Cumbrian racer Alex MacDowall will get his drive for success in the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS Endurance Cup under way this weekend.

The Carlisle driver will compete in round one of the championship at Imola in Italy on Sunday.

His involvement in the three-hour race comes after MacDowall was officially confirmed as part of Barwell Motorsport’s 2022 driver line-up in the world’s premier GT3 racing series.

The move sees him reunited with Mark Lemmer’s Surrey-based squad, with which MacDowall won the 2020 Silver Cup crown.

He will now contest the brand-new Gold Cup class in Barwell’s No.77 Lamborghini Huracan GT3.

The 31-year-old said: “I’m familiar with the car and the team, we’ve got a good driver line-up in the new Gold Cup class and I really am looking forward to it – it’s great to be back with Barwell and the Lamborghini.

“Hopefully I can draw on my previous experience from 2020 and try and win the title, plus we’ve got Patrick [Kujala] for the Spa 24 Hours which is great. 

“For the first round we’ve got Rob Collard in for Adrian [Amstutz]; he can’t race at Imola due to business commitments, so that’s a good stand-in for us and when Adrian is back in the car he’s won titles and is no slouch, plus they both know the team and the car.

"With Sandy being a Lamborghini factory driver we’ve got good input there with set-up so I think we’re in a pretty good position.

"We have got a new Pirelli tyre for this year and it has been causing some balance issues during the pre-season tests, there’s a much stiffer sidewall which seems to help the front-engine cars like the Mercedes but we’re suffering oversteer and a bit of understeer.

"We think we’ve got our heads around it, though you can’t be too aggressive and have to be more precise and gentle.”

Featuring a combination of Bronze, Silver and Gold graded drivers in each entry, MacDowall – who is a Silver competitor – will be joined by fellow Brits Rob Collard and Sandy Mitchell for the opening three-hour race of the season at Imola in Italy a little over a week from now. Thereafter, Bronze driver Adrian Amstutz will replace Collard. 

For this year’s blue riband twice-round-the-clock TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa in July, round three of the championship, Kujala will be drafted into the expanded four driver entry – partnering with MacDowall for the first time since their memorable Silver Cup title success in November 2020.

After his breakthrough year in GTWCE in 2020, which saw MacDowall win the Silver Cup by a big margin of 31 points, last season proved a relatively frustrating year back with Aston Martin.

“After last season it just made me more hungry for this year”, MacDowall added.

“We’re focused on a strong year, the Lambo is a good car and we know what we have to do.

"It’s always the same in this championship - stay out of trouble, get through the driver stints smoothly and be consistent.

"First, though, we’ll have to see where we are when we get to Imola.”