Rob Huff and Mehdi Bennani will be teammates at Sébastien Loeb Racing in the inaugural FIA World Touring Car Cup, with the French squad being the latest to confirm its participation in the new series.

In addition to its strong driver pairing, the team also announced it will campaign a pair of Volkswagen Golf GTI TCRs in the upcoming season.

“Since 2015, the Sébastien Loeb Racing team has collected many trophies and accolades in the WTCC,” team principal Dominique Heintz said.

“Given our strong results, we had to extend our involvement at the top. The launch of WTCR is excellent news, as it combines well-thought technical regulations with high media exposure to teams like ours thanks to promoter Eurosport Events’s proficiency and know-how.

“In the Golf GTI TCR, Volkswagen Motorsport has developed the ideal car to fight for race wins and we already enjoy a strong and fruitful relationship with them. As for our drivers, their talent and skills mean we’re confident that we have the best assets to keep adding to our tally and list of achievements.”

Huff, the 2012 FIA WTCC title-winner, joins Sébastien Loeb Racing after spending his 2017 season driving for Münnich Motorsport in the World Touring Car Championship and Team WRT in the TCR International Series – he drove a Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR in the latter.

The 38-year-old Briton made it clear his intention was to win the Drivers’ Championship title. A pre-season favourite ahead of last year’s WTCC season, Huff’s campaign was beset by mechanical gremlins.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity to join Sébastien Loeb’s team. They’ve won the [WTCC] independents’ title for the last two years, and now with no manufacturer entries in WTCR, that’ll put us right at the front,” Huff said.

“My aim this year is absolutely to win the title. I’m very familiar with the circuits as the calendar’s almost a carbon copy of the last few years from the WTCC, so it’s down to quickly getting to work with the team and adapting the TCR car to the WTCC tracks, then delivering the best results.”

Sebastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR

The SLR Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR will be piloted by Rob Huff and Mehdi Bennani.

Huff will be partnered by Sébastien Loeb Racing incumbent Mehdi Bennani, who won the 2016 WTCC Trophy title for non-manufacturer drivers in a SLR Citroën C-Elysée and narrowly missed out on repeating the feat in 2017.

“Staying with Sébastien Loeb Racing for another campaign was an easy and obvious decision as we have built a strong relationship of trust over the years,” the 34-year-old Moroccan said.

“WTCR cars are slightly different from the previous ones I raced but our technical team has already showcased their professionalism and expertise, so I’m confident we can fight for wins right from the start with the Golf GTI TCR. I can’t wait to get stuck in with the entire staff for the first tests, and really look forward to featuring at the sharpest end of the grid for my home race in Marrakech, which kicks off the season in April.”

Sébastien Loeb Racing is the fourth team to announce its participation in the new FIA World Touring Car Cup – and the first from the now-defunct WTCC to do so – following already-confirmed entries by the Italian BRC Racing Team and Belgian outfits Comtoyou Racing and Boutsen-Ginion Racing.

2018 FIA World Touring Car Cup – Provisional Entry List (to-date)
No. Driver Team Car
2 Gabriele Tarquini it BRC Racing Team it Hyundai i30 N
4 Denis Dupont be Comtoyou Racing be Audi RS3 LMS
5 Norbert Michelisz hu BRC Racing Team it Hyundai i30 N
12 Rob Huff uk Sébastien Loeb Racing fr Volkswagen Golf GTI
25 Mehdi Bennani ma Sébastien Loeb Racing fr Volkswagen Golf GTI
28 Aurélien Panis fr Comtoyou Racing be Audi RS3 LMS
TBA TBA Boutsen Ginion Racing be Honda Civic Type-R
TBA TBA Boutsen Ginion Racing be Honda Civic Type-R

Images via FIA WTCC Media and Sébastien Loeb Racing

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.