FIA World Touring Car Championship 20116 - Mehdi Bennani WTCC Test Day action
25 BENNANI Mehdi (mar) Citroen C Elysee team Sebastien Loeb racing action during the 2016 FIA WTCC World Touring Car Test Vallelunga March 2 to 3 – Photo Francois Flamand / DPPI

*Cars from Citro√ęn, Honda, LADA and Polestar help to achieve strong numbers
*WTCC Trophy gets eight entries including several from new-generation racers

World Touring Car Championship WTCC Logo-W229Twenty entry submissions have been accepted for the 2016 FIA World Touring Car Championship, WTCC promoter Eurosport Events is delighted to confirm.¬†Registered manufacturers Citro√ęn, Honda, LADA and newcomer Polestar (Volvo) are all represented on the 2016 grid, while a number of privateer Chevrolets will also be in action during the upcoming season.

Defending champion Jos√© Mar√≠a L√≥pez is one of four WTCC title winners chasing success along with Citro√ęn team-mate Yvan Muller, who is vying for a record-extending fifth crown this year. Honda‚Äôs increased factory presence features 2012 champion Rob Huff, plus double Yokohama Drivers‚Äô Trophy winner Norbert Michelisz and ex-F1 racer Tiago Monteiro. Gabriele Tarquini, WTCC champion in 2009, joins ex-archrival and former privateer Hugo Valente at LADA Sport Rosneft with Nicky Catsburg returning for a second season with the Russian squad. Thed Bj√∂rk and Fredrik Ekblom will front Polestar Cyan Racing‚Äôs WTCC bid in their Volvo S60s.

Mehdi Bennani, Tom Chilton and Grégoire Demoustier head the Sébastien Loeb Racing attack, John Filippi, who turned 21 last month, will continue his WTCC initiation with Campos Racing, while Tom Coronel extends his partnership with ROAL Motorsport. NIKA Racing has signed ex-Formula 3 racer John Bryant-Meisner (21) to pilot its Honda Civic, while Zengo Motorsport will announce two young Hungarian drivers for its expanded line-up later this month. They have been hand-picked to follow Norbert Michelisz, who won the independent title with the Hungarian team on two occasions and has signed to the factory Honda team.

FIA World Touring Car Championship 20116 - Mehdi Bennani WTCC Test Day action image
MICHELISZ Norbert (hun) Honda Civic team Honda racing Jas portrait ambiance during the 2016 FIA WTCC World Touring Car Test Vallelunga March 2 to 3 – Photo Francois Flamand / DPPI

Ren√© M√ľnnich returns to the WTCC after a year away in 2015. The German will tackle selected events in his ALL-INKL.COM M√ľnnich Motorsport operation, which will field replacement drivers for the rounds he is unable to contest due to schedule clashes. Meanwhile, Campos Racing is negotiating with a driver to complete its two-car effort.

Fran√ßois Ribeiro, Head of Eurosport Events, the WTCC promoter, said: ‚ÄúTo get 20 cars entered in a very tough economic climate is great news and a ringing endorsement of the WTCC and all it has to offer drivers, teams, manufacturers and partners. While we welcome a number of established racers, it‚Äôs very exciting to see a new crop of young drivers planning to take part. We will monitor their progress closely as they bid for the top.‚ÄĚ

The 2016 WTCC season begins at Circuit Paul Ricard in France from 1-3 April.
WTCC 2016 provisional entry list

Driver (Nationality)
2   LADA Sport Rosneft Gabriele Tarquini (ITA) LADA Vesta
3 ¬†¬†S√©bastien Loeb Racing Tom Chilton (GBR)¬†T Citro√ęn C-Elys√©e WTCC
5   Honda Racing Team JAS Norbert Michelisz (HUN) Honda Civic WTCC
7   LADA Sport Rosneft Hugo Valente (FRA) LADA Vesta
9   ROAL Motorsport Tom Coronel (NLD) T Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1
10   LADA Sport Rosneft Nicky Catsburg (NLD) LADA Vesta
11 ¬†¬†S√©bastien Loeb Racing Gr√©goire Demoustier (FRA)¬†T Citro√ęn C-Elys√©e WTCC
12   Castrol Honda World Touring Car Team Rob Huff (GBR) Honda Civic WTCC
18   Castrol Honda World Touring Car Team Tiago Monteiro (PRT) Honda Civic WTCC
25 ¬†¬†S√©bastien Loeb Racing Mehdi Bennani (MAR)¬†T Citro√ęn C-Elys√©e WTCC
27   Campos Racing John Filippi (FRA) Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1
37 ¬†¬†Citro√ęn Total WTCC Jos√© Mar√≠a L√≥pez (ARG) Citro√ęn C-Elys√©e WTCC
61   Polestar Cyan Racing Fredrik Ekblom (SWE) Volvo S60 Polestar TC1
62   Polestar Cyan Racing Thed Björk (SWE) Volvo S60 Polestar TC1
68 ¬†¬†Citro√ęn Total WTCC Yvan Muller (FRA) Citro√ęn C-Elys√©e WTCC
77 ¬†¬†ALL-INKL.COM¬†M√ľnnich Motorsport Ren√© M√ľnnich (DEU) Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1
89   NIKA Racing* John Bryant-Meisner (SWE) T Honda Civic WTCC
  Campos Racing TBA T Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1
  Zengo Motorsport TBA T Honda Civic WTCC
  Zengo Motorsport TBA T Honda Civic WTCC

T = Indicates WTCC Trophy contender; * = Subject to final FIA approval

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