Jessica Bäckman to make GT4 debut in GT Winter Series
TCR star Jessica Bäckman is set to make her GT4 racing debut this weekend in Navarra, as the Swede will partner Gabriela Jilkova at PROSport for a one-off appearance in GT Winter Series.
Swedish racing driver Jessica Bäckman is set to start her 2023 racing season with a new challenge: the touring car ace will in fact make her GT4 racing debut, entering the upcoming GT Winter Series round at Navarra, Spain. Bäckman will share the #250 Aston Martin Vantage GT4 operated by PROsport Racing Team with another talented female driver: GT4 specialist Gabriela Jílková.
Bäckman, 25, has been one of the most successful female racing drivers in touring cars worldwide in the last few years, claiming 4 wins and 14 podiums in five different TCR championships. Since graduating from karting, the young Swede has in fact focused on the popular TCR series, racing either part time or full time in the Scandinavian, British, European, German and World Cup series.
In 2019, she made history by becoming the first woman to step on the podium in TCR Europe, with a third place in Hockenheim. She would then step up to the FIA World Touring Car Cup, the highest level of touring cars in 2021, where she scored points at the legendary Nürburgring Nordschleife – becoming the only woman to score points in the series.
Bäckman then focused on her ADAC TCR Germany title assault in 2023, where she scored her first victory at the Oschersleben season opener. Jessica had a dominant first part of the season, securing three more race wins, and battled for the drivers' championship until the final round, where she eventually was crowned Vice-Champion.
Also part of the Swedish National Team, Bäckman was then invited to the Heart of Racing selections in Arizona, at the Apex Club facility. The American team selected 9 finalists among 100 entrants, and Bäckman had the opportunity to drive a GT4 car for the first time in her career.
As a new chance to drive GT4 machinery presented itself, Jessica will now join PROsport driver Gabriela Jílková – an experienced GT4 racer with podium finishes in ADAC GT4 and 2021 GT Winter Series champion – behind the wheel of the Aston Martin AMR Vantage GT4 at Navarra, Spain, for the fifth round of the GT Winter Series.
"I'm looking forward to try something completely new for me, an Aston Martin AMR Vantage GT4 car this weekend, I got to test the car model when I was invited to a shootout in US at the end of last year and I immediately felt that it was a car I want to get more seat time in" – Jessica commented. "It will be a big challenge that I look forward to."
Gedlich Racing-promoted GT Winter Series features big fields of almost 40 cars across all classes and provides a competitive testing and racing platform during the winter in Spain and Portugal. The race weekend includes three races – two 25-minute sprint races and a 60-minute endurance competition that features a driver change.
Competing in the GT4 class, the #250 PROsport Racing Aston Martin with Jílková and Célia Martin claimed a win and two podiums in class at the previous round in Valencia.
All the GT4 entries comply with the global GT4 regulations – as per in every regional and international GT4 series – and will score points for both the class and overall standings.
"I am very happy that Jessica will make her debut for us in Navarra. Last year we watched her through her wins and podiums in the ADAC TCR Germany and I think she is a great talent" -said team manager Christoph Esser. "Now we are delighted that she will be making her debut in GT racing with PROsport Racing."
The team has collected over 50 class wins in the Nürburgring-based VLN, 10 wins in the 24H Series plus notable results in ADAC GT4 and GT4 European Championship.
While Bäckman will have to learn a new car and a whole new racing format, and experienced teammate and team will be the perfect starting point for Jessica to take on this new challenge.
With four practice sessions scheduled for Saturday, all qualifying and races are set to be contested on Sunday, at 12:10, 14:25 and 16:54 (Spanish time) respectively.