Swedish siblings Andreas and Jessica Bäckman will graduate to the FIA World Touring Car Cup in 2021, racing a pair of new Hyundai Elantra N TCR cars run by Target Competition.
The siblings will become the first brother and sister pairing in World Touring Car history when they take to the grid for the full 2021 campaign, which gets underway at the Nürburgring Nordschleife in early June.
The announcement also means that there will be six of the new Hyundai Elantra N TCR cars on the grid this year, with BRC Racing and Engstler Motorsport also running a pair of the saloon-shaped cars.
The siblings started their TCR journey in 2018, racing in both the TCR UK and TCR Scandinavia series’. Andreas finished third overall in TCR UK that year, with one win to his name, whilst Jessica was fourth in the drivers’ standings.
In STCC, Andreas was 14th in his first campaign, with Jessica in 19th, before the duo moved on to TCR Europe in 2019.
There the duo raced Hyundai i30 N TCR machinery with Target Competition, and Andreas was in title contention throughout 2019, ending up fourth overall with one win.
Although Jessica too stood on the podium, she ended 2019 19th in the driver’s standings.
Last year the duo continued in TCR Europe, with Andreas once again winning one race but enduring more misfortune and ending the year sixth overall, whilst Jessica was 18th.
The pair will again be supported by the Swedish National Team from the country’s ASN, and both will be eligible for the WTCR Trophy for independent racers. Jessica is eligible for the FIA Junior Driver title for drivers under 24 at the start of the year who have also not competed in any World Touring Car events prior to 2019.
As Andreas turned 25 last year, he is not eligible for the same junior driver classification.
“One of my biggest goals in my career has been to compete against the best drivers in the world in the WTCR − FIA FIA World Touring Car Cup,” said Jessica, 23.
“It feels unreal that I now can announce that I have reached that goal. That I am also the first woman ever is something I have always dreamed of and hope to inspire more women to both begin and continue with motorsport.
“I will give everything I can and looking forward to the start of the season.”
Andreas admits that racing at the top level of touring car racing has been a long-held ambition of his.
“I look forward to taking the next step in my racing career and developing even more as a driver,” said Andreas.
“Taking the step up to the WTCR has been a big goal for a long time and I feel more ready than ever to take this step together with our team, Target Competition.
“It will be tough as many of the drivers have many years of experience and several world champions are on the starting line, but I am looking forward to the challenge.”
Xavier Gavory, WTCR Director at Eurosport Events, is pleased to welcome the Bäckman’s to the series.
“We are so pleased and proud to welcome Andreas and Jessica Bäckman to WTCR, our first brother and sister team,” said Gavory. “They’ve proved their ability in TCR Europe and while WTCR is a step up, they are going to great lengths to be ready and have even found the time to continue their university education, which is very impressive. They will be a great addition to WTCR.”