Fredy Barth will race a BMW for the Wiechers Sport team in this year’s World Touring Car Championship.
The deal, which was revealed at the Geneva Motor Show, marks a full-time return to the WTCC for the Swiss driver.
Barth contested the 2010 and 2011 seasons in a SEAT run by SUNRED, but spent much of 2012 on the sidelines before returning for the final two rounds in China and Macau in a SEAT.
He will now race a BMW 320TC for German team Wiechers, who took Stefano D’Aste to two outright victories last year. D’Aste will field his own team in 2013.
Barth’s deal with Wiechers is in partnership with Emil Frey Racing, for whom Barth raced a Jaguar XK GT3 in the Blancpain Endurance Series in 2012.
“After last year’s successful comeback in the season’s finale at Macau, I am more than happy of having the possibility to take part in the full season again,” said 33-year-old Barth.
“I wish to thank all my partners and sponsors, and I am convinced that with the BMW and Wiechers-Sport we have the right package to successfully challenge not only for points, but for race victories.”
Team manager Dominik Greiner admitted that Barth may take time to adjust to his new machine, but expects him to do well.
“I am delighted that Fredy will be driving for us,” said Greiner. “We warmly welcome Fredy and his partners and look forward to working together with them. We are facing a new and exciting season and I’m sure that, once Fredy has got to know the BMW, he will be very competitive.”
The team completed two days of testing at the Slovakia Ring on Monday and Tuesday of this week, with Barth racking up 450 kilometres (280 miles).
“I’m happy with this first test,” said Barth. “I was able to complete a fair amount of laps over the two days and we tried different setup options. I felt very comfortable at the wheel of the BMW 320 TC and with the team. I’m very much looking forward to the season’s start at Monza.”
Greiner added: “I’m really happy with Fredy’s performance. It was his first drive with us and the BMW, and also his first time at the Slovakia Ring. He did a great job over the two days and proved to be a quick he learner. We were very lucky with the weather and able to run our test program as scheduled. I am confident that we are very well prepared for Monza.”
The WTCC season begins on 24 March at Monza.