As we had predicted a few weeks ago, Hungarian driver Norbert Michelisz will switch to BMW power for the 2011 World Touring Car Championship season, his Zengö-Dension Motorsport team has confirmed.
The 26-year-old contested his first full WTCC season last year after winning the SEAT León Eurocup Championship in 2009, and he immediately impressed by going on to win the 2010 Rookie Challenge crown and taking an outright win at the final race of the season in Macau.
The announcement will see Michelisz switch from the turbodiesel SEAT León to an upgraded BMW 320TC piloted by ex-works BMW driver Augusto Farfus. His team will also receive technical support from Farfus’ old RBM operation.
And with just three weeks until the season-opening round, Michelisz will have little time top get up to speed in a car he’s never driven, let alone the fact that he’s never competed in rear-wheel-drive machinery before.
In order to give him enough time to acclimatise, the team will therefore miss the season-opening event at Brazil, and rejoin the series in time for its second round, at Zolder, in April.
But he couldn’t be happier with it all, describing the switch as “a dream come true” in the team’s press release.
“It makes me proud that BMW Motorsport is paying emphasized attention for me and my team,” he said.
“I will need to adjust my mind and driving style for the rear-wheel drive but I can’t wait to race again. We have a lot work to do in order to get to know the car, but I’m confident that we will be able to make a big step forward especially in case we will be testing the car ahead the first race. If the circumstances allow me, I will try to take on the frontrunners. Hopefully I will bring happiness for my fans.”
“Only six or seven cars of this model are expected to be ready for the start of the season in total, so it’s a huge success that such a small Hungarian outfit will get one of them,” team boss Zoltan Zengö said. “We’ve made an enormous step towards realising our ultimate goals. We will have a competitive car, and I expect us to be amongst the frontrunners.”