WestCoast Racing will run two Volkswagen Golf GTi cars in the TCR Europe series in 2019, with Italian Gianni Morbidelli returning to the Swedish team to be partnered by Finnish racer Olli Kangas.
Morbidelli previously raced with WestCoast for three years in the TCR International Series between 2015 and 2017, initially in Honda Civic machinery for the first two years before racing a Volkswagen in 2017.
Last year, the 51-year-old moved to the FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) with an Alfa Romeo Giulietta run by Team Mulsanne, but the partnership did not yield a result better than 13th for Morbidelli and he split ways with the team after the first half of the year.
WestCoast Racing will be making their first full-season entry into TCR Europe, although the team did run three cars at the 2018 season finale in Barcelona for BTCC champion Ash Sutton, Andreas Bäckman and Jessica Bäckman.
“I’m happy to return to WestCoast Racing,” said ex-F1 racer Morbidelli. “I spent three years with them and have great memories. It’s a big pleasure to get to drive the Golf GTI in such a competitive championship.
“I’m grateful to Dick Jönsson Wigroth and James Nixon for the opportunity they have given me, it’s always a pleasure to work with people I respect and consider to be good friends.”
22-year-old Kangas moves to TCR Europe after spending the past two seasons racing in the STCC in SEAT and CUPRA machinery. The Finn also contested selected races in TCR UK, TCR Germany and the inaugural TCR Europe event in 2017.
“After a couple of seasons in TCR Scandinavia I’m delighted to join WestCoast Racing and TCR Europe,” said Kangas. “The tracks are very different in this championship, but they will be a lot of fun to learn.
“I’m excited to work together with such a knowledgeable team and I hope to learn quickly from my new teammate Gianni.”
WestCoast Racing Team Principal Dick Jönsson Wigroth believes that Morbidelli is ‘more motivated than ever’ to succeed in 2019.
“I am very happy that Morbidelli returns to us,” he added. “He is more motivated than ever, and we enjoy working with him both on and off the track.
“I am also excited to welcome Kangas, we have followed him over the past couple of years and believe he can deliver a few surprises.
“TCR Europe is one of the most competitive TCR championships around and we are looking forward to take on the competition.”