World Touring Car Championship veteran Stefano D’Aste won’t be on the series’ grid in 2014, with the Italian opting instead to return to the European GT4 championship.
The two-time WTCC racewinner and 2007 Independent Trophy champion has cited the high costs of the series’ new top-tier TC1 category, and the uncompetitive nature of the TC2 tier, as the primary reasons for his decision.
After an outstanding season with Weichers-Sport in 2012, D’Aste formed his own team, PB Racing, for the 2013 WTCC season, finishing fifth in the Yokohama Drivers’ Trophy in a BMW 320TC.
But D’Aste has neither the budget to afford a TC1 tier car, nor the interest in running well off the pace in TC2, to be able to remain in the championship where he has contested as least one round every season since 2005.
“In TC2 [the category open to older-spec Super 2000 machinery], the cars are going to be about four or five seconds a lap slower,” D’Aste told TouringCarTimes.
“This year I’ll drive in GT4, and we’ll run two cars. The BMW is for sale, I’ve had some interest from Asia, and also it could be run in the ETCC this year.”
D’Aste is one of a number of BMW pilots who are effectively in limbo ahead of the 2014 World Touring Car Championship season, with the German carmaker not supporting any further development of its 3-series racer as the championship ushers in new technical regulations.
Fellow 2013 BMW runners Fredy Barth and Darryl O’Young – who competed in the Yokohama Trophy for Weichers-Sport and ROAL Motorsport respectively – have already indicated they will not compete in the TC2 tier.
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