Tom Coronel will switch to racing an Audi RS3 LMS in the 2020 FIA World Touring Car Cup, marking the Dutchman’s third different car in his three seasons in WTCR to-date.
Coronel will remain with the Belgian Comtoyou Racing outfit with which he raced a CUPRA in the 2019 WTCR.
Last year the 47-year-old finished just 21st overall in the drivers’ championship standings, after a challenging year that saw him secure a best finish of sixth at the Nürburgring Nordschleife.
With rival Rob Huff not taking part in the 2020 WTCR, Coronel is now the longest-serving driver in World Touring Cars, having competed continuously since 2005, whilst also having raced full-season in the European Touring Car Championship, which evolved into WTCC, from 2002 to 2004 beforehand.
“Indeed, a different car, but the same team as last year,” said Coronel. “For me, racing with the same team for a longer time is important.
“Last year, Comtoyou Racing and I certainly was a good match. Co-operation was pleasant for both sides and now we have made the switch to Audi. The team also has experience with this brand.
“For me, Audi isn’t entirely new either: I raced an Audi during the Le Mans 24 Hours back in 2001. In October last year, during the TCR Spa 500, Audi showed its interest in a co-operation with the team and with me as the driver. That gave me a good feeling, also because Audi is involved in this project in various ways.
“Technically, the Audi has many similarities to the CUPRA I raced last year, but the RS3 really surprised me during my first tests in Spain with the Goodyear tyres that are new for this year.
“It is different in several aspects after all and that gives me a good feeling. We also know already that we will be doing some further testing prior to the first race weekend to fine-tune the car.”
In 2020 Coronel has elected to change his starting number to represent the number of years that he has been competing in motorsport, with 19 of those in the Eurosport Events-promoted top level of the sport.
“Last year, I raced with starting number 50 to put my loyal partner DHL in the limelight for its 50th anniversary.
“This year, my starting number is 31, for the 30 years I have been racing already and the year that has now started.
“Moreover, I sat down together with a few people to analyse my history in racing. When you take into account the series that precedes the current WTCR (ETCC, WTCC), my race with the Carly Motors BMW at Estoril and the European TCR races, it adds up to 413 races.
“There is nobody else to have been racing in this championship for so long. When you also add my other touring car races, like the ones with the Citroën AX, the BMW in the Dutch Touring Car Championship and more, the total is 484 races.
“With twenty WTCR races scheduled for the upcoming season, my total certainly will exceed 500 touring car races this year. A unique feat that we will be celebrating accordingly!
“Another new element for 2020 is that we are going back to one qualifying in the WTCR and that the number of races per weekend will be reduced from three to two, so just like it was in the days of the WTCC.
“For me, that is a good development, especially for the non-factory teams like we are. In the past years, we sometimes struggled to get everything done in the right way and, above all, in time.
“I think that will improve with this change.”