Team ZAKSPEED has announced former Verizon IndyCar Series driver Alex Tagliani will join the team for the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup as the squad completes a two-day test at Monza.
The German team, with a new Mercedes AMG GT3 for their efforts, has announced the Canadian driver will race alongside Darryl O’Young and Jean Frederic Laberge and used the Monza test to expand on the running they had at the official test day at Paul Ricard earlier in the month.
Owner of ZAKSPEED, Peter Zakowski, said: “We suffered a few problems in Paul Ricard, but the intensive testing program we have completed during the past few weeks is really paying off now. We know the car well and the drivers are doing a great job, too. Tag is showing his speed already, we knew he was going to be a strong asset for our team, but he is quickly showing that he has great feeling for the car and is helping the engineers developing the new Mercedes-AMG GT3. For a guy without experience in GT cars he it’s quite impressive.”
Tagliani echoed that himself, the closest he’s had to a car even remotely similar to the GT3 Mercedes was his short stint in the NASCAR Canadian Tires Series, but admitted this car is a very different beast: “It was quite a change for me after having driven Formula cars for so many years, but the car is lighter than a Nascar car with more downforce so I felt comfortable right away.
“The new Mercedes-AMG GT3 is a really great car to drive, the handling feels good, it’s the first time that I get in a race car with a roof over my head and I can challenge the braking zones, it’s fun! I am confident following the great test in Monza to have an equally good race here in a few weeks. It is a new challenge, sharing the car with other drivers, it’s going to be important to improve as a group, driver change etc., extracting every second in every segment of GT racing become important, but I am very excited of working with the new engineering staff they are amazing, the AMG staff was very helpful during the test and obviously driving for ZAKSPEED is great and something special for a driver.”
The first round of the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup takes place on April 24 at Monza.