Further team and driver announcements have been made for the 2023 Fanatec GT Europe season, with a little over three weeks remaining before cars are on-track at Monza (21–23 April).
Madpanda Motorsport has completed its Endurance Cup line-up with the addition of Magnus Gustavsen (pictured below). He will join team owner Ezequiel Companc, who is set to run the full campaign, and Alexey Nesov at the long-distance races. Jesse Salmenautio will partner Companc in the Fanatec GT Sprint Cup.
Norwegian racer Gustavsen is no stranger to the Fanatec GT Europe paddock having made a number of appearances in last season's Lamborhgini Super Trofeo. Prior to this he gained experience in Scandinavia driving touring cars and GT4 machinery. Madpanda Motorsport will compete for Silver Cup honours in both Sprint and Endurance this term.
"I'm very happy and proud to be joining Madpanda Motorsport for the Fanatec GT Endurance Cup programme," said Gustavsen. "This championship and the CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa are a childhood dream for me and I feel more than ready to take on this new challenge. We have tested different GT3 cars over the last years to prepare for my first full season in GT3 and I feel confident going into the season together with the team in the Mercedes!"
In other news, an additional car has been added to the grid for the season-opening race at Monza with BMW Italia Ceccato Racing set to compete at its home event using the Bavarian marque's M4 GT3. This will bring the number of BMW entries to nine, a significant increase on previous seasons. Competing in the Pro-Am class, the #15 machine will bring together Marco Cassarà, Stefano Comandini and Francesco Guerra.
Comandini is no stranger to the series having run the full Fanatec GT Endurance Cup schedule in 2013 and 2014. He secured Pro-Am victory at Monza in the latter season at the wheel of a ROAL Motorsport-run BMW Z4 and has since remained active in domestic GT racing. Cassarà is set for his series debut having previously raced extensively in Porsche Cup machinery. Guerra is the squad's pro driver and returns to the Fanatec GT Europe paddock having contested the GT4 European Series in 2021.
It is worth noting that the operation is managed by former driver Roberto Ravaglia, who earned a hat-trick of CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa wins in 1985, 1988 and 1994. On each occasion, the Italian was at the wheel of BMW machinery. In a statement, the Ceccato team described its Monza outing as "an important opportunity to compete with the strongest GT3 drivers in Europe" and to collect data ahead of its domestic GT championship programme.
The 2023 Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS season begins with an Endurance Cup race at Monza on 21-23 April. The Sprint campaign gets under way at Brands Hatch on 13-14 May, while the marquee CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa is scheduled for 29 June – 2 July. Tickets for these events are available to purchase now.