Photo: Honda Racing Team JAS

Honda sign Rob Huff, Tiago Monteiro & Norbert Michelisz for 2016

Honda have confirmed they will expand to a three car programme for 2016, with Rob Huff and Norbert Michelisz joining Tiago Monteiro driving the Honda Civic WTCCs.

Michelisz has been working with JAS Motorsport in developing the Honda Civic during the past two seasons while racing with the privateer Zengo Motorsport team, with which he has raced since 2010, and now joins the factory JAS Motorsport operation.

2012 champion Rob Huff also joins the team, leaving Lada after two years with the Russian manufacturer, although already has experience working with JAS Motorsport after racing with them at Macau in the TCR Series last November.

“Over the past couple of seasons, I’ve become very used to seeing the Civic WTCCs in front of me, so it’s terrific to have the chance to race one this year,” said Huff. “I won’t be happy to finish my career as only a one-time world champion, and there’s a tremendous opportunity with Honda and JAS to correct that statistic.

“I raced a JAS-built Civic TCR at Macau last year and it was a very well-built and fast machine, so that gives me plenty of confidence that we’ll have a strong season. I can’t wait to start testing.”

Michelisz, who won the independents’ title for a second time in his career last year, is also thrilled to be joining the factory team.

“I am thrilled to become a factory Honda driver in the FIA World Touring Car Championship with JAS Motorsport,” he said. “I have raced Honda machinery for the past three years and it has been an extremely good relationship that has enabled me to win races and take the Yokohama Trophy last year. I’m very grateful and hope I can repay the faith Honda have shown in me this year.”

The only constant in the team will be 39-year-old Tiago Monteiro, following Gabriele Tarquini’s departure from the team. Monteiro has been with JAS Motorsport since 2012 and enjoyed one of his strongest seasons in 2015 with two victories in the Civic.

“I’m delighted to be staying with Honda for the 2016 season,” he said. “We’ve made a huge amount of progress with the car over the past couple of years and I know everyone has been working extremely hard over the winter to make the car even faster. This gives me a great amount of confidence that we can have a really good year, despite the incredibly high level of competition in the championship.”