Tom Coronel makes GT switch – out of touring cars for the first time in 24 years

Reigning TCR Europe champion Tom Coronel will not be back on the grid as the season starts next weekend at Vallelunga. The touring car veteran will instead race a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup for Max Kruse Racing in the Nürburgring Langstrecken Serie.

Coronel’s switch to GTs will mean that he will not race full-time in touring cars for the first time since 2000.

“Of course, touring cars has been very important in my life, more important than anything else in racing,” said Coronel to TouringCarTimes.

“But the opportunities were not strong enough to do TCR, budget-wise it was a little bit too difficult. So it’s the first time in my career that I couldn’t find the budget that I’ve done in the last few years.”

2001 saw Coronel joining the Dutch Touring Car Championship with BMW.

The year after was the Dutchman’s international touring car debut, joining Carly Motorsport in the European Touring Car Championship.

Coronel remained in the championship, which turned into the World Touring Car Championship in 2005, until its final season in 2017 – clinching the independent’s trophy in 2009.

Last year saw Coronel claiming his first major touring car title after securing the TCR Europe honours with Comtoyou Racing.

“I made this choice also because I got the opportunity to do the VLN and the 24 hours at the Nürburgring which I know quite well. I also I am quite busy with my son in karting,” said Coronel.

“I will be too long away with TCR World Tour to manage these things and also because of the budget. And I won the TCR Europe last year, so I say why do it again.”

The Dutchman is however not ruling out a touring car return later.

“Of course, I will never forget touring cars and you never know with ‘Tommie’, probably I will get homesick or ‘TCR sick’ and I will be back,” said Coronel.

The Dutchman will race alongside fellow touring car veteran Tiago Monteiro, Jan Jaap van Roon and Paul Meijer in the Cup2 class of the VLN this year, including the Nürburgring 24 hour race.

“I must have done some things right in my life because I have been racing for 25 years and still get invitations like this,” said Monteiro.

“Thanks to Jan Jaap and Tom for this great opportunity to return to the most exciting and challenging circuit in the world!

“Moreover, it is a great pleasure to drive together with Tom. We have known each other for a long time, we have been each other’s rivals, teammates, but above all we are very good friends, and now we share the car with two more friends, which makes it all even nicer. I’m really looking forward to it!”