Gabriele Tarquini, Tiago Monteiro and Norbert Michelisz will drive Honda’s new 2014-spec Civic WTCC racers in next year’s FIA World Touring Car Championship.
Tarquini and Monteiro will remain with the Castrol Honda Racing Team, while Michelisz will privateer outfit Zengö Motorsport.
Former F1 drivers Tarquini and Monteiro will continue as Honda teammates for the carmaker’s second full season of works-support competition in the WTCC, having previously served as teammates during their time with SEAT.
“I am proud of the long relationship I have had with Honda, from the British Touring Car Championship times until today. We have such a good team spirit and everybody is working for one thing and that is to win the races. We have developed this car into a winner and soon we will start with the 2014 car so to see Honda renew its confidence in me is a great reward,” Tarquini, who is currently targeting second place in this year’s Drivers’ Championship standings, said.
“It is a great honour for me to have been involved in this project since the beginning and actively participate in the development of the Honda Civic WTCC which has become a highly competitive and winning car,” Monteiro added
“Working with the whole Honda Team is a privilege at all levels. For 2014 I want to continue the good work we have been developing with the team and Gabriele and achieve many more podiums. I’m already looking forward to the start of the new season.”
The Honda Civic WTCC has proven to be competitive in its first full-time season of racing
While Tarquini and Monteiro will represent Honda in its battle with Citroën and LADA for outright honours in the Manufacturers’ Championship, Michelisz and Zengõ Motorsport will look to be frontrunners in the Yokohama Trophy championship for independently-run outfits.
For Michelisz, who won the 2012 Yokohama Drivers’ Championship, the 2013 season will mark his fifth year full-time of competition in the WTCC after he rose from relative obscurity – as a computer game racer – to become one of Hungary’s most high-profile sports stars.
The 29-year-old has been with the Zengö Motorsport squad since the beginning, racing a SEAT León TDI in 2010 before completing a two-year stint in a BMW 320TC, claiming his maiden race win last year on home soil.
His first year in Honda’s Civic has proven to be equally successful, claiming one race win (last time out at Suzuka), along with five further podium finishes and one pole position. He currently lies sixth in the overall Drivers’ Championship standings.
“I’m very happy with having the possibility to continue with Zengö Motorsport and Honda,” Michelisz added.
“With the experience we built up since 2010 and the help from JAS Motorsport and Honda I am confident we’ll have the potential to fight for top positions in 2014.”
Honda had been expected to confirm that it will produce a fourth Civic racer to supply to another team next year, as has been widely tipped. An announcement is expected in due course, with rumours suggesting that it will go to the Proteam Motorsport stable, which currently runs Mehdi Bennani in a BMW 320TC.