John Filippi will remain on the FIA World Touring Car Championship grid in 2017 after joining the Sébastien Loeb Racing team.
The Corsican racer will also get championship-winning equipment at his disposal by getting to pilot one of the team’s Citroën C-Elysée racing cars, after two years spent with the venerable TC1 Chevrolet Cruze.
Filippi made his WTCC debut in 2014 with Campos Racing, piloting a TC2-class SEAT León 1.6T before graduating to TC1 class machinery the following year. He finished seventeenth overall in the Drivers’ Championship standings last year with a best finish of eighth at the Hungaroring.
The 21-year-old will partner the experienced Tom Chilton in the team, which last year propelled Mehdi Bennani to the Independents’ Trophy title, with Chilton finishing runner-up.
“I’m joining one of the best teams on the grid,” Filippi said of his new drive. “It’s a unique opportunity for me at this stage of my career.
“I looked at some options in TCR and Blancpain among others, [but] work eventually paid off and I’m very happy with my situation for the upcoming season. Even though WTCC is going through a few hardships, it’s still a very high-level championship, with good media coverage and high-calibre drivers.
“The Citroën C-Elysée has clearly been the best car for three years; it was dominant as early as its very first race in the championship. Of course, official teams will have the means to develop their cars more quickly, but the Citroën car still is a safe bet.
“When you want to be a professional driver, you need to be able to adapt to a car as early as the first few laps. I’ll be a bit short of experience driving the C-Elysée at the start of the season, but I’m counting on my experience from the last three years to get the best out of myself and the car.
“It’s a new challenge for me, and a great opportunity.”
Images via FIA WTCC Media and TouringCars.net