05 MICHELISZ Norbert, (HUN), BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse, Hyundai i30 N TCR, action 21 PANIS Aurelien, (FRA), Comtoyou Racing, Cupra TCR, action 29 GIROLAMI Nestor, (ARG), All-inkl.com Münnich Motorsport, Honda Civic Type R TCR, actionstart of the race, depart, during the 2019 FIA WTCR World Touring Car cup of Malaysia, at Sepang from december 13 to 15 – Photo Gregory Lenormand / DPPI

The motorsport driver market never really closes as teams scramble to retain their existing line-up or work on bringing in new recruits for upcoming races or title campaigns. This is how 10 WTCR – FIA World Touring Car driver signings happened.

Speculate to accumulate. By Néstor Girolami
So determined was Girolami to race in the WTCR that he took a flight from his native Argentina to Japan for the Suzuka weekend in October 2018. Meetings happened, discussions took place and by the following January he’d been announced as part of the Honda-powered ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport line-up.

Run your own team. By Daniel Haglöf
When PWR Racing joined the WTCR trail in 2019, co-founder and CEO Daniel Haglöf named himself as one of the two drivers. But this was with good reason, based on the Swede’s successful racing CV.

Own the track. By Bernhard van Oranje
There was room on the grid for two wildcards when the WTCR visited Zandvoort for the first time in 2018. As an experienced racer and owner of the track, it made perfect sense for Prince Bernhard van Oranje to take a seat in one of the two Bas Koeten Racing Audis entered for the event. The ultimate royal appointment, no less.

Pick up the phone. By James Thompson
James Thompson was sitting at home in Ibiza when the call came on the eve of the first WTCR season to race for ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport. “I was sat at home when René [Münnich] called and asked if I fancy doing a few races,” Thompson explained. “Well it took me 30 seconds to make up my mind.”

Take your chance. By Kevin Ceccon
When Team Mulsanne needed to fill the seat vacated by Gianni Morbidell for WTCR Race of Slovakia in 2018, Kevin Ceccon got the call and scored the points that led to a permanent deal with the Alfa Romeo-powered squad.

Know the car. By Luigi Ferrara
Although Suzuka and Macau represented unchartered territory for Luigi Ferrara, his knowledge of the Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR by Romeo Ferraris meant he was an obvious choice to replace the no-longer-available Fabrizio Giovanardi at short notice. Ferrara was changing planes in Helsinki bound for Japan when news of his signing broke in a classic case of leaving it late.

Come from Belgium. By Denis Dupont (pictured)
The Belgian RACB National Team initiative is a great example of an ASN attracting funding and investing it into young talent to go racing. Denis Dupont joined the scheme in 2016 and the support culminated in a fully-funded WTCR drive for 2018. Dupont repaid the RACB’s faith by claiming two podiums in his Comtoyou-run Audi.

Win a title. By Mikel Azcona
While it by no means guaranteed his WTCR seat for 2019, Mikel Azcona’s capture of the TCR Europe title the previous season made him a much sought after prospect. Coming from Spain and with the PWR team having a spare CUPRA seat to fill also helped to seal the deal.

Wait for an invite. By Billy Lo
Each season, Macau’s ASN, the Automobile General Association Macao-China, nominates a group of wildcards to take part in its iconic street race. Macanese Billy Lo was one of lucky ones in both 2018 and 2019.

Put in the groundwork. By Gabriele Tarquini
Having developed Hyundai’s i30 N TCR from scratch, nobody knew more about the Korean machine than the 2009 FIA World Touring Car champion. Tarquini was duly signed to lead BRC Racing Team’s Hyundai-powered assault on the WTCR in 2018. The rest, as they say, is history as the Italian charged to the title.

SOURCE: www.fiawtcr.com

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