Lada has confirmed that James Thompson will join its World Touring Car Championship line-up from next weekend's round in Portugal.
The two-time BTCC champion, who finished third in the WTCC standings in an N.Technology Alfa Romeo in 2007, will also race for Lada in the Brands Hatch, Okayama and Macau events. He will miss the Oschersleben and Imola rounds due to clashes with his other touring car commitments.
Thompson will bring his former engineer Marco Calovalo to Lada and will debut the Russian manufacturer's new Priora model at Porto.
"I'm very excited to be back in the WTCC and I feel very privileged that Lada has asked me to be the first person to race their new car," said Thompson. "It's a great challenge to be involved in a new project like this from the beginning and I am looking forward to it very much."
"We just have to take everything as it comes and make progress step by step," he added. "I have no particular expectations, so we will just have to see where we are in Oporto and take that as our starting point."
Thompson will replace team principal Viktor Shapovalov in the driver line-up, with Shapovalov stepping down from his driving role to concentrate on management.
"As we take the next step forwards, it's only right that I should focus fully on running the team," said Shapovalov. "I am sure that James will be a huge asset to the team and we look forward to making the most of his extensive experience both now and into the future."