Just days after triple-quadruple-pinkie-swearing that a Formula One pilot would not be driving Porsche's third car at Le Mans next year, Porsche announced Nico Hulkenberg as one of the third car's drivers. Hulkenberg will be the first F1 driver since Sebastien Bourdais in 2009 to do Le Mans during an F1 season.
Look, if you don't want your driver line-up to slip out to the public before you want to announce it, the worst thing you can do is say that they're definitely not driving for you. Silence might have been a better strategy, but I doubt Porsche cares.
ethanheisler nailed it in the comments Monday, pointing to previous tests Hulkenberg did with Porsche, such as this one with the Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid car.
Hulkenberg had this to say to Racer of the opportunity:
Porsche and Le Mans – this combination probably attracts every race driver. I've been a Porsche fan for a long time and have been watching their return to the LMP1 class closely. The desire grew to drive that car at Le Mans.
I am very pleased the 2015 Formula 1 calendar allows for it and I'm grateful to my Force India Formula 1 team's generosity to let me go for it. Now it's up to me to work hard to satisfy both commitments.
Porsche team principal Andreas Seidl feels confident that the team can get Hulkenberg up to speed quickly when it comes to driving a Le Mans prototype, having brought over Mark Webber from F1 this year. Seidl explained to Racer:
Having caught the interest of another world class driver like Nico is validation for the job the entire Porsche LMP1 crew had done in our first WEC season. Now we will prepare Nico for his new challenges such as dealing with the traffic of the slower GT cars and racing into the Le Mans night.
The third car will only be run at the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps and the 24 Hours of Le Mans, so don't expect it to be, say, a full-time place for Jenson Button to go.
Those Alonso to the World Endurance Championship rumors are certainly sounding more legit since the dates don't overlap, though. McLaren Formula One and a couple WEC dates? Sounds like fun.
The team has not yet released the names of the other two drivers who will share the third car with Nico Hulkenberg.
Photo credit: Getty Images