Moroccan racer Mehdi Bennani will continue to race for Sébastien Loeb Racing in 2018, racing a Volkswagen Golf GTi for the team in the FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR).
Bennani remains with the French team for a fourth straight season in 2018 and will be partnered by 2012 WTCC champion Rob Huff in the team’s Volkswagen Golf GTi cars.
“Staying with Sébastien Loeb Racing for another campaign was an easy and obvious decision as we have built a strong relationship of trust over the years,” said Bennani. “WTCR cars are slightly different from the previous ones I raced but our technical team has already showcased their professionalism and expertise.
“I’m confident we can fight for wins right from the start with the Golf GTI TCR. The race format is the same as in recent years and we are familiar with all circuits on the calendar.
“I can’t wait to get stuck in with the entire staff for the first tests, and really look forward to featuring at the sharpest end of the grid for my home race in Marrakech, which kicks off the season in April.”
Team co-founder Dominique Heintz is hoping the team can continue to challenge for silverware in 2018, having secured the WTCC Trophy for independents with Tom Chilton in 2017.
“Since 2015, the Sébastien Loeb Racing team has collected many trophies and accolades in the WTCC,” added Heintz. “Given our strong results, we had to extend our involvement at the top.
“The launch of WTCR is excellent news, as it combines well-thought technical regulations with high media exposure to teams like ours thanks to promoter Eurosport Events’s proficiency and know-how.
“In the Golf GTI TCR, Volkswagen Motorsport has developed the ideal car to fight for race wins and we already enjoy a strong and fruitful relationship with them.
“As for our drivers, their talent and skills mean we’re confident that we have the best assets to keep adding to our tally and list of achievements.”
Head of Eurosport Events, François Ribeiro, welcomed the news of SLR’s continued involvement in the Eurosport-run championship.
“Sébastien Loeb Racing has proven itself at the top level of touring cars since 2014, initially as Citroën Racing’s satellite team in the FIA World Touring Car Championship before going on to achieve success in its own right in the series.
“I have no doubt that SLR can transfer all their knowledge and experience to the FIA World Touring Car Cup when it runs the facelift Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR.
“In Mehdi Bennani and Rob Huff, SLR has two super-experienced drivers to call on. Although they have never worked together, the fact they will do so under SLR’s guidance means I have every faith in the team being highly competitive in WTCR and continuing the success story of the Golf GTI TCR.”