Former Formula 1 driver Rubens Barrichello will make his Spa 24 Hours debut this year in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup with Strakka Racing, it has been announced.

The 46-year-old will drive the #44 Mercedes-AMG GT3 car in the PRO class partnering with Felipe Fraga and Christian Vietoris for the race taking place during the July 28-29 weekend at Belgium’s Spa-Francorchamps circuit.

“I am very much looking forward to racing at Spa once again, this was where I got my first pole position in F1 so it brings back great memories,” said the Brazilian. “I am still very active with my racing in Brazil and I want to thank Strakka Racing for the opportunity.

“It will be great to race with my good friend Felipe and I am looking forward to sharing the car with Chris. All being well we should prove a competitive line up.” This will be his first time in the championship, but his fifth in a 24 hours event.

Last year, Barrichello made his Le Mans 24 Hours debut with the Racing Team Nederland in the LMP2 class, while he has also raced in the Daytona 24 Hours thrice in 2013, 2015 and 2016 – the latter he finished on the podium in second.

Strakka’s Racing Director, Jay Davenport said: “We are looking forward to the challenge that Spa 24 Hours will bring. We are confident that with the driver line ups we have we will do all we can to bring home overall victory and class wins.”

The #43 Mercedes will be driven by Maxi Buhk, Max Gotz and Alvaro Parente in the PRO class, while a third #42 Mercedes will be driven by Nick Leventis, Lewis Williamson, Chris Buncombe and David Fumanelli in the Pro-Am class.

The Spa 24 Hours is the fourth round in the 2018 championship with the British team sitting in fifth place after the first three rounds. The official test day in preparation for the event will take place on July 3 at Spa-Francorchamps.