BRC Racing will run two teams in the 2019 FIA WTCR, running Hyundais for Gabriele Tarquini and Norbert Michelisz under the ‘BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse’ banner and for Augusto Farfus and Nicky Catsburg under the ‘BRC Hyundai N Lukoil Racing Team’ banner.
At a launch event near Turin, Italy, the Italian outfit unveiled its latest liveries and the structure of its driver line-ups for the coming season.
Last year, the outfit ran just two i30 N TCR cars for Tarquini and Michelisz, with another two cars run by the Yvan Muller Racing (YMR) team.
With YMR moving on from running Hyundais, BRC has expanded its programme for 2019, taking on board former WTCC race-winners Farfus and Catsburg, who will make their WTCR débuts in the coming season.
The team will once again enjoy support from Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing, with Team Director Andrea Adamo wishing BRC well for defending its title in the coming season.
“The 2019 FIA WTCR season is just around the corner and it looks set to be another highly competitive season,” said Adamo. “Over the winter break, we have supported our customer racing teams and drivers in their preparations.
“The i30 N TCR was incredibly successful in the series last year, which has set the benchmark for the season ahead. Both teams, and all four drivers, are worthy championship contenders, and we wish them all the best for the challenge ahead.
“We are under no illusions as to the challenge our customers will face but we are ready to support them every step of the way.”
BRC Racing Team Team Principal Gabriele Rizzo is convinced that the team has the best possible drivers for the new season, with Tarquini looking to defend his drivers’ title.
“The Hyundai i30 N TCR represents one of the strongest chassis available for the TCR regulations,” said Rizzo. “The car is reliable and strong in all the main technical areas – braking, cornering, speed, aero and engine.
“We are convinced we have the ideal package to approach the season, and the best driver line-up we could have dreamed of.
“Last year we won the FIA WTCR with Gabriele and we finished second in the teams’ standings. The 2019 season is set to be definitely more competitive than 2018.
“Our mission is confirm our teams and drivers at the top, fighting for the overall victory until the last corner of the last race.”
Experienced Italian Tarquini will sport the #1 on his car in the coming season, and he is hoping the closest challenge will come from his team-mates.
“It will be a very competitive season as we look to defend the title,” said Tarquini. “Honestly, I hope my closest challengers are the other drivers in the i30 N TCR!
“We saw last year how close the battle for the title was – coming down to the final laps of the year – and it will be the same in 2019.
“Everyone will have been working over the winter, and we have new rules of the series, new drivers and a new track to contend with before we reach the end of the season.”
Norbert Michelisz will be partnered with Tarquini for the second season in a row, with the Hungarian gunning for the overall title.
“This year, I am aiming to win the title,” said Michelisz. “With what Gabriele achieved last year I know I am in the right car and the right team to be able to do it, but the FIA WTCR is very long, and so much can happen.
“It will be so important to be consistent. It’s going to be important to be the fastest of course, but at the same time it might also be the smartest driver who is celebrating at the end of the season.”
WTCR newbies Farfus and Catsburg have both praised the level of racing which they witnessed in 2018 and are looking forward to joining the action.
For Farfus, it will mark his return to FIA world-level touring cars after eight years away racing in the DTM.
“Watching last year’s WTCR as a spectator was really fun – some of the best world-level touring cars I’ve seen for some time,” said the Brazilian. “You could see from the results that the Hyundai was one of the best, if not the best, car in the category.
“As a driver you always want to be in the top series, in the most competitive car, so when the chance came up to drive the i30 N TCR with a customer team in 2019 it was an easy choice to join them.
“The season will bring some new challenges, but I think that we can face them with confidence and get some good results. ”
Catsburg will join Farfus in the Lukoil-backed team, returning to FIA touring cars after a year away.
“I’m really looking forward to going racing,” said the Dutchman. “I saw some races last year, and it was always very close and very competitive.
“I think that the WTCR will suit my driving style quite well, and I’m excited for the season, especially thinking of the races at the Nürburgring to come.
“Above all, I’m looking forward to working with Augusto and the BRC Hyundai N Lukoil Racing Team to start taking points and race wins on track.”