ROAL Motorsport will be back in the 2014 FIA World Touring Car Championship, entering a pair of RML-built Chevrolet Cruzes for Tom Coronel and Tom Chilton, with the Italian team making a rare departure from the BMW brand.
The team will run a pair of Chevrolet Cruzes being built to the new regulations by RML, the Championship winning team of the last four years. Dutchman Tom Coronel will continue to drive for the team, entering his fourth consecutive season with the Venetian squad. He will be joined by British driver Tom Chilton, who moves across from RML themselves, which will not be fielding a team in the 2014 season.
ROAL Motorsport will continue its association with BMW elsewhere, but with BMW not building a car to the new regulations, and with the BMW 320 TC becoming obsolete, the team explains there were no other options for them to be able to continue in the WTCC.
“We are not severing our long standing ties with BMW,” explained team principal Roberto Ravaglia. “Actually we will keep on racing BMW cars in GT series. However, because unfortunately BMW decided not to develop a new WTCC car and we wished to stay in the series, we had no alternatives than looking for another programme. We believe that the new RML-built Chevrolet Cruze provides a great opportunity of running a competitive car.”
28-year-old Tom Chilton, who finished fifth in last year’s Championship with two victories in the USA and China, said: “I’m really looking forward to the challenge of driving a faster car with another highly rated team like ROAL Motorsport. Tom Coronel is a good friend and I think he will be a good team mate. We will be fast on the track and have the most fun at the same time whilst getting the job done.”
Tom Coronel, a four-time race winner in the WTCC, and has been in the Championship since its inception, added: “It’s good to stay with a professional team like ROAL Motorsport after being the best BMW driver in the last three years with them.
“I also am happy to stay in WTCC because I have been in the championship since the beginning. The series is the best package for my sponsors and also for myself as driver. Tom Chilton is a good friend and I had good battles with him last year so it’s nice to have him as team-mate.”