Cumbrian sportsman Alex MacDowall is eyeing a major push for his second Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS Endurance Cup title this season, after being officially confirmed as part of Barwell Motorsport’s 2022 driver line-up in the world’s premier GT3 racing series.
Reuniting with Mark Lemmer’s Surrey-based squad, with which MacDowall won the 2020 Silver Cup crown as team-mate to Frederik Schandorff and Patrick Kujala, the Carlisle racer will now contest the brand-new Gold Cup class in Barwell’s No.77 Lamborghini Huracan GT3.
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.
“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”, said MacDowall, “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.”
He added: “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.”
Following a stellar career in touring cars, where he enjoyed great success in both the British Touring Car Championship and FIA World Touring Car Championship, winning at the famous Macau street circuit in the latter among other victories, MacDowall made the move into GT racing in 2014 as a factory driver with Aston Martin in the FIA World Endurance Championship.
Following two years there, which included an outing in the world-famous Le Mans 24 Hours, he moved into the European Le Mans Series and won his first international title in 2016 with the ELMS LMGTE crown as team-mate to Andrew Howard and Darren Turner in an Aston Martin Vantage GT3.
Switching to the ADAC GT Masters for 2017, racing a Porsche 911 GT3R, he returned to the ELMS in 2018 and only just missed out on a second LMGTE title with Ferrari 488 GTE squad JMW – ending the year as Vice-Champion with Miguel Molina and Liam Griffin.
His GTWCE Endurance debut came in 2019 at the wheel of an Audi R8 LMS GT3, but 2020 was the breakthrough year for the talented Britain in GTWCE when he signed for Barwell’s Lamborghini entry and an all-but perfect season developed – winning the Silver Cup by a huge 31 points and taking two race victories along the way. Last season proved a relatively frustrating year back with Aston Martin.
“After last season it just made me more hungry for this year”, MacDowall said, “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 next week.”
Round one of the 2022 Fanatec GT World Challenge Powered by AWS Endurance Cup will take place on Sunday, 3rd April, at Imola in Italy. The season will conclude on Sunday, 2nd October, at Barcelona in Spain.
Source. Marc Orme/Photo. SRO Motorsports Group