Connect with us

GT World Challenge Europe

TCR Driver Pauwels Drafted into Comtoyou’s Pro Audi Lineup

TCR race winner and rallycross champion to make GT3 debut in Pro-class Audi entry…

Photo: Audi Sport

TCR Europe race winner and reigning FIA European Rallycross RX3 champion Kobe Pauwels has been drafted into Comtoyou Racing’s Pro lineup for this weekend’s Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup round at the Nürburgring.

The 18-year-old Belgian will make his GT3 debut sharing the No. 11 Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II with factory aces Christopher Haase and Frederic Vervisch, as part of a lineup shuffle caused by a date clash for one of Comtoyou’s Gold Cup drivers.

Pauwels drives for the Belgian team in TCR Europe and leads the rookie standings.

“[On] Sunday evening, after my victory at Le Castellet, [Comtoyou team manager] Francois Verbist called me into his office to ask me if I was ready to start in GT3.

“I would never have thought it possible in my first season of circuit racing, but I couldn’t refuse this opportunity. I don’t know the circuit or the car, but the team doesn’t put any pressure on me. I am here to learn and have fun.

“With Fred Vervisch and Christopher Haase as teammates, I couldn’t dream of better instructors to help me progress faster.

“In my eyes, GT racing has always been the next step in my career and I wanted to do it with Comtoyou Racing. The chance has just arrived a little earlier than expected!”

Comtoyou team principal Jean-Michel Baert added: “We have always trusted young drivers and that’s kind of our trademark. We are convinced by Kobe’s talent and we saw an opportunity to introduce him to GT3, without putting any pressure on him.”

The lineup shuffle at Comtoyou has been caused by a date clash for Max Hofer, who is aiming to maintain his GTWC Australia points lead at Sydney this weekend.

Gilles Magnus, who started the Endurance Cup term in the No. 11 Pro Audi, has moved to the Gold Cup points-leading No. 21 car as Hofer’s replacement for the Nürburgring.

There has been no adjustment to Comtoyou’s Silver Cup championship-leading car driven by Loris Hezemans, Sam Dejonghe and Finlay Hutchison.

A total of 54 cars, including 17 in Pro, will contest this weekend’s three-hour race according to the provisional entry list.

It marks the smallest Endurance Cup grid this year but there are no unexpected absences, considering the other rounds attracted additional cars beyond the 54 full-season entries.

Maro Engel is back in the No. 777 Al Manar Racing-badged GetSpeed Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo after driving for GruppeM Racing at the CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa.

In Bronze Cup, the No. 31 Team WRT BMW M4 GT3 and the CSA Racing Audi each have one driver yet to be confirmed.

Pro-Am competitor Barwell Motorsport also needs a second Bronze driver to team up with Rob Collard in its Pro-Am entry with the No. 78 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO2.

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

Click to comment

More in GT World Challenge Europe