Audi's Bonanomi to make single-seater return at Red Bull Ring

Audi factory sportscar racer Marco Bonanomi will make his first single-seater start in seven years at the Red Bull Ring this weekend, in the Formula V8 3.5 Series

Audi's Bonanomi to make single-seater return at Red Bull Ring

The Italian received a call-up from RP Motorsport, and will fill the seat occupied earlier this season by Johnny Cecotto Jr and Artur Janosz, alongside team regular Vitor Baptista, as a one-off.

He raced with the team in Formula Renault 2.0 in 2002, and his last single-seater start was in the GP2 Asia Series in early 2009.

"I never thought I would go back to single-seaters, especially near the end of a season," Bonanomi said.

"It came about when my old friend Fabio Pampado at RP Motorsport called me, asking if I would like to drive.

"I will not have tested the car before, only jumping in for free practice, so it is not going to be easy.

"It's a big challenge, but I like big challenges."

Bonanomi was a regular in Audi's additional Le Mans entries, but did not contest the 24 Hours this year with the German manufacturer trimming that programme.

He has been content to compete in the ADAC GT Masters series, and a number of GT events in Australia. "I haven't tested an LMP1 car since January," he said.

"Porsche and Audi have cut back on their third cars in the World Endurance Championship, and cut their testing programmes.

"There is not a lot of news yet about the future, or what is coming out at the moment doesn't seem to be good news, but I am a positive person."

Bonanomi believes his lengthy spell involved in the development of Audi's successful LMP1 machinery will ease the transition back to single-seaters.

"I was involved in the LMP1 programme's hybrid system development and tyre evaluations for five years, up until last winter, so I still remember how to drive a car with downforce," he said.

"I think the Formula V8 3.5 car will be different, with less weight and perhaps more downforce over the rear axle.

"Then there is DRS to get used to, and no hybrid system, so I am sure it will require a little bit of a different style.

"However, my background is in aerodynamic cars, that's where I am from. I can't wait.

"The last time I raced in FR3.5 was Barcelona 2008, which was not a good memory [Bonanomi was involved in a major crash when battling for the lead with Mikhail Aleshin].

"So it has been a long time, and it's quite a crazy comeback. I don't expect too much, I am just there to help the team as much as I can."

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