Aurelian Panis will swap single-seaters for tin-tops in 2017 after being announced as joining the Zengo Motorsport World Touring Car Championship team.
The Frenchman – son of former F1 driver Olivier Panis – was a race winner in the Formula V8 3.5 Championship last season but will adopt a new challenge this season as he looks to make a name for himself in closed-cockpit competition.
For 2017, he will join the Hungarian Zengo Motorsport team to drive a Honda Civic but will race with the added pressure of knowing his father will also be giving an opinion on his exploits from the Eurosport France commentary box.
“I'm very proud to join the WTCC,” said Panis. “It is a very strong international championship and a great step in my career. There are many experienced and successful drivers in the series so it will be a very exciting and tough challenge for me; I had better roll up my sleeves from day one. I'm proud to drive for a great team like Zengő 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. I take this opportunity to thank my personal sponsors for their ongoing support and my manager, Didier Coton, for a job well done. I'm looking forward to starting the season and I hope my father has some good things to say about me when commentating on the WTCC on Eurosport France!”
Zengo has enjoyed success in WTCC over the years as a long-time partner of race winner Norbert Michelisz, but struggled for form in 2016 running Hungarian youngsters Ferenc Ficza and Daniel Nagy.