Former Formula 1 and FIA World Endurance Championship racer Christian Klien will make a full-time switch to the Blancpain GT Series in 2018, where he will race a Lexus RCF GT3 for Emil Frey Racing.
The Austrian, who raced for Red Bull Racing and HRT during his brief Formula 1 career, and with ByKolles Racing in the World Endurance Championship, will partner Spaniard Albert Costa in the Sprint Cup races, while the duo will be joined by Marco Seefried for the Endurance Cup races.
Klien is excited to race full time in the Blancpain GT Series in 2018 having made appearances with Emil Frey Racing in the 2016 Total 24 Hours of Spa and the round at the Nürburgring, and believes that the endurance races in particular will give them a good chance of success.
“This will be the first time for me doing the full Blancpain GT Series and I’m particularly excited about the Sprint races,” said Klien. “It’s proper racing – one hour, flat out – so I’m really looking forward to that.
“In the Endurance races I think we have a good chance to do well as we know that this car is reliable. We know we have a good product from Lexus, and Emil Frey Racing has put all the pieces together to be successful this year.”
Klien tested the Lexus in the recent test days around the Circuit Paul Ricard, and was happy with how the car felt, but he added caution that they will need to learn how to get the best out of the Pirelli tyres as they vie for top five finishes and possibly podiums.
“We had already done some test days prior to Paul Ricard and I have to say that it’s a nice car,” said the Austrian. “You get in and immediately feel comfortable, which is always a good sign.
“This year we’ll need to learn how the car works on Pirelli tyres as we only did one race last year [with the Lexus], but we are happy with where we are right now.
“This is an extremely close championship with highly professional drivers and teams. This is only the second year of racing for Lexus and the first in the Blancpain GT Series, so I wouldn’t say we can go for the championship just yet. But we can definitely aim for top fives and podiums. That would be awesome for us.”