Fabien Barthez has been confirmed as the first driver in Tech 1 Racing’s new Lexus RC F GT3, with the team confirming it will run the car in the Am and Silver Cups.
The French footballer-turned-driver has a stake in Panis-Barthez Competition, the prototype team run by Tech 1 Racing, and has previously competed for the Simon and Sarah Abadie-run operation in the European Le Mans Series and at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
As reported by Sportscar365 earlier in the week, the team’s single Lexus entry will compete in the Am class for the Endurance Cup events and in the Silver category for the Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe races.
Barthez will be joined by two other Bronze-rated drivers for the five Endurance Cup rounds, along with an additional Silver-rated driver at the Total 24 Hours of Spa.
He scored the Am win at Monza last season for AKKA ASP, co-driving with Eric Debard and Philippe Giauque.
“It makes sense to go back to Panis-Barthez Competition and Tech 1 Racing just when the team is taking up a new challenge with the Lexus RC F GT3,” said Barthez.
“It’s almost four years since we launched the Panis-Barthez Competition project. I know the team by heart and its DNA is still there so it’s only logical and natural to tackle this season in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup together.
“Despite its experience the team will be finding its feet in a new championship. The aim will be to really enjoy ourselves, which I’m sure we will, because that too is an integral part of our DNA.
“We’ll take the races as they come to accumulate experience with this car.”
The team will reveal Barthez’ co-drivers, and the Silver pairing for the GT World Challenge Europe rounds at a later date.
Team manager Sarah Abadie also reiterated plans to have add a second car in time for Spa.
“We’re very happy to be able to count on Fabien just when we’re taking up this new challenge,” she said.
“With his career in GT racing, including three starts in the Total 24 Hours of Spa, he is an experienced driver whose professionalism will be a big help to us in our first steps in this branch of motorsport.
“Our aim is very clear – to have two cars at the start of the Total 24 Hours of Spa this coming July.”