Néstor Girolami, Esteban Guerrieri, Tiago Monteiro and Attila Tassi will continue to race with Honda power in the 2020 season of the FIA World Touring Car Cup.
The quartet, who all led WTCR races in 2019, will contest the 10-weekend, 30-event WTCR season in Honda’s Civic Type R TCR, the most successful car across the various TCR-sanctioned categories last year with 14 titles and 65 race wins.
Honda Racing, which is supporting the quartet, will reveal the customer racing team that each driver will represent in 2020 at a later date, but the hope is a consistent and strong line-up will make it a contender for WTCR success in 2020.
Thirty-year-old Girolami, from Argentina, was a three-time winner in 2019 and placed seventh in the final standings. His compatriot and fellow Münnich Motorsport teammate Guerrieri, 34, was part of the four-way title decider at the Sepang super-finale last month, eventually finishing runner-up to former Honda-powered racer Norbert Michelisz.
Girolami will be hoping that his three race wins in 2019 will serve a launchpad to challenge for the 2020 Drivers’ Championship title and said: “Three wins were honestly more than I was expecting in 2019 and it’s a great place from which to start my preparations for 2020. Last year I really enjoyed my season as team-mate to Esteban and I’m sure that I can be even more competitive going forwards and fight for the championship myself and for my team.”
Teammate Guerrieri was equally confident he would again be in the mix for the title in 2020 and added: “After a fantastic season in 2019, I’m so excited to be staying with Honda in 2020 and really feel we can push for the title, that we so narrowly missed out on, once again. The Civic Type R TCR is a fantastic car in so many ways and I can’t wait to get back behind the wheel for testing.”
Driving for sister outfit KCMG, Monteiro returned to full-time racing from serious injury in 2019 and his bravery and determination were rewarded with victory at his home event, the Race of Portugal in Vila Real, last July driving for KCMG.
“This will be my ninth season as a Honda Racing driver and I couldn’t be happier to extend my relationship,” the 43-year-old former F1 driver said. “My comeback year in 2019 was tough as the level of competition was higher than it’s ever been in World Touring Cars and I had to get myself fully up-to-speed very quickly. The win in Portugal and the pole position in Japan were some of the best feelings I’ve ever had in a racing car and I’m keen to add more successes this season.”
Monteiro’s victory on home soil came at the expense of a mechanical failure for his teammate Tassi – who turned 20 during the season – after he qualified on pole and led the opening laps of the race. Despite an up-and-down season, Tassi is looking to advance his prospects in 2020.
“I’m very pleased to continue as a Honda Racing driver in the WTCR in 2020,” the Hungarian youngster added. “I had some very good moments in my rookie season, like my pole position in Portugal and the Nürburgring event where we had podium-pace. If we can avoid some of the bad luck that happened – especially on the first laps of some of the late-season races – then I think I can take a big step forward.”
Text and images via FIA WTCR Media