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Wurz confirmed as McLaren test driver

MCLAREN announced on Thursday that Austrian Alexander Wurz will become the team's official test driver for the 2001 world championship.

Wurz, who lost his drive with Benetton for next season to Briton Jenson Button, will take over from British American Racing-bound Frenchman Olivier Panis and will begin his testing duties in December.

"I'm extremely enthusiastic about the challenge and the opportunities offered by becoming a part of the McLaren team," 26-year-old Wurz said.

"I'm sure that I will have a significant role to play as third driver for the most successful team in Formula One and I will be able to learn and develop further as a driver.

"To become part of the McLaren team is a strong career move and I look forward to being a contributing factor to the team's success."

McLaren's managing director Martin Whitmarsh welcomed the appointment of Wurz and said that his role will be central to the team's success next year.

"The benefits we have gained this season by having an additional experienced Formula One driver to carry out testing duties have been phenomenal," Whitmarsh said.

"We are pleased to be able to continue this process by employing Alexander Wurz and are happy that we can reveal our driver line-up for the 2001 season.

"Alex brings plenty of Formula One expertise to the team and we are looking forward to working with him and have no doubts that he will make an invaluable contribution to McLaren."

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