*Nicolas Baert makes WTCR debut for father Jean-Michel Baert’s Comtoyou Racing team *Impressive performances in first touring car season rewarded with wildcard chance in Spain *Baert Jr: “I am driving to get experience, not to try to win races”
Emerging talent Nicolas Baert will complete the WTCR Race of Spain entry this weekend as part of his father Jean-Michel’s Comtoyou Racing line-up.
Baert, 19, is a winner in TCR Europe this season and starts next month’s Jarama finale in fourth place in the overall standings and on top of the Rookie leaderboard.
His step up to the WTCR − FIA World Touring Car Cup for the MotorLand Aragón event from October 30-November 1 completes a remarkable transition from single-seater racer to World Touring Car driver in only his second season of racing and his first in touring cars.
Although his wildcard status means he won’t be eligible for points and will be required to carry an additional 20 kilograms on his Goodyear-equipped Audi RS 3 LMS, the experience gained competing in three WTCR races will be extremely valuable for the Belgian teenager, who will join forces with Comtoyou drivers Nathanaël Berthon, Tom Coronel and Gilles Magnus and carry the number 15.
Great opportunity for teen talent
“It’s a great opportunity but I am driving there to get more experience, not to try to win any races. As a rookie it’s great to be driving with these big names,” said Baert. “We worked a lot before the season started and also during the season [so far]. We knew we were fast because we test with Gilles Magnus, Nathanaël Berthon and Tom Coronel and we had the same pace. For me my only expectation was what would be my position in the races, not the lap times.”
Aragón experience will help
Baert competed in the Spanish Formula 4 Championship last year when MotorLand Aragón formed part of the calendar. “I know the track and with the Formula 4 it was really good to drive, a bit hard to learn and quite demanding on the tyres. But good.”
“My father just told me you will get a lot of experience and just focus on this,” said Baert Jr. “He told me I will go there without any pressure and that everything will be okay.”
According to Jean-Michel Baert, his 19-year-old son’s work ethic makes him worthy of the opportunity to build his experience in the WTCR. “In the team we are impressed with his work and assiduity,” said Baert Sr. “He works hard with his engineer and data guy to improve in each session. In TCR Europe the only target was to enter Q2; he reached more than our expectations.
“He receives the wildcard for WTCR in order to increase his experience, learn more, and deal with the best drivers in this category. He knows very well Nathanaël and Tom after they took second place in together in the 24H Portimão in June. As his father I am very proud but the most important thing is not his surname − he is Nicolas!”