Tom Coronel will race in the FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) in 2018 at the wheel of a Boutsen-Ginion Racing Honda Civic TCR, partnering up with factory Honda racer Tiago Monteiro.
Coronel has been a mainstay of the World Touring Car Championship since 2005, and he is one of only two drivers to compete in every single season full-time, along with Rob Huff.
Now Coronel has committed to racing in WTCR in 2018, with Boutsen-Ginion Racing, who he has previously competed in the TCR Benelux Series.
“Of course, I have done everything to become part of this since the first signs emerged, so I am really thrilled that it has now worked out,” said the Dutchman. “Many people know that this is a development I hoped to see two years ago already.
“The FIA WTCR is a worthy successor of the FIA WTCC in which I participated every season, but it is fair to say that, from a sporting perspective, I was often making up the numbers in the most recent years.
“Now, we are facing a new challenge with identical equipment for everybody, at tracks all over the world and for me an excellent situation with a brand-new Honda Civic built by JAS Motorsport and run by Boutsen Ginion. A car that has specially been built for this championship and that allows us to take on the other brands at a level playing field.
“Personally, I reckon that this could very well be the best season start of my entire career in touring car racing. It certainly is the best package I have had in the last ten years.
“I certainly dare to predict that this year, I will be at least able to match the total number of trophies I have scored over the last five years in the FIA WTCC.”
Coronel is looking forward to being able to enjoy the benefit of pre-season testing, as well as working with experienced team-mate Monteiro, having run as a sole entrant in the WTCC for the past two seasons.
“The good thing is that the Civics are ready,” added the 45-year-old. “That enables us to start testing well in time. Official test days are scheduled at the end of March and that is when everything really has to be sorted.
“I am totally confident and I am looking forward to working with Tiago Monteiro who is bringing in his vast knowledge.
“Another special thing is that we are racing at Circuit Zandvoort as a part of the ‘Jumbo Racedagen driven by Max Verstappen’ on the Whitsun weekend (20-21 May). That is a fantastic event to race in my home country with this new class.”
Coronel also thanked Roberto Ravaglia and his ROAL Motorsport team, with whom Coronel has raced for the past seven season in the WTCC in both BMW and RML Chevrolet machinery.
“For seven years, I have enjoyed a fantastic co-operation with Roberto Ravaglia’s ROAL Motorsport team. When the FIA WTCR plans came up, he soon made it clear to me that he would not be able to realise such a project in time, so after years with highs and lows, we split in a harmonious way.
“I will certainly miss Roberto Ravaglia, Aldo Preo and Pietro, who was my engineer for seven years. And the same can be said for the best coffee in the paddock! But now, it is on for a new adventure. I can’t wait to push the throttle in my new Honda.”