Nico Gruber will stand in for Nicky Catsburg at Engstler Motorsport in this weekend’s FIA world touring Car Cup races in Hungary, as the Dutchman has prior commitments elsewhere.
Gruber, 19, is a regular competitor in the ADAC TCR Germany series, where in 2020 he is contesting his first full season in the category.
Catsburg, the WTCR’s newest race winner, is unavailable to race at the Hungaroring due to commitments in the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship.
Gruber has already been victorious in both TCR Germany, winning the season opener at the Lausitzring, and TCR Malaysia, where he won race two at Sepang in January.
The Austrian will team up with Luca Engstler in the WTCR’s youngest driver line-up, with both drivers competing for the WTCR Rookie Award.
Gruber admitted that it was a little surprising to have been given the opportunity to race at the top level of touring cars so soon in his career.
“It’s hard to say why I have this opportunity after just four weekends in ADAC TCR Germany,” said Gruber, who observed the team in last weekend’s races at the Slovakiaring. “But my team has really supported me and Hyundai said ‘yes, let’s give it a shot’.
“Maybe it’s because I could win my very first race in TCR Germany. We’ve had some hard times after this but we’ve showed some good speed.
“I will try to keep this momentum going to the Hungaroring where I will try to support the team as much as possible and try to get the best result for them.
“For sure it will be hard at the Hungaroring. I was watching all the WTCR drivers and it’s completely different to TCR Germany.
“Everything is bang on from the start of FP1 and I’m still learning how to race a touring car. That’s why I am here, to learn and do my best.
“I was driving in Formula Renault at the Hungaroring last year and I really love this track. It has a good design and it will be hard for sure.
“They are tough guys, all fast but with the team we can do a good job and land a good result.”
Gruber previously raced in Formula 4 in 2018 and formula Renault last year, before switching to touring cars.
“I can’t wait for this weekend but I want to say a big thank you to Hyundai and all the support from Liqui Moly Team Engstler that they give me this chance.
“For me being with the Engstler team feels like home, I get on with everybody in the team and we are having fun.
“When it’s getting serious we are serious and everyone tries their best to try to get faster and faster.”