The entry list includes five WTCC champions and two former Formula One racers.
Twenty drivers in top-of-the-range TC1 racing cars will contest the FIA World Touring Car Championship in 2015 with registered manufacturers Citroën, Honda and LADA, plus Chevrolet all represented.
The entry list, revealed for the first time at the WTCC Media Launch in Barcelona on Thursday evening (12 February), includes five WTCC champions, two former Formula One racers, representation from 13 countries, plus a host of emerging drivers.
Citroën C-Elysée WTCCs
Citroën Total WTCC will enter four cars throughout the season – one more than in 2014 – with defending champion José María López, runner-up Yvan Muller, nine-time world rally title winner Sébastien Loeb and Ma Qing Hua from China all competing in Citroën C-Elysée WTCCs. Ma Qing Hua contested selected races in 2014 but is rewarded with a full campaign in 2015. New WTCC outfit Sébastien Loeb Racing will field a fifth Citroën C-Elysée WTCC with Mehdi Bennani joining Loeb’s eponymous team.
Honda Civic WTCCs
The Honda Racing Team JAS line-up remains unchanged from last season with past Formula One drivers Tiago Monteiro and Gabriele Tarquini entered in a pair of Castrol-liveried Civic WTCCs. Rickard Rydell will make his WTCC return in a Nika International Civic with independent racers Norbert Michelisz (Zengő Motorsport) and Dušan Borković (Proteam Racing) chasing Yokohama Drivers’ Trophy points in their Civics.
LADA’s all-new Vesta
LADA Sport Rosneft relies on the experience of WTCC stalwarts Rob Huff and James Thompson, while Russian youngster Mikhail Kozlovskiy will continue his touring car initiation programme under their guidance. The trio will compete in LADA’s all-new Vesta, which is currently undergoing an extensive test and development programme in readiness for the 2015 campaign.
Big interest in Yokohama Drivers’ Trophy
ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport will field Stefano D’Aste in its lead Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1 with a second driver expected to be announced soon. John Filippi remains with Campos Racing as he steps up from TC2 power to a TC1 Chevrolet. His fellow Frenchman Hugo Valente continues his association with the Spanish team, which is in line to run a third entry on selected events.
Craft Bamboo returns to WTCC action with a Cruze for Grégoire Demoustier and the squad is actively working on plans to enter a second car later in the season. In addition to Honda-powered Borković and Michelisz, ROAL Motorsport has re-signed WTCC aces Tom Chilton and Tom Coronel to pilot its Cruze TC1s in the Yokohama Drivers’ Trophy.
François Ribeiro, the WTCC General Manager, said: “The WTCC family has been very active since Macau last November to field a full TC1 grid. From approximately 15 TC1 cars in 2014, when the grid was shared with the old TC2 cars, we now have 20 TC1s entered, and we expect Campos Racing to enter their third car on an event-by-event basis, so that all existing 21 TC1 cars on the market will be racing in the WTCC.
We welcome three new and returning teams, drivers from 14 countries when the second driver from ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport is announced, while the brand new yellow LADA Vestas built by ORECA will also be appearing on the grid. ‘Catch me if you can’: let’s see who will be best positioned to challenge Citroën and José María López, the reigning world champions.”