Audi sportscar star Andre Lotterer will replace Kamui Kobayashi for this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix, the Caterham F1 Team has confirmed.
The 32-year-old German’s call-up comes amid a restructure of the team led by Dutchman Colin Kolles following a recent ownership change.
Lotterer is a three-time and reigning winner of the Le Mans 24 Hours, while he also boasts recent single-seater experience, dovetailing his World Endurance Championship campaign with outings in Japan’s Super Forrnula.
Although his Formula 1 mileage is limited to testing with Jaguar 12 years ago, a statement from Caterham pointed to Lotterer’s experience as a key to the sudden driver change.
“The team will benefit from having another experienced driver at the wheel of the car throughout the weekend and the German’s feedback will contribute to improve the performance of the car,” read the statement.
“The weather also plays a big role at Spa-Francorchamps and Lotterer is one of the most experienced drivers racing under mixed conditions.
“Lotterer will replace Kamui Kobayashi for this round of the championship. The Japanese driver still remains part of the team.”
By contrast to Lotterer, Kobayashi has started 71 grands prix since making his debut in 2009.
The Japanese driver joined Caterham this season after a year out of F1 in which he raced Ferrari GT machinery.
Lotterer says he’s looking forward to the challenge ahead.
“I am delighted to be given the opportunity to take part in a Formula One race weekend; I want to thank Caterham F1 Team for this chance,” he said.
“I’m ready for this challenge and I cannot wait to jump in the car and make the most out of the weekend ahead.
“I will need to get settled and used to the car quickly, as the team has worked on a number of updates and we will need to have as much time as possible out on track to optimise the car’s performance.
“I really enjoy racing at the legendary circuit of Spa-Francorchamps, it’s one of my favourite tracks and it’s very close to where I grew up, so this makes the weekend even more special and one to remember.”