Hyundai confirm Michelisz, Tarquini, Catsburg and Engstler
Hyundai has confirmed a continued World Touring Car Cup programme with four cars for drivers Norbert Michelisz, Gabriele Tarquini, Nicky Catsburg and Luca Engstler.
“The Hyundai i30 N TCR already has a fantastic record in WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup competition, and the line-up of customer teams and drivers that will take the car to the 2020 grid means that should continue for the coming season,” said Andrew Johns, leader of Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing Operations.
The quartet of drivers will be divided into two teams, Michelisz and Tarquini at BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse and Catsburg and Engstler at Engstler Hyundai N Liqui Moly Racing Team.
“BRC Racing Team and Engstler Motorsport are two of the most successful TCR squads in the world so to have them both as Hyundai Motorsport customers is great,” said Johns.
“Had it not been for the cost cutting measures put in place for this year, it would not have been possible to be able to have two such strong teams in the series. For Engstler Motorsport and Luca Engstler the move into WTCR comes after massive success in national and regional championships, and shows perfectly the potential of a strong car, strong team and strong driver combination in TCR racing.”
Reigning champion Michelisz, who claimed last year’s title after a tough fight with Honda driver Esteban Guerrieri and Lynk & Co driver Yvan Muller, is aiming to defend his title in 2020.
“After winning the title last year, I’m obviously very happy to be continuing with the Hyundai i30 N TCR and BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse for 2020. For me it’s a really comfortable environment,” said Michelisz.
“I feel I really work well with BRC, and with Gabriele as my teammate and that shows in the results we have had for the last two seasons. Of course, 2020 will be a new challenge. There are new circuits on the calendar and new tyres for everybody on the grid. I’m sure the other drivers are working hard to be ready for the season, but we are also pushing for the start of the year. I know I have the title, but I know we can be faster in 2020.”
Luca Engstler made his WTCR debut as a Hyundai wild card during the Macau race weekend, finishing 14th in the third race.
“Joining the WTCR grid is really a dream for me. I really like TCR racing, and the Hyundai i30 N TCR is one of the best cars in the category,” said Engstler.
“I have to thank the Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing department. As part of their Junior Driver program last year I was able to take advantage of some of their knowledge and learn from guys like Norbi, Gabriele and Nicky. Then they trusted me to drive in Macau last year which was a great experience and something that should help me for this season. Hopefully I can repay some of the support they’ve given me and help keep the i30 N TCR at the front of the WTCR field in 2020.”
Tarquini, who has been with Hyundai since day one of the TCR programme, is keen to secure both the drivers’ and teams’ title.
“I’m very happy to be racing with BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse for the 2020 WTCR season. We were the car to beat in the i30 N TCR, and our goal is to be the chased, rather than the chasers, again this year. Personally I will be aiming to make more visits to the podium, but we must also keep our focus on the ultimate prize; to take home both WTCR titles,” said Tarquini.
Dutchman Catsburg will start his second season for the team this season and is hoping to improve his result of finishing 14th overall last year with Team Engstler in 2020.
“I’m excited for a second season in the series, and with a new team,” said Catsburg.
“Engstler Motorsport have a lot of experience and success with the i30 N TCR around the world and, of course, before that as well. Hopefully together we can add to that story this season. I really enjoyed driving the Hyundai i30 N TCR in FIA WTCR last year. The series has some of the best racing, and best touring car drivers in the world and is incredibly competitive on track in every session.”
Gone from the Hyundai line-up is Augusto Farfus Jr who finished 15th overall last season.