GT

Paffett gets Mercedes Intercontinental GT drive alongside Formula E

Reigning DTM champion and HWA Formula E driver Gary Paffett will complete the Intercontinental GT Challenge in a Strakka Mercedes-AMG GT3.

After Mercedes pulled out of the DTM, Paffett made the switch to Formula E for 2018/19, where his HWA team has struggled and he lies 17th. He is one spot ahead of his team-mate, ex-Formula 1 McLaren driver Stoffel Vandoorne.

The Briton was announced as part of the German manufacturer’s IGTC line-up in January, but his exact programme in the five-round series beyond an outing in February’s Bathurst 12 Hours series opener in a car run by Craft-Bamboo and Black Falcon was not defined.

Now, it has been announced that the HWA Formula E driver will join Strakka Racing for the remaining four rounds on the confirmation that the British team is returning to the series.

He will share the team’s lead car with reigning IGTC champion Tristan Vautier and team regular Lewis Williamson, starting with the California 8 Hours at Laguna Seca on March 30.

Paffett said: “I competed at Bathurst with Black Falcon and Craft Bamboo, and now I’m excited to get the rest of the season starting with Strakka and working with my new teammates.

“I’ve never been to Laguna Seca before, so I’m looking forwards to driving on that track and can’t wait to get going.”

Two-time IMSA GT Daytona champion Christina Nielsen will drive Strakka’s second entry in the remaining races.

She will share at Laguna with Adam Christodoulou and Dominik Baumann.

Team boss Nick Leventis is taking a sabbatical from the cockpit this season for business reasons.

Strakka was Merc’s full-time representative in the IGTC last season, but was not present at this year’s Bathurst opener.

The team will also contest the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup, which includes the Spa 24 Hours IGTC round, this year.

Raffaele Marcello, Maximilian Buhk and Maximilian Gotz will drive for the GruppeM Merc squad at Laguna as they did at Bathurst.

GruppeM’s second car will be raced by Maro Engel, Yelmer Buurman and Luca Stolz.

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