International drivers Marc Lieb and Jeroen Bleekemolen will join Tekno Autosports for this year’s three V8 Supercars endurance races, the team has confirmed.
Lieb, a 32-year-old German, returns to co-drive with Jonathon Webb following the duo’s podium finish together at the 2012 Gold Coast 600.
The pairing of 31-year-old Dutchman Bleekemolen and Shane van Gisbergen is also somewhat of a reunion after their link-up on the Gold Coast at Stone Brothers Racing last season.
“This is fantastic. I always dreamed about driving the Bathurst 1000,” said Lieb, a full-time Porsche works driver who took out the GTE Pro class at last weekend’s Le Mans 24 Hours and currently co-leads the World Endurance Championship’s GT drivers’ standings.
“I was watching the race as a kid and was fascinated. It will be a big challenge, but I am driving for a great team and I am really happy to returning to Australia with Tekno and Jonathon.”
While Lieb will be a Bathurst rookie, Bleekemolen enjoyed experience of the track last year in both the Bathurst 12 Hour and Carrera Cup support races at the Bathurst 1000.
“I have always loved watching V8 Supercars and doing Gold Coast last year was a great experience” said Bleekemolen, whose hectic racing schedule included a 10th place finish in the LMP2 class at Le Mans.
“The team is running very strongly in the championship this year, so I can’t wait to go out there and fight for good results.”
Tekno team manager Bruce Jenkins, whose globetrotting experience includes stints at McLaren and the now defunct Stewart Formula 1 outfit, spearheaded the search for Tekno’s international co-drivers.
“Marc and Jeroen are both top-level international drivers, having demonstrated their talent with fantastic results at Le Mans over the weekend, and throughout their distinguished careers,” said Jenkins.
“When the rules changed, and the same drivers were able to join Jonathon and Shane for all three endurance races, we had no hesitation in selecting Marc and Jeroen.”
Discussions had taken place with Sebastian Bourdais earlier this year until it became clear that the Frenchman could not commit to all three races due to the possibility of testing requirements arising with his IndyCar team.
Van Gisbergen and Webb sit fourth and 10th respectively in the 2013 V8 Supercars Championship following the Hidden Valley event, where the pair took the top two spots in the not-officially-recognised ‘weekend points’ tally.