Comtoyou Racing add Cupra programme, retain Aurélien Panis

Comtoyou Racing has announced it will add two Cupra TCRs to its 2019 World Touring Car Cup programme and has confirmed a deal to re-sign Aurélien Panis for a second year.

The team ran four Audi RS 3 LMS cars in the series last season across two teams, but a change in regulations for 2019 means only four cars representing each brand can appear on the grid.

With WRT continuing to field a two-car Audi team, Comtoyou has therefore elected to add a pair of Cupras to the two Audis it will campaign for Niels Langeveld and Frédéric Vervisch, and has retained Frenchman Panis as the first driver.

The 24-year-old finished 17th in the standings last season with a best finish of fourth in Japan.

“We saw last year with Pepe Oriola and the other drivers that the car is really fast in every track,” he said. “I feel really confident with that and I’m really happy to work with Cupra and to continue with Comtoyou Racing. Last season was not easy from scratch, but I take a lot of experience and, in the end, the pace was good, we were fighting in the top ten and even in the top five. For the second year my goal is to fight with the best drivers and to try to jump onto the podium.

“I am very happy to carry on in WTCR for the second year in a row. Continuity is very important and from that I am in position to reap the benefits of months of work and progress.

Team principal Jean-Michel Baert said he was pleased to confirm the new Cupra programme and the return of Panis for a second straight season.

“I am very happy to be able to renew Aurélien’s contract,” he said. “He shares the same values as Comtoyou Racing. He’s a very talented boy who wins every year in experience. He won a TCR race in Buriram in 2017 and will take both factors into account on the #WTCR2019SUPERGRID.

“This announcement also confirms the partnership we have set up with Cupra. Jaime Puig wanted us to work together for a long time and hopefully we’ll be very successful. One thing is certain, we expect a lot of success in this new collaboration.”