Twenty cars for the Kumho FIA TCR World Tour opener

  • gb

The 2024 Kumho FIA TCR World Tour and a new touring car era starts this weekend at the Autodromo Vallelunga Piero Taruffi in Italy, with a competitive twenty-car field of experienced, new, and returning drivers competing for the category that now carries the FIA moniker, with five different manufacturers represented.

Norbert Michelisz will be looking to defend his title from last year with BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse. Returning with the Hungarian will be Spanish racing driver Mikel Azcona, with the duo now joined by Argentine touring car racer Néstor Girolami, with the Hyundai-equipped team targeting fighting for both the drivers’ and teams’ titles with its enhanced line-up.

The cars will also carry the same branding at the South Korean manufacturer’s FIA World Rally Championship programme, and the team’s Elantra N TCR cars also feature the upgraded facelift of the new road car model.

Fighting them will be the returning Lynk & Co Cyan Racing team, with the Swedish team featuring an unchanged driver line-up. Yann Ehrlacher, Thed Björk, Ma Qing Hua, and Santiago Urrutia all return to pilot the Chinese manufacturer’s four 03 FL TCR cars and are looking to both defend its teams’ title and also win the drivers’.

Newly-formed team GOAT Racing will also field two cars this year, running the latest generation Honda Civic Type R FL5 TCR for 19-year-old Italian rising star Marco Butti, and one for Argentina’s Esteban Guerrieri, with the fast and experienced racer returning to international tin top racing after a year away.

Stepping up to the world stage is Spanish-based Volcano Motorsport, which will field two cars from Audi Sport, with the competitive RS 3 LMS being driven by 29-year-old John Filippi, entering his 11th consecutive season of international touring car competition, who will be joined by 22-year-old Moroccan Sami Taoufik.

The full-time squad of Kumho FIA TCR World Tour drivers will be joined for this race weekend by the top tier of the fiercely competitive Coppa Italia Turismo series, with last year’s champion Sandro Pelatti therefore carrying the #1 aboard his PMA Motorsport-run Audi at the event. An eclectic mix of Audis, Hondas, and an Opel Astra TCR will complete the grid for the first round of the calendar.

Amongst the top runners in the series is worth mentioning Italian teen-agers Filippo Barberi and Jacopo Cimenes; Barberi who won the Coppa Italia Endurance title last year will drive an Audi for Aikoa Racing, while Cimenes faces his TCR debut in an MM Motorsport Honda Civic FL5.

Track action will start on Thursday with private test sessions, while two 30-minute free practices will take place on Friday.

On Saturday, competitors will take part in the Qualifying, split in Q1 and Q2, at 11:20, while Race 1 will start at 17:15 on the distance of 15 laps. Race 2, of 15 laps as well, will start Sunday at 14:25.