ROAL Motorsport’s future in the FIA World Touring Car Championship has been confirmed. The independently-run Italian team will continue in the series, fielding a pair of 2014-spec Chevrolet Cruzes for Tom Chilton and series veteran Tom Coronel.
For Coronel, the 2014 season will mark his fourth with the team, with whom he has claimed three race wins in the team’s BMW 320TC.
The Dutchman had only recently been lamenting that his future in the WTCC remained extremely uncertain amidst the increased costs teams were facing to ready themselves for the championship’s radical new regulations.
“I am happy to stay in WTCC because I have been in the championship since the beginning,” he said in today’s announcement.
“The series is the best package for my sponsors and also for myself as driver.”
Coronel will have his third different full-time teammate in as many seasons, with Chilton joining the squad in place of Hong Kong racer Darryl O’Young after a year spent as Yvan Muller’s teammate at the RML team.
Chilton performed well in his sophomore year in the championship, breaking through for his maiden series win at Sonoma en route to finishing fourth overall in the Drivers’ Championship standings.
With RML opting to concentrate its efforts completely in designing and supplying up to six customer Chevrolet Cruzes for next year, Chilton was left scratching around for a team to drive for, despite being one of the first to sign up for a 2014-spec Cruze.
For ROAL Motorsport, 2014 will mark the first time that the outfit has raced anything other than a BMW.
The team will continue that association in other championship in which it competes – such as GT racing – but its hand was effectively forced to switch carmakers if it wanted to remain competitive in the WTCC.
“Because unfortunately BMW decided not to develop a new WTCC car and we wished to stay in the series, we had no alternatives than looking for another programme,” team owner Roberto Ravaglia said.
“We believe that the new RML-built Chevrolet Cruze provides a great opportunity of running a competitive car.”