Special Tune Racing will enter its sophomore season in the FIA World Touring Car Championship as a two-car operation, aiming to employ the lessons learned following a reliability-ridden debut season in 2012.
The former British Touring Car Championship team graduated to the WTCC stage last year, starting out the year with Tom Boardman and Darryl O’Young in two ex-factory SEAT León challengers.
But the season saw many reliability issues. Boardman was unable to take part in the season-opener at Monza after the team failed to receive its allocation of 1.6-litre ORECA-built turbo engines in time, and O’Young’s weekend failed to get going after he blew all of his allotted engines.
Such were SEAT’s engine allocation issues that it took until the seventh event of the season at Portugal before Boardman got his hands on the latest-spec turbocharged engine, having been forced to run the long in the tooth TDI unit for the first half of the season.
By the time the series hit the final flyaway rounds in the Far East, O’Young had quit the team and – despite giving René Münnich a go at Suzuka – the team was scaled back to a one-car effort at Shanghai and Macau.
For 2013, the team is planning a better approach. It aims to consistently field two cars for the entire season and run the latest upgrades from SEAT Sport, which it will have to do if it wants to fulfill its aim of winning the Yokohama Independent Trophy championship titles.
“With the 1.6T León now receiving further developments we are confident that we can build on the competitiveness of the team as seen towards the end of the 2012 season,” STR team principal John Boardman (father of Tom) said.
“Our target is to win the independents’ championship; we have the knowledge from last season and now have a clear view on how to achieve this.”
The team is yet to confirm its driver line-up for the 2013 season, although Boardman’s family connections will certainly give him one of the seats – the second driver will no doubt need to bring a good budget to help the team keep pace with its rivals.
“We are currently looking at a number of options with drivers who wish to compete in a proven race winning car with manufacturer support and technical input,” Boardman added.
“We feel that running just two cars with our own technical expertise, and that of SEAT Sport, we will provide the attention to detail to be a front running independent team in the WTCC. Nothing is firmed up driver wise at the moment but this is a great opportunity.”
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