Hugo Valente has decided to retire from professional motorsport, handing former British Touring Car Championship racer Dan Lloyd the chance to move up to the TCR International Series with Craft-Bamboo Racing this weekend.
Valente moved to TCR International this year, having spent the past four seasons in the World Touring Car Championship. The Frenchman endured a tumultuous start to the year, recording two podium finishes and three retirements out of the first eight races.
However the 24-year-old has now decided to call his professional motor racing career a day, handing Lloyd the opportunity to try out international touring car racing.
“Unfortunately, the results were not as I expected so I’ve decided to step away from the sport,” said Valente. “I have my own family to take care of now, my little girl is nine months old and nothing makes me happier than being with her.
“I want to give her the same life I’ve been given from my parents and I know that’s nearly impossible to do as a racing driver.
“It’s been a difficult decision and not taken lightly but I’m ready to turn the page and start doing something new.
“I’m convinced that it will be the right decision in the long term even though it might give me a little feeling of leaving things “unfinished” at the moment.”
Lloyd steps up to international touring car racing
Lloyd had been competing in the BTCC until it was announced earlier this week that the 25-year-old Brit was to leave his drive at the factory MG team after an equally challenging start to the year.
“I am really excited to be joining Lukoil Craft-Bamboo Racing,” said Lloyd. “The TCR International Series is something that I have wanted to be part of for a while now.
“It was really ideal to join Lukoil Craft-Bamboo Racing because of my previous relationship with Craft-Bamboo back in 2015. I have got some really good memories of helping to win the GT Asia Series drivers’ championship with Darryl O’Young and I now have a lot of experience in front-wheel drive cars.
“Although TCR is a little different, I am very happy to be back in the same team and I am really looking forward to getting to Austria to begin my TCR International Series campaign.”
Craft-Bamboo Racing CEO Richard Coleman paid tribute to Valente for his efforts in the team’s short relationship with the Frenchman.
“We are disappointed to be losing Hugo at this stage of the season, as he is one of the most naturally talented drivers I have ever had the pleasure of working with,” said Coleman.
“I am delighted that Daniel Lloyd was on the market at the right time and I am sure that he will be able to win races this year and help the team achieve their goals.”