Aurelien Panis switches from Formula V8 3.5 to WTCC with Honda team

Aurelien Panis has completed a surprise switch from single-seaters to compete in the World Touring Car Championship next season

Aurelien Panis switches from Formula V8 3.5 to WTCC with Honda team

Panis, son of 1996 Monaco Grand Prix winner Olivier, finished fifth in his second season in World Series Formula V8 3.5 in 2016 with two victories to his name.

But the Frenchman will this year drive for the Hungarian Zengo Motorsport outfit in the WTCC, racing one of the team's TC1 Honda Civics.

"It is a very strong international championship and a great step in my career," Panis said.

"There are many experienced and successful drivers in the series so it will be a very exciting and tough challenge for me;

"I'm proud to drive for a great team like Zengo Motorsport, which has won races in the past, and I am very honoured to join the Honda Racing Family.

"Everything will be new for me this season and the goal will be to learn and gain experience quickly, in order to be able to fight at the top as soon as possible."

Panis's package will be based around Honda's 2017 chassis and engine.

Zengo fielded two Civics for Ferenc Ficza and Daniel Nagy last season, but struggled with reliability issues in the early part of the season and was only able to run Nagy in five of the 11 events after the late delivery of a second engine.

The outfit has previously entered Hungarian drivers in the championship, and helped Honda factory driver Norbert Michelisz to two independents' trophy titles during a six-year spell.

"We're very pleased to confirm that Aurelien is joining our team for the 2017 WTCC season," said team principal and owner Zoltan Zengo.

"Recruiting a non-Hungarian driver is a new direction for us but it's an exciting one at the same time.

"In Aurelien we have signed a driver with great potential and a successful background in single-seater racing.

"Everything will be new for him but we're good teachers, and we know a different approach will benefit the team and how we work.

"We're confident Aurelien's switch to the WTCC will be rewarding and we can't wait to start working with him."

shares
comments
Honda WTCC team picks Ryo Michigami to replace Rob Huff

Previous article

Honda WTCC team picks Ryo Michigami to replace Rob Huff

Next article

John Filippi to drive Sebastien Loeb Racing Citroen C-Elysee in WTCC

John Filippi to drive Sebastien Loeb Racing Citroen C-Elysee in WTCC
Load comments
Why joker laps are entering the mainstream Plus

Why joker laps are entering the mainstream

This season the World Touring Car Championship looks certain to bring joker laps to a circuit-racing world championship for the first time. And it need not be the daft gimmick people may think

WTCC
Apr 6, 2017
The making of the world's best tin-top driver Plus

The making of the world's best tin-top driver

He has been overshadowed at Citroen for the last three seasons, but the retirement of Yvan Muller means the world says farewell to one of touring-car racing's finest talents

WTCC
Sep 26, 2016
Volvo's plan to conquer the WTCC Plus

Volvo's plan to conquer the WTCC

Volvo gave the World Touring Car Championship a major boost when it announced it would enter the series, but its ambitions don't stop there. JACK COZENS examines its programme, the S60 and what its arrival means for the WTCC

WTCC
Jan 18, 2016
The WTCC's Nordschleife gamble paid off Plus

The WTCC's Nordschleife gamble paid off

A 17-car field on a 13-mile track - the WTCC's Nurburgring Nordschleife gamble wasn't going to be easy to pull off. STUART CODLING explains how the series made it work

WTCC
May 20, 2015
Insight from a Nordschleife master Plus

Insight from a Nordschleife master

World championship racing returns to the Nordschleife this weekend. STUART CODLING got a lesson from one of the legendary track's few masters

WTCC
May 15, 2015
Becoming world champion for £100k Plus

Becoming world champion for £100k

The 2012 World Touring Car champion says he never had the money to race cars. Yet 2015 is his 11th season in the WTCC. He talks STUART CODLING through his journey from motorsport fan to paid professional - for little more than £100,000

WTCC
Mar 23, 2015
Can the vanquished champion bounce back? Plus

Can the vanquished champion bounce back?

The World Touring Car Championship kicks off in Argentina this weekend, and Yvan Muller bids to reclaim his throne from Citroen team-mate Jose Maria Lopez. He talks to STUART CODLING

WTCC
Mar 6, 2015
The top 10 WTCC drivers of 2014 Plus

The top 10 WTCC drivers of 2014

Citroen had no rivals during the 2014 World Touring Car Championship, and 'rookie' Jose Maria Lopez hit the ground running to emerge as a worthy champion. PETER MILLS rates the field

WTCC
Dec 3, 2014