In the 2014 season of the FIA World Touring Car Championship, the Yokohama Drivers’ Trophy will be reserved for competitors at the wheel of TC2 cars in compliance with the 2013 Technical Regulations.
With the arrival of the more powerful and faster TC1 cars, championship promoter’s Eurosport Events decided to reserve the trophy for the former generation of vehicles, in order to encourage the teams to keep on racing them until more TC1 cars are available on the market for customers.
As a further boost, and thanks to Yokohama’s support, Eurosport Events will propose a euro 40,000 start money to the competitors entered in the Trophy on a full season basis.
The Yokohama Teams’ Trophy remains open to all teams that do not benefit from direct support by a car manufacturer.
In 2013 the Yokohama Drivers’ Trophy was won by James Nash of bamboo-engineering, while RML clinched the Teams’ Trophy
FIRST RUN FOR THE NEW HONDA CIVIC
The new Honda Civic WTCC that will compete in the 2014 FIA World Touring Car Championship successfully completed its first run yesterday.
JAS Motorsport ran the full 2014-spec car during a short shake down session at Varano de’ Melegari’s Riccardo Paletti circuit, near Parma in Italy.
Gabriele Tarquini took the wheel for a few laps and did not report any major technical issue.
The team is now ready to begin next week a proper testing programme in preparation of the new season.
THOMPSON: READY TO CLOSE THE GAP
James Thompson faces his second full season with LADA Sport Lukoil in WTCC.
After some races in 2009 with the Priora and two appearances in 2012 with the new Granta, the Briton led the Russian team during the past season; he claimed the best results ever for LADA (three sixth places at Porto and Suzuka) and was close to finish on the podium at Macau.
Thompson is one of the most experienced touring car drivers around, with a tally of two British Touring Car Championship and two European Touring Car Cup titles. In WTCC he won four races (the first one at the championship’s inaugural event at Monza in 2005) and finished third in the 2007 Drivers’ Championship.
“I’m very excited about the coming season probably more so than ever before as we have continuity as a team, and the new regulations will provide new challenges for both teams and drivers. In particular faster more exciting cars always make a driver happy!”
What do you expect from the new cars in terms of performance and handling?
“I’m sure the extra speed and braking performance, combined with the bigger tyres will have a huge impact on lap times, although it’s difficult to predict if the cars will be significantly more difficult to drive. I have a feeling that the car should be more neutral in its balance and so should be more fun to race.”
Do you reckon that the new regulations will help LADA to improve?
“For us the new regulations represent an opportunity to make a significant step forward in narrowing the gap to our competitors. We are now allowed much more freedom for suspension design, which was a real hindrance for us. But in saying that, we must produce the right solutions and this is why we tested components last year in preparation for 2014. And we know they were a large step in the right direction. On the negative side we will still struggle with the overall wheelbase compared to the rest, but we look forward to the coming years and the new Priora for the next big step forward!”
When will you start testing the full 2014-spec Granta car?
“We plan to start initial testing mid February, the cars will begin the long trip from Togliatti very soon and back to our base at Oreca in Magny-Cours.”
The partnership with Oreca and the arrival of Rob Huff may mark a turning point for LADA.
“I believe LADA’s partnership with Oreca is a great benefit; they are a fantastic company and I have to say we are all a family working hand in hand for a common goal. I use the word family quite a lot as I don’t think many people believe how close knit our small operation is, despite the language barriers. We have worked together on and off, even in adversity, for quite a long time and it’s been a privilege for me to be here from the very beginning. Now we are really starting to grow up and develop as a team, hence our expansion to three drivers, and welcoming a former world champion into our team is raising our stature once more.”
What do you expect from your competitors in 2014?
“The competition will be fierce, with nobody knowing where they stand I guess till after the first few races. Although on the positive, we will share some tests together pre season, but that’s just really a guide.”
What are your personal ambitions for the upcoming season?
“Well it’s my 20th year in touring cars, my 40th birthday coming up and I want nothing more than to see our project move to another level. Yes, I would love to be on the podium whichever step a few times, but the reality is I still love my racing and more importantly I want to see team principal Victor Shapovalov, race engineer Marco Calovolo and the boys achieve what we set out to do: establish LADA as WTCC race winners…”
SÉBASTIEN LOEB’S VISIT TO ARGENTINA
Citroën Racing’s driver Sébastien Loeb spent a few days in Argentina.
The purpose for this visit was to test at Termas de Río Hondo circuit that will host the WTCC Race of Argentina on August 3.
Last Sunday the nine-time World Rally champion completed fifty or so laps at the wheel of the DG MotorSport Peugeot 308 that Facundo Chapur raced last year to clinch the C3 class title in the Turismo Nacional Championship.
After the test, Loeb took advantage from his stay in Argentina for visiting the Rally Dakar. On Monday he met drivers and riders at Salta during the raid’s rest day, and on Tuesday he followed the stage between Calama and Iquique on board of an helicopter.
“It was an amazing experience. I was impressed to see the competitors running at high speed on such uneven grounds. And it is also impressive thinking about their physical effort. During a rally we drive in special stages for a maximum of 40/50 kilometres, then I cannot even conceive how they can drive so fast for more than 400 kilometres…” Loeb said.
PODIUM FOR MÜNNICH MOTORSPORT
The ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport team of René Münnich, Marc Basseng and Rob Huff claimed a brilliant podium result last weekend in the Dubai 24 Hours race.
Sharing a Mercedes-Benz SLS GT3, the trio completed 600 laps and finished second overall, only three laps behind the winning Porsche 997 GT3 R run by Stadler Motorsport.
“It has been a great day for us. The car ran without any problems, therefore I thank the whole team for their great job,” Münnich said.
And Basseng added: “It was our first race together for the three of us. René had a great pace and Rob was fast and efficient as usual. We have been unlucky to receive a few time penalties for something it was not our fault, but in the end the second position is a great achievement for the whole crew.”
Huff completed over ten hours behind the wheel as the team steadily climbed up towards the sharp end of the field after starting from 12th on the grid.
“I’d like to congratulate my two team-mates, on an incredible result. This really was the perfect way to end a year’s association and sharing the car with such gentlemen was an honour. They both proved that they’re quality drivers. It’s great to achieve such a positive result as a team. It was a fantastic feeling to win for Münnich Motorsport in WTCC and this podium in Dubai proves beyond doubt that my endurance racing capabilities are equal to my touring car capabilities,” the Briton said.
RACING DIVAS WIN CLASS AT DUBAI
The Racing Divas all-female team led by Paulien Zwart, Tom Coronel’s wife, won the A3T class in the Dubai 24 Hour race for the second consecutive year.
Zwart shared a BMW 320D run by Schubert Motorsport with her fellow lady drivers Gaby Uljee, Sandra van der Sloot, Shirley van der Lof and Natasja Smit Sø.
The trio completed 496 laps and left three laps behind the second and third-classified SEAT León cars of Motorsport Services and Prefa Racing Team Australia.
The Racing Divas used this race to raise funds for charity
FIA UNVEILS 2014 ETCC CALENDAR
The 2014 FIA European Touring Car Cup will be run on five race meetings once again.
The first four rounds will be part of World Touring Car Championship weekends, while the fifth will be a stand-alone ETCC event.
The season will kick off at Le Castellet on 20 April and finish at Pergusa on 27 September.
2014 ETCC CALENDAR
20 April Le Castellet (FRA)
11 May Slovakia Ring (SVK)
25 May Salzburgring (AUT)
22 June Spa-Francorchamps (BEL)
27 September Pergusa (ITA)