Honda today announced that Gabriele Tarquini and Tiago Monteiro will drive for them in the 2013 FIA World Touring Car Championship.
“We are delighted to have Gabriele back with us and excited to welcome Tiago into the Honda racing family for the first time. Both are former Formula One drivers and have also proven time and again that they belong in the absolute top echelon of world touring car drivers,” said Hideo Sato, General Manager of Honda Motorsport Division in Japan.
Tarquini last raced for Honda in 2001 and has raced for the Japanese manufacturer in the BTCC, STW and ETCC.
“I am very proud that Honda called me back to restart together again. I was theirs and the team’s first choice from the beginning, and we have worked together planning all the steps to set the programme up. Honda is one of the most important brands in automotive industry and in motor sport. They have achieved countless victories in all the categories. The team is very professional and I know all the people very well from my past years with them. There will be no need for adjustment periods. We start working with a lot of optimism and I believe we have all we need to be competitive straight away,” said Tarquini.
Monteiro moves from driving a SEAT León, just as Tarquini, in this year’s WTCC to the Honda Racing Team JAS and the Portuguese is excited.
“I am obviously very excited for this amazing opportunity. These are tough times in motor sport and there are not many car manufacturers ready to launch factory programmes. To be chosen by Honda is a big boost for my ambitions, because I know they are not playing around but will do everything in the proper way. And I’m really happy to team up with Gabriele again. He helped me a lot when I joined SEAT and we get very well together. Especially at the beginning he will be more involved in developing the car, because of his vast experience,” said Monteiro.
Monteiro will debut the car in the three final races of the WTCC 2012, starting at Suzuka, followed by Shanghai and Macau.
“As I am the one who will drive the car in its first races, I will take over before Suzuka and will have a test of my own in Japan,” said Monteiro.
JAS Motorsport are responsible for the development of the S2000 version of the 5-door Honda Civic model for next year’s championship with Honda developing the new 1.6 turbo engine.