The BRC Racing Team has launched its 2019 World Touring Car Championship program and revealed the exact nature of the Hyundai squad for the upcoming season.
Defending champion Gabriele Tarquini will join Norbert Michelisz in the BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse line-up with team newcomers Augusto Farfus and Nicky Catsburg working together under the banner of the BRC Hyundai N Lukoil Racing Team.
Lukoil had supported the rival outfit WRT in the series last season, although the Russian energy giant has also worked with Tarquini in the past when he fielded a SEAT Leon in the World Touring Car Championship.
The new Hyundai i30 N TCRs broke the cover during a launch event at the BRCs headquarters, with the cars appearing for the first time in their new look colors next week at the test in Barcelona.
The new season then begins in Morocco early next month, with BRC looking to bid for both championship titles after a strong 2018, which Tarquini edge out Hyundai colleague Yvan Muller to title, although the Italian outfit fell just three points shy of the teams’ Championship to wrap – which went instead to YMR.
“The 2019 FIA WTCR season is upon us and it will be another highly competitive season,” said Andrea Adamo, Team Director of Hyundai Motorsport. “During the winter break, we helped our racing teams and drivers prepare, and the i30 N TCR was unbelievably successful in the series last year, setting the benchmark for the coming season.
“Both teams and all four riders are worthy championship contenders and we wish them well in the upcoming challenge, we have no illusions about the challenge that our customers will face, but we are ready to take them on every step of the way support.”
After securing the title last year, Tarquini admitted that he expects the new season to be at least as competitive as 2018, especially the addition of new cars and drivers to the grid.
“It will be a very competitive season if we want to defend the title,” he said. “Honestly, I hope my closest challengers are the other drivers in the i30 N TCR! We saw last year how close the battle for the title was – until the final rounds of the year – and it will be like that again in 2019. Everyone will have worked over the winter, and we’ll have new rules of the series, new drivers and a new track to tackle before we reach the end of the season. “
Meanwhile, teammate Michelisz said he was firmly focused on securing the title after finishing fourth in the overall standings last year.
“I want to win the title this year,” he said. “With what Gabriele achieved last year, I know I’m in the right car and the right team to do it, but the FIA WTCR is very long and that much can happen, it will be so important Of course it’s going to be important to be the fastest, but at the same time it could also be the smartest driver to celebrate at the end of the season.”
Brazilian racer Farfus will make his debut in the TCR machine this season when he returns to the world stage, and the former BMW racer said he was confident that some strong results will be achieved when he first raced since his Alfa comes back behind the wheel of a front-wheel drive driver. Romeo days.
“Watching WTCR last year as a spectator was really fun – some of the best world-class touring cars I’ve seen in a while,” he said. “You could see from the results that the Hyundai was one of the best, if not the best car in the category, as a driver you always want to be in the top series in the most competitive car, so when the chance came, the i30N It was an easy choice to join TCR with a customer team in 2019. The season will bring some new challenges, but I think we can confidently face them and achieve some good results. “
Catsburg will also debut in WTCR at the sister Lukoil-backed car, with race victories very much the target for 2019.
“I’m really looking forward to racing,” he said. “I saw a few races last year, and it has always been very tight and very competitive, I think the WTCR will fit in quite well with my driving style, and I’m looking forward to the season, especially when I’m thinking of the upcoming races Above all, I look forward to working with Augusto and the BRC Hyundai N Lukoil Racing Team to earn points and race wins on the track.”