The entry list for the 2011 FIA World Touring Car Championship that will kick off on March 20th at Curitiba, Brazil, was released today; this list remains subjected to the FIA approval.
Twenty-one competitors entered for the full season plus Carlos "Caca" Bueno's Chevrolet Cruze that will take part in the Brazilian event. The list is formed by drivers coming from sixteen countries at the wheel of cars built from four different manufacturers: BMW, Chevrolet, SEAT and Volvo.
"We are satisfied because we retain a solid twenty-one car grid in spite of the recession that keeps on affecting motorsport activities worldwide. This makes us trustful in the near future, especially when we look at the first full season participation of Polestar Racing with a Volvo car. It is also very rewarding to see that all the represented Manufacturers are investing on the new 1.6-litre turbo engine. And this will enable all the teams to switch to the new engines sometimes during this season," Promoter Marcello Lotti commented, adding:
"I want to say that we have signed two-year agreements with most of the teams, which provides already a solid basis of twenty cars again for 2012; a minimum guaranteed that we are trying to enhance further through the negotiations currently ongoing with other Manufacturers."
Chevrolet Drivers Visit Geneva Motor Show
Yvan Muller, Rob Huff and Alain Menu attended the press days of the Geneva Motor Show at the Chevrolet stand.
The three racers posed for pictures, were available for interviews and acted as brand ambassadors and test drivers during the presentation of the new Chevrolet Volt.
Chevrolet's presence at the Motor Show revolves around two main topics: the brand's centenary and the victory in the 2010 FIA World Touring Car Championship.
Therefore Yvan Muller's racing car - that sports the new 2011 livery - sits in the centre of the stand, alongside a glass show case containing the FIA WTCC Manufacturers' Trophy, while two giant screens show the highlights of the 2010 season.
Monroe To Back Monteiro's SEAT Leon
Tenneco Inc., manufacturer of Monroe shock absorbers and Walker exhaust systems, announced that Tiago Monteiro is the official Monroe driver for the 2011 FIA WTCC.
A former Formula One racer, the 34-year old Portuguese switched to WTCC in 2007; since then he claimed four race wins and was classified fifth in last year's championship. Monteiro faces now his fifth touring car season in a Monroe-branded SEAT Leon run by SUNRED.
Alex Gelbcke, Tenneco Vice President and General Manager, Aftermarket Europe, said: "Having Tiago as an ambassador will be a fantastic asset to Monroe's presence in the WTCC. We are all looking enthusiastically forward to a great season!"
And Monteiro commented: "it is an honour for me to be chosen by Monroe to represent their brand. I will give my all to make them proud and make this relationship work!"
Michelisz Takes Over Farfus' BMW
The Zengo Dension Team announced that Norbert Michelisz will take part in the 2011 WTCC with a BMW 320 TC in partnership with BMW Hungary. In an effort to gain more experience with the new technical package, the team decided not to attend the season-opener at Curitiba and to join from the second event at Zolder.
Michelisz, who created sensation on his maiden WTCC season last year by becoming the first Hungarian driver to win a world championship race, will take over Augusto Farfus' former BMW factory car that is being upgraded to the new TC specifications that include the 1.6-litre turbo engine. The car will be updated and prepared by Belgium-based Team RBM that will also provide technical support on track.
"I'm very happy to race a BMW 320 TC. I will need to adjust my mind and driving style for the rear-wheel drive. We have a lot work to do in order to get to know the car, but I'm confident that we will be able to make a big step forward especially in case we will be testing the car ahead the first race," Michelisz said.
Henning Putzke, Managing Director BMW Group Hungary declared: "We are happy to support the team. Norbert Michelisz is a great talent and we hope to see him more often on the podium in 2011 so that the world can recognize the success of Hungarian motorsport. Supporting him is an extention of the motorsport engagement of BMW Group Hungary."
Barth's Swiss SEAT Presented In Geneva
Fredy Barth unveiled at the International Motor Show in Geneva the livery of his SEAT Swiss Racing car he will drive in the 2011 WTCC.
His SEAT Leon car will be run again by Spain-based outfit SUNRED Engineering; on his second year in the World Touring Car Championship and after finishing nine races in the points during his maiden season, Barth aims for more points and for podium results.
"I am really happy and proud, to once again be part of both the WTCC family and the SUNRED team. Unveiling the livery here in Geneva offered the ideal setting for a successful season. The fact that I have already settled into the championship will help me to prepare myself for the new season. I know most of the racetracks and also the secrets of racing in the WTCC, and with some luck that was missing sometimes in 2010, podium finishes will be within our grasp," said Barth and then added: "The start of the season won't be easy with the old TDI engine, but from the third event in Marrakech we will have the new 1.6-litre turbo engine."
COUNTDOWN: - 16 DAYS WTCC RACE OF BRAZIL - CURITIBA, MARCH 20