BRC Racing Team Announce two-car FIA World Touring Car Cup entry with Hyundai
BRC Racing Team will enter a pair of Hyundai i30 N TCR in the inaugural season of the FIA Touring Car World Cup (WTCR) this season for experienced drivers Gabriele Tarquini and Norbert Michelisz.
Based in Cherasco, near Turin, the outfit brings experience of national circuit racing, as well as a wealth of knowledge from both international and Italian rally championships, where BRC Racing Team drivers have collected a number of overall and class titles, together with a string of victories. The 2018 campaign, though will be BRC Racing Team’s first full season in international touring car competition.
However, the entry into the brand new championship for the team follows a year of work as a partner in the testing of the i30 N TCR, supporting Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing in an engineering and logistical capacity. The expertise gained from that development phase, which culminated in three race weekends at the end of 2017, will now help put the team at the front of the WTCR pack this season.
Similarly, Gabriele Tarquini was heavily involved throughout the testing and development of the i30 N TCR. With BRC Racing Team Tarquini will continue a storied Touring Car career that includes titles in the British, European and World Championships. During 2017 he acted as the official test driver for the i30 N TCR project, scoring the car’s first pole position, win and fastest lap in competition last year with BRC Racing Team run efforts in the TCR International Series and TCR Europe Trophy.
“I’m very pleased to be driving with BRC Racing Team in the World Touring Car Cup this season,” said Tarquini. “After leading the testing for the i30 N TCR throughout last year I know the car very well. This season will be a fantastic opportunity to put the experience both I, and the team, have to compete at the very front of the new championship. Personally I’m looking forward to a full season of racing once again, competing it what I am sure will be a very tough and competitive championship.”
2017 FIA World Touring Car Championship runner-up Norbert Michelisz is already a race winner in TCR competition after taking a victory as a stand-in driver at the Thai round of the TCR International Series last year. However, the 2018 will be the Hungarian’s first full season in the category, following eight full seasons in the WTCC, during which he twice won the Independents’ Trophy in the manufacturer dominated series. In joining BRC Racing Team for the 2018 season he reunites with Gabriele Tarquini, having previously run as teammates two years ago.
“I’m really excited for the season to begin,” said Michelisz. “I have the same feeling as I did at the start of my career. I’m working with a new team, a new car and in a new championship. It’s a new challenge, which is great motivation for me. I’m looking forward to working with Gabriele again, and learning from his experience testing before the first races. Last year it was clear the i30 N TCR and BRC Racing Team were the package to beat, so I’m certain we can challenge for wins and the title this season.”
The i30 N TCR is the first car produced by Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing designed for circuit racing. Based on the high-performance road-going i30 N it made its competitive debut in the TCR International Series with BRC Racing Team in China, taking victory in its maiden race. Starting six races with the i30 N TCR the team claimed two victories, three podium finishes, one pole position and three fastest race laps.
“We are anxiously waiting for the beginning of the new WTCR 2018 series,” said BRC CEO Massimiliano Fissore.” After a year of intense work, in which we followed the testing and development phases, we can now express our pride in being the first team to represent Hyundai in the FIA World Touring Car Cup. The goals already achieved in 2017 make us believe in a high level season, in which we will not spare our efforts to get the best results. We are ready to highlight Hyundai and BRC Gas Equipment brands in the four continents and in the races that will host the competition.”
About BRC Racing Team
BRC Racing Team operates within the Research & Development business unit of BRC Gas Equipment, the world's largest production group in the ecological fuels field, in order to develop new technologies on the racetrack, which can be subsequently transferred to everyday applications. Present in over 70 countries, BRC has launched on the market the first Italian LPG and CNG gas injection system and the first LPG gas injection system for cars with direct petrol supply. BRC Racing Team grew out of desire to prove the high-performance of alternative fuel systems, and our passion for motorsport.
About the Hyundai i30 N TCR
Announced in February 2017 the i30 N TCR represents Hyundai Motorsport’s first steps into circuit racing. Built and developed by the Customer Racing department at the team’s headquarters in Alzenau, Germany the car is based on Hyundai’s high-performance i30 N model. Design work for the project began in September 2016, with the first on track test taking place in April 2017. An exhaustive development schedule ended with the i30 N TCR taking victory in its very first race in the TCR International Series at the Zhejiang Raceway in China. Hyundai Motorsport delivered the first cars to customer teams in December 2017, with teams due to compete around the world during 2018.
About the FIA World Touring Car Cup
The World Touring Car Cup is running to new rules and a new name from 2018 as the FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) hits the tracks. Promoted by Eurosport Events, the organisation behind the WTCC, and using the TCR technical regulations – a cheaper and more accessible concept embraced by manufacturers including Audi, Honda, Hyundai, Opel, Peugeot, Renault, SEAT and Volkswagen – WTCR will be contested over 10 weekends in four continents from April to November. Each event will consist of three races and will typically take place over two days. Day one includes a single qualifying and race, while day two is more in keeping with the previous WTCC set-up: a three-phase qualifying and two races with the first race utilising a reverse grid. A maximum of 26 entries will be accepted plus a further two wildcards at each event. Although there won’t be manufacturer teams under cost-cutting measures, several top drivers from the WTCC and other international touring car series are set to take part with the prospect of some extremely close and exciting racing.