Racing under the YMR banner and partnering WTCC champion Thed Björk, Yvan Muller will return to full time competition this season in the new WTCR World Cup.
Coming out of a self imposed 12 month retirement from full time racing, Muller will once again look to embark on a top flight campaign in 2018 with his Yvan Muller Racing run Hyundai i30 N TCR, partnering up with four time STCC champion and 2017 WTCC victor Thed Bjork to form potentially one of the strongest outfits confirmed so far in the new look WTCR championship.
At 48 years of age Muller has lost none of the speed that took him to no less than four World Championship's and 48 race victories in the top flight of touring car racing. However the new season should see a different Muller than in pervious years, with the highly decorated Frenchman focussed on developing his new touring car outfit more than outright personal success:
“My goal is a bit different than in the past,” said Muller. “I have done my career and my focus now is on the team and our development rather than outright results. I am pleased to have Thed involved, he trusts me and I trust him. There is no doubt that he is a great driver, I know because I spent the season with him last year.”YMR will face stiff competition in the coming year, not least of which should be in the form of Hyundai stablemates BRC Racing, fielding arch rival Gabriele Tarquini and 2017 WTCC runner up Norbert Michelisz. Tarquini, 56 at the time of the season start in Morocco in April, has spent the last 12 months working closely with Hyundai to develop the new TCR specification i30 N TCR, and should present one of the strongest challengers for series honours at the end of the year if the form displayed by the Italian following his sporadic one-off outings in the TCR last year are anything to go by.
Other strong contenders already confirmed for WTCR in 2018 are the Boutsen Ginion Racing and Münnich Motorsport Honda backed outfits, running former champion Rob Huff (Münnich) and long standing works Honda driver and former Formula One competitor Tiago Monteiro, representing BGR. Both squads will utilise the brand new Honda Civic FK8 Type R TCR developed especially for the new TCR rule set, and should again prove a substantial contender for race wins and honours at the close of the year ahead.
With WTCC having limped along for the last few years before eventually adopting TCR regulations and rebranding to the WTCR moniker, 2018 looks likely to provide one of the most competitive seasons since the glory days of the mid 2000's..
I can't wait..
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