WTCR announces 22-car field for 2021 season
The FIA World Touring Car Cup has announced 22 full-season entries to contest this year's championship, including six world title winners and the series' first ever female competitor.
This season the grid will welcome drivers representing 12 nationalities which will drive cars constructed by five different manufacturers: Audi, Cupra, Lynk & Co, Honda and Hyundai.
Reigning champion Yann Ehrlacher is back to defend his title once again driving a Cyan Racing Lynk & Co machine. The Frenchman will continue to race alongside four-time World Touring Car (WTCC) champion Yvan Muller, while 2017 WTCC champion Thed Bjork pilots a Cyan Performance run Lynk & Co entry.
As previously reported, Rob Huff will return to the series racing a Zengo Motorsport Cupra. The team will also welcome back Jordi Gene, who returns to full-time touring car racing for the first time since 2015. Mikel Azcona and Hungarian Bence Boldizs complete the Cupra line-up.
Hyundai will field six of its brand new Elantra TCR challengers this season with touring car super star and 2018 WTCR champion Gabriele Tarquini behind the wheel. He is joined by 2019 champion Norbert Michelisz, Frenchman Jean-Karl Vernay and Luca Engstler in the factory supported BRC Squadra Corse and Engstler teams respectively.
Meanwhile, the championship will welcome its first female to race in WTCR courtesy of Swedish former TCR Europe driver Jessica Backman, who will pilot a new shape Elantra at Target Competition, alongside her brother Andreas.
Multiple WTCR race winner Nestor Girolami and former Formula 1 driver Tiago Monteiro are expected to lead Honda's charge at Munnich Motorsport.
Audi will also unleash its second generation RS 3 LMS TCR machine as Gilles Magnus, Nathanael Berthon and touring car veteran Tom Coronel represent the German marque.
The grid could increase throughout the campaign as race-by-race entries remain open 14 days ahead of each event. The entire field will be powered by a sustainable biofuel from P1 Racing Fuels.
"Not only is the WTCR all-season entry list for 2021 big on quantity, it's also very big on quality with a really high level of drivers set to take part, including nine 25 or under, plus the WTCR's first female driver, Jessica Bäckman," said Xavier Gavory, WTCR Director, Eurosport Events.
"Providing the essential supporting role are 11 highly professional and dedicated teams, while five customer racing departments are actively engaged in WTCR campaigns with all cars equipped with Goodyear tyres and using sustainable biofuel from P1 Racing Fuels for the first time.
"Although we're still a few weeks away from the start of the new season the ingredients are all in place for another epic year of FIA World Touring Car racing."
WTCR is set to embark upon 16 round championship beginning at Germany's Nurburgring Nordschleife on 3-5 June.
Team by team
29 Nestor Girolami (ARG) ALL-INKL.COM Munnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR
86 Esteban Guerrieri (ARG) ALL-INKL.COM Munnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR
9 Attila Tassi (HUN) ALL-INKL.DE Munnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR
18 Tiago Monteiro (PRT) ALL-INKL.DE Munnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR
3 Gabriele Tarquini (ITA) BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse Hyundai Elantra N TCR
5 Norbert Michelisz (HUN) BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse Hyundai Elantra N TCR
16 Gilles Magnus (BEL) Comtoyou Team Audi Sport Audi RS 3 LMS
22 Frederic Vervisch (BEL) Comtoyou Team Audi Sport Audi RS 3 LMS
17 Nathanael Berthon (FRA) Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport Audi RS 3 LMS
32 Tom Coronel (NLD) Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport Audi RS 3 LMS
11 Thed Bjork (SWE) Cyan Performance Lynk & Co Lynk & Co 03 TCR
12 Santiago Urrutia (URY) Cyan Performance Lynk & Co Lynk & Co 03 TCR
68 Yann Ehrlacher (FRA) Cyan Racing Lynk & Co Lynk & Co 03 TCR
100 Yvan Muller (FRA) Cyan Racing Lynk & Co Lynk & C0 03 TCR
8 Luca Engstler (DEU) Engstler Hyundai N Liqui Moly Racing Team Hyundai Elantra N TCR
69 Jean-Karl Vernay (FRA) Engstler Hyundai N Liqui Moly Racing Team Hyundai Elantra N TCR
19 Andreas Backman (SWE) Target Competition Hyundai Elantra N TCR
26 Jessica Backman (SWE) Target Competition Hyundai Elantra N TCR
79 Rob Huff (GBR) Zengo Motorsport CUPRA Leon Competicion
96 Mikel Azcona (ESP) Zengo Motorsport CUPRA Leon Competicion
28 Jordi Gene (ESP) Zengo Motorsport Drivers' Academy CUPRA Leon Competicion
55 Bence Boldizs (HUN) Zengo Motorsport Drivers' Academy CUPRA Leon Competicion
Huff makes WTCR return with Zengo Cupra squad
Cupra brings touring car ace out of retirement