Gabriele Tarquini has been signed by Hyundai as their lead test driver for their new TCR programme, working with their customer racing team to develop the new i30 TCR.
Tarquini joins Hyundai from Lada, where he was instrumental in pushing the development of the Vesta WTCC forward last season, with the car taking three race victories before the team was closed at the end of 2016.
“To be able to bring such an experienced driver into the project at this early stage is a big step forward,” said Hyundai’s Customer Racing manager Andrea Adamo, with whom Tarquini worked with at Honda. “Gabriele Tarquini is recognized as one of the most successful current touring car drivers. However, he has also shown his ability to work with a team, helping to develop a project for competition. For us this is very important.”
“I’m very pleased to have joined Hyundai Motorsport and their TCR project. You can see from their rally team that they are working at a very high, a very professional, level. This will be my first time developing a TCR car so to be the lead test driver for the project is an exciting new challenge for me. I am looking forward to getting started and using my experience start developing a car from almost a blank sheet of paper. I met with some of the engineers on the project when I visited the team’s headquarters and I’m confident that we can work together to make the car competitive for a very tough set of regulations.”
Hyundai plan to start delivering their first cars to customers in December this year for the 2018 season, but TouringCarTimes understands the cars may make their race debut in the later rounds of this year’s TCR International Series.