Argentinian José Mariá López will make his World Touring Car Championship début next month when the series makes its first visit to Argentina, competing at the wheel of a Wiechers-Sport BMW.
López , 30, has spent the past few years competing in the TC 2000 championship in Argentina, winning three titles. He will be only the second Argentinian driver to compete in the WTCC, after Leonel Pernía raced a Chevrolet at Monza in the 2010 season.
López admits that he also had the opportunity to race in 2010 but was forced to turn down the offer due to his commitments in the TC 2000 series.
“I was offered the opportunity to race myself in 2010, but I was forced to decline because I was fighting for the TC2000 title,” explained López. “Now that opportunity comes up again and at the right time. I feel very proud to represent my own Country in a World Championship and I wish to thank the Automóvil Club Argentino and the event promoter for offering me this second chance.”
López will also be the only driver with experience of the Termas de Río Hondo circuit, and hopes to use this to his advantage.
“I think that I will have an advantage only in Friday’s testing,” said López. “In the WTCC there are some of the best touring car drivers in the world, therefore I expect them to be very quick in learning everything about the track…”
Dominic Greiner, Team Manager of wiechers-Sport, is looking forward to competing in Argentina with a local driver. The team’s regular racer, Swiss driver Fredy Barth, is unable to participate in next weekend’s event due to other commitments.
“I’m really happy we signed with him,” added Greiner. “Everybody involved in the event put a lot of effort into this and now we are looking forward to a great weekend in Argentina. ‘Pechito’ [López] is very popular and I’m sure he will learn quickly how to handle the WTCC car. I hope we will score many points in the races.”