Michelisz makes Hyundai switch, partners Tarquini in WTCR
WTCC runner-up Norbert Michelisz and tin-top ace Gabriele Tarquini will team up for a World Touring Car Cup assault this season in Hyundai machinery.
The two will drive i30 N TCRs for the BRC Racing outfit that worked closely with Hyundai during the development of its TCR challenger.
The car - Hyundai's first purpose-built for circuit racing - was developed with the 2018 season in mind but appeared in two TCR International Series rounds at the end of the '17.
Tarquini and Alain Menu contested two rounds in a pair of cars run by BRC Racing, and Tarquini gave the i30 victory on its debut at Zhejiang.
Having been signed as development driver of the new Hyundai early last year, Tarquini - who was left without a full-time drive in the WTCC last season for the first time since 2002 - will now form part of a Hyundai attack on the new WTCR world cup.
“After leading the testing for the i30 N TCR last year I know the car very well,” said the 55-year-old.
“This season will be a fantastic opportunity to put the experience both I, and the team, have to compete at the very front of the new championship.
"I’m looking to a full season of racing once again, competing in what I am sure will be a very tough and competitive championship.”
Tarquini will be joined at BRC by Michelisz, who moves across to Hyundai after a five-year association with Honda.
Michelisz earned factory driver status for the Japanese brand in 2016 and drove Honda machinery in the WTCC for three seasons previous to that spell.
He ended up leading Honda's title hopes in the drivers' standings in 2017 after factory teammate Tiago Monteiro was injured in a testing crash, but lost out to Volvo's Thed Bjork short after a master cylinder failure in qualifying affected his showing at the Qatar season finale.
“I have the same feeling as I did at the start of my career,” said Michelisz.
"I’m working with a new team, a new car and in a new championship. It’s a new challenge, which is great motivation for me.
"I’m looking forward to working with Gabriele again, and learning from his experience testing before the first races.
"Last year it was clear the i30 N TCR and BRC Racing Team were the package to beat, so I’m certain we can challenge for wins and the title this season.”
Michelisz owns the M1RA outfit that competed in the TCR International Series with Honda Civics. It has yet to announce a programme for 2018.
Panis lands second Comtoyou Racing WTCR seat
WTCR confirms capacity 26-car entry for 2018