The FIA World Touring Car Cup grid will have yet another championship-winning driver in its midst. Münnich Motorsport has announced that two-time DTM champion Timo Scheider will join its three-car line-up for the remainder of the 2018 WTCR season.
The 39-year-old German is a 16-season veteran of the DTM championship and two-time title winner in 2008 and 2009. He will take over the team’s third Honda Civic Type R TCR which has been raced by former British Touring Car Championship winner James Thompson, whose deal with Münnich Motorsport only ran for the first five events.
The team scaled back to two cars for the sixth round of the 2018 season at the Slovakia Ring in July after being unable to secure Thompson’s services on a new deal, and has since confirmed Scheider in his place.
While Scheider has enormous experience in touring cars, this will mark his first ever outing in a front-wheel-drive TCR-spec machine. Additionally, he has never raced on any of the four circuits in Ningo, Wuhan, Suzuka and Macau that will see out the season.
“It will be a hard challenge for me to join the championship in the middle of the year without any experience,” said Scheider. “But due to the fact that I like new challenges I will give it all to get it done as good as possible.
“I have no experience of any of the tracks, unfortunately, but I will be supporting my team, having fun, making my first experience with a front-wheel-driven car and finally making my debut in Macau.”
Scheider already competes for Münnich Motorsport in the FIA World Rallycross Championship and will now devote his efforts to helping teammates Yann Ehrlacher and Esteban Guerrieri remain in the hunt for the Drivers’ Championship title.
Ehrlacher, with victories in Hungary and Zandvoort, currently sits fourth overall in the championship standings, 31 points behind outright leader Gabriele Tarquini. Guerrieri, who won Race 2 at the Nürburgring Nordschleife, is eighth on the ladder (68 points adrift) and still mathematically in contention.
“We’ve brought Timo into our team for the last four rounds of the championship, as we believe he’ll really bolster our challenge for the FIA World Touring Car Cup title,” explained team manager Dominik Greiner.
“Scheider has tremendous experience in touring cars, and the main focus for him is the season finale Guia Race in Macau, so the next three rounds in China and Japan will be more about preparation, as he won’t be able to test the car beforehand as they’re already in transit to Ningbo in China.
“We’ve worked well together in rallycross, and it seemed a natural choice as well as a perfect fit to bring him into our touring car team as we fight to win the first WTCR – World Touring Car Cup title with Yann and Esteban.”
The 2018 FIA WTCR action resumes on September 28-30 with the first of two rounds in China at the Ningbo Speedpark.
Images via FIA WTCR Media and Motorsport.com