Panis-Barthez Competition and Tech 1 Racing will field the Lexus RC F GT3 for the full Blancpain GT Series campaign in 2019, adding a new squad to the championship while ensuring the Japanese machine remains on the grid.

The all-French partnership of Panis-Barthez and Tech 1 has worked together on several projects in recent years and will now expand to tackle the Endurance Cup and Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe (previously Sprint Cup).

They will do so with a car that has proven its ability to compete at the front of the field. Emil Frey Racing took the Lexus to victory at last year’s Circuit Paul Ricard 1000kms and also achieved an impressive seventh-place grid slot for the marquee Total 24 Hours of Spa.

The number of entries for the Panis-Barthez/Tech 1 squad and the identity of its drivers will be revealed ahead of next month’s official Blancpain GT Series test day at Circuit Paul Ricard (13/14 March).

Panis-Barthez is led by 1996 Monaco Grand Prix winner Olivier Panis and Fabien Barthez, a former World Cup-winning footballer and more recently a successful racing driver. Barthez contested last season’s Endurance Cup with AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG and was a class winner at Monza.

Tech 1 Racing is among the most successful teams in junior single-seater competition and will remain active in this area in 2019, contesting the Formula Renault Eurocup alongside its Blancpain GT Series commitments.

“Tech 1 Racing and Panis-Barthez Competition are delighted to join the Blancpain racing family,” said team manager Simon Abadie.

“We’re well aware of the size of the challenge that awaits us.

“We’re going to discover one of the premier, most competitive categories in the world and we have to get to grips with our new car, a new tyre manufacturer and new rivals.

“But I know just how combative my team is and we’ll do everything in our power to make our colours and those of Lexus shine!”