Photo: TCR Europe

KCMG chosen as second Honda squad, with Attila Tassi joining WTCR

KCMG will become the second Honda Racing driver supported team in the 2019 World Touring Car Cup, with 19-year-old Attila Tassi joining Tiago Monteiro at the Hong Kong-based team.

KCMG ran a pair of Hondas for Attila Tassi and Josh Files in the 2018 TCR Europe Touring Car Series, with Tassi remaining an outside championship contender right to the end of the season.

Tassi will pair up with Tiago Monteiro, who will make his full-time return to racing this year in the team’s second Honda Civic Type R FK8 TCR, after making a one-off appearance at the Japanese round last year. The team will carry sponsorship from Hungarian energy drink firm Hell Energy, and Monteiro’s long-time supporter, German technology company Brose.

The Honda reshuffle finalises the Belgian Boutsen Ginion Racing team’s departure from the championship after one season, with Münnich Motorsport confirmed as running the other two Hondas for an all-Argentinian driver line-up of Néstor Girolami and Esteban Guerrieri this year.

“I’m absolutely delighted to become a Honda Racing driver and to step up to the WTCR for a full season with KCMG,” said Tassi. “It’s a dream come true and I’m very grateful to have this opportunity at 19 years of age. So far in my racing career I’ve always been able to fight for victories and podiums, but I know that this will be the highest-level series I’ve ever contested and I had a taste of this in my wild card outing at the Hungaroring last year.

“There will be many circuits I have never been to before and lots of new additional things too, so I know that I have to take this as a learning year, but the environment in the team is very good for a young driver like me, so I think we can achieve some strong results and move forwards during the year.”

Monteiro, who will race the #18 Honda Civic TCR for the team, added:
“It’s incredibly exciting to return to racing full-time this year with KCMG and Honda and to welcome a young, fast and determined team-mate in Attila, who I know will be great to work with. KCMG may be new to WTCR, but they have a fantastic track record in every form of motorsport they’ve contested plus a huge amount of touring car experience within the team, so we should be competitive from the first event.

“It’s been a long road to recovery, but the support I’ve been shown throughout by Honda, the WTCR and the entire motorsport family has been incredible. Attending the events when I wasn’t racing was tough, and my comeback in Japan was incredibly emotional. It’s been a tough a journey, but I have no doubt that I’m stronger and more motivated than I’ve ever been and eager to win the championship that was taken away from me by injury in 2017.”

Team principal Paul Ip said:
“We are very happy to make the step up to afull-time WTCR programme with the Honda Civic Type R TCR in 2019. Last year was our first with the car and we not only won the TCR Europe teams’ championship, but also made two wild card appearances in WTCR, which has led on to this logical step. In Tiago we have one of the most experienced touring car drivers in the world, who has been a consistent race winner at this level and in Attila we have an exciting you prospect who raced with us last year and has the potential to go right to the top of the tree in WTCR.”