Fabien Barthez will make his return to the Blancpain GT Series with AKKA ASP this season, completing the French team’s five-car Endurance Cup lineup.
The former goalkeeper for the French national soccer team will drive alongside Philippe Giauque and Eric Debard in the No. 89 Mercedes-AMG GT3 competing in the Am Cup.
Barthez most recently raced in the European Le Mans Series with Panis Barthez Competition but will not drive for the team in 2018.
He is no stranger to AKKA ASP after working with team manager Jerome Policand in the French Porsche Carrera Cup a decade ago before moving into the FFSA French GT Championship and up the GT ranks.
He won the FFSA French GT title in 2013 co-driving with Morgan Moullin-Traffort and made his first of three appearances at the 24 Hours of Le Mans the following year.
AKKA ASP originally announced that Giauque and Debard would be joined by a Pro co-driver, therefore placing the entry into the Pro-Am Cup, but with Bronze-rated Barthez onboard, the No. 89 Mercedes will therefore compete in the Am Cup.
The team will now enter two cars in the Pro Cup and one each in the Silver, Pro-Am and Am categories for the five-round Endurance Cup season which gets underway at Monza next month.