|i30 N TCR customers confirmed for 2020 FIA WTCR campaign
- Four Hyundai i30 N TCR will compete in the 2020 WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup season, divided equally between two teams
- Defending drivers’ title winner Norbert Michelisz continues alongside Gabriele Tarquini for BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse
- Following success in national and regional series Engstler Motorsport step into WTCR as Engstler Hyundai N Liqui Moly Racing Team with drivers Nicky Catsburg and Luca Engstler.
Four Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing-built Hyundai i30 N TCR will line-up on the grid for the third season of the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup, with drivers looking to add to the manufacturer’s success at the pinnacle of international TCR competition.
Following a very strong 2019 season the Italian-based BRC Racing Team continue their work with the i30 N TCR after delivering drivers to the last two series titles. Gabriele Tarquini lifted the trophy in 2018 and was succeeded by stable-mate Norbert Michelisz last year, while the duo claimed second place in the teams’ points on both occasions. The outfit has been vital in making the Hyundai i30 N TCR the most successful car by far in WTCR competition, Tarquini and Michelisz contributing 13 of the 20 Hyundai race wins in the series.
Unsurprisingly then, both men remain with the team for a third campaign, running under the BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse flag. Their aim will be not only to again claim the drivers’ crown, but to give BRC Racing Team a title of their own.
Having been responsible for four drivers throughout the 2019 season, the squad is fully focused on a two-car effort for 2020. However, they are joined in running the i30 N TCR on the world stage by Engstler Hyundai N Liqui Moly Racing Team, who will also enter a pair of cars.
Franz Engstler’s eponymous team is a familiar name to motorsport fans, and already one of the most successful in the world with the i30 N TCR. Since first taking delivery of the car in 2018 they have won races in TCR Germany, TCR Asia, TCR China and TCR Malaysia with their drivers taking the championship in three of those series.
In stepping into WTCR for the first time they take on the experience of Nicky Catsburg, who continues at the wheel of a Hyundai in the series for a second season, having previously raced with BRC Racing Team. Joining him is 19-year-old Luca Engstler. Part of the first year of the Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing Junior Driver initiative Engstler has an enviable record in TCR competition, with victories around the world – including in TCR Europe and TCR Asia – and four TCR titles to his name.
For 2020 he moves onto the WTCR grid full time, having driven to two top-ten finishes as a wildcard in the series’ weekend at Slovakia last year before making his full debut at the Race of Macau. He will be one of the young drivers eligible for the newly introduced rookie category.
The season ahead will present several unknowns to the teams and drivers competing for the 2020 title. The series will employ a revised compensation weight formula, and run on Goodyear tyres for the first time, while visiting several circuits for the first time, including a race at the Inje Speedium in South Korea.
Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing Operations Leader Andrew Johns said: “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. 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. 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.”
Norbert Michelisz said: “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. 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.”
Gabriele Tarquini said: “I’m already excited for the new FIA WTCR season, and to get back to racing with the Hyundai i30 N TCR and BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse again. Together Norbi and I have been very quick for the last two years, and the success we’ve had as drivers shows that. For me, personally, the aim is to compete for wins regularly again and challenge for the overall crown at the end of the year – that’s what racing is about. But we also have to look at the teams’ standings as well. We’ve finished second the last two years, so it would be great to finish 2020 with both titles at BRC for the first time.”
Nicky Catsburg said: “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. I’m excited for a second season in the series, and with a new team. Engstler Motorsport is new to WTCR, but they 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. We still have two months to prepare for the first event, which I’m sure will be busy so that everybody is ready for the new challenges this season.”
Luca Engstler said: “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. 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.”