Néstor Girolami joins Tiago Monteiro and Esteban Guerrieri at Honda

Néstor Girolami joins Tiago Monteiro and Esteban Guerrieri at Honda

Esteban Guerrieri
Photo: Clement Marin / DPPI

Néstor Girolami will return to the top-level of FIA World Touring Cars in 2019 after being revealed as an official Honda Racing driver for the coming FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) season.

At the same time, Honda has confirmed that Münnich Motorsport will continue to represent the Japanese brand in WTCR, with a second team to be revealed soon.

Girolami joins Argentine compatriot Guerrieri at Honda and Münnich Motorsport for the coming season, marking his return to World Touring Cars after a year away.

The 29-year-old previously raced with Volvo for a full season in 2017, but the change to WTCR for 2018 left him without a drive. In 2018 he took part in selected races in the Stock Car Brazil series as well as racing in his native Argentina.

“I am extremely proud to join the Honda Racing family in the FIA WTCR,” said Girolami. “I’m very grateful to ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport for trusting me with the Civic Type R TCR, which is a car very capable of being the championship winner.

“I spent the Suzuka race weekend last year with the team and it was very clear from the way they do things that the potential is there to fight for the championship.

“I’m thrilled to have Esteban as a team-mate because we have a very good relationship. I will give it my very best this year and cannot wait to begin testing.”

Guerrieri, who has been a race winner in the Formula 3 Euro Series, Superleague Formula, Formula Renault 3.5, Indy Lights, WTCC, WTCR and Super TC2000, is looking forward to welcoming Girolami into the team.

“I am very happy to continue with the Honda Racing Family and with ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport in 2019,” said the 34-year-old. “Last year I had some incredible high points, including winning at the two most difficult circuits on the calendar at the Nurburgring and Macau, and we ended the season with the best momentum of any team.

“Having ‘Bebu’ [Girolami] in the team with me will be great. We are good friends and have raced against each other for many years. He’s an extremely fast driver and a great team player, which will be incredibly important as we mount our challenge for the championship.”

Monteiro will be an official Honda driver for an eighth consecutive year, with the 42-year-old now fit enough to campaign for an entire season, after making a one-off return to racing at Suzuka in 2018 following his high-speed testing accident in 2017 which sidelined him for more than a year.

Both Monteiro’s team and his team-mate will be revealed at a later date.

“We are very happy to continue to race the Honda Civic Type R TCR in the 2019 WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup,” said Team Principal René Münnich.

“Since entering World Touring Cars in 2013, we have gained in competitiveness year-on-year and in the WTCR in 2018 we achieved our best-ever season in the discipline with four race wins and third place in the Drivers’ and Teams’ Championships.

“The Civic Type R TCR is an extremely strong car, around which we’re excited to build our programme and in Esteban and ‘Bebu’ we have two front-running drivers who are as eager to challenge for the title as we are.”