the racing team for this year’s WEC final in Bahrain in November. .
Muller said his desire to compete for overall honors at the 24 Hours of Le Mans explained his decision to leave Audi, which halted its return to top-level sports car racing with a new LMDh prototype earlier this year. and then to join Peugeot.
“My dream has been to compete at Le Mans for the overall win for many years and once contact was made with Peugeot and I started to get to know people better, I realized that the company is was committed to doing well and winning,” said Muller, who raced for the Vector Sport LMP2 team in the WEC this year alongside his commitments with Audi.
“I was immediately interested and motivated to join this team, and when the opportunity presented itself, I didn’t hesitate for long.
Muller explained that contact with Peugeot was made “about three months ago” and that he had also spoken to other manufacturers who will be involved in top-level sportscar racing next year when it became clear that Audi would not proceed with its LMDh program.
“To be honest, it started with the uncertainty about Audi’s LMDh project,” he said.
“My medium to long term goal was to go to Le Mans and the original plan was to do that with Audi and I kind of committed to that.
“Once it became clear that this plan wasn’t as airtight as I had hoped, I opened my ears and started looking left and right.”
Photo by: Masahide Kamio
Muller said he quickly came to a “common understanding” with Audi and they were “parting as friends without any hard feelings.”
Peugeot Sport director Olivier Jansonnie described Muller as “a talented driver with an impressive track record in several series”.
“He drove an LMP2 prototype this year and showed the kind of speed and consistency that Team Peugeot TotalEnergies expects from its drivers,” he said.
Peugeot’s statement confirmed on Tuesday that James Rossiter, who raced the No. 94 Peugeot entry at the Monza and Fuji WEC rounds with Loic Duval and Gustavo Menezes, will continue next year in the reserve, test and simulator role. for which it was announced in 2021.
Muller said he and Peugeot were still in the “planning phase” as to when he would get behind the wheel of the 9X8 for the first time and whether that might include a race outing in Bahrain.
He explained that he had authorization from Audi to drive the Peugeot this year.
Peugeot has announced its intention to test at least once between last weekend’s Fuji round and the season finale in Bahrain.
Muller, who will also race with Abt in Formula E next season, said he was confident the FIA would avoid clashes between the two world championships.