24h Le Mans 2014
Andre Lotterer will make his F1 debut at Spa (Credit: AUDI AG)
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Lotterer to make F1 debut for Caterham at Spa

Former World Endurance Championship champion and multiple 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Andre Lotterer will make his Formula 1 debut this weekend at the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps.

The German, who has also won the Super Formula series in Japan back in 2011, will take the place of Japanese driver Kamui Kobayashi at Caterham.

Lotterer has previous F1 experience when testing for the Jaguar Racing team back in 2002, but was overlooked for a race drive within the team in 2003 in favour of Mark Webber and Antonio Pizzonia.

“I am delighted to be given the opportunity to take part in a Formula One race weekend – I want to thank Caterham F1 Team for this chance,” said Lotterer. “I’m ready for this challenge and I cannot wait to jump in the car and make the most out of the weekend ahead.

“I will need to get settled and used to the car quickly, as the team has worked on a number of updates and we will need to have as much time as possible out on track to optimise the car’s performance.

“I really enjoy racing at the legendary circuit of Spa-Francorchamps, it’s one of my favourite tracks and it’s very close to where I grew up, so this makes the weekend even more special and one to remember.”

Swede Marcus Ericsson will continue as his team-mate, and is hoping the upgrades being brought into the car this weekend will help them as they attempt to close the gap to the teams ahead of them and challenge for the vital tenth place in the championship that would earn the team a financial boost at the end of the season.

“Spa is one of the races I’ve been most looking forward to since we first announced my F1 drive back in January,” said Ericsson. “I love the track, it’s been a very good circuit for me, especially in the last couple of years in GP2 when I won in 2012 and was on the podium last year, so it’ll be good to be back, this time in an F1 car.

“We’re aiming to make real progress in Belgium, and that will make the whole weekend even better for the team and for me. We haven’t had new parts on the car for quite a while, so to be coming to a track like Spa with a package that gives us a chance to take a step forward, that’s a good feeling, but we’re taking nothing for granted.

“We have a lot of work ahead of us to get the most out of that parts but everyone is prepared for that and if we achieve what we’re setting out to, and have good reliability, it could be a really good weekend for us.”

Caterham insist Kobayashi remains with the team, and could be back in the car at Monza with the deal for Lotterer appearing to be just for this weekend at Spa-Francorchamps.