Hugo Valente has announced his retirement from professional motorsport today, effective imidately. This has left Lukoil Craft-Bamboo racing with a seat to fill before the upcoming round in Austria this weekend. This has allowed Dan Lloyd to make the switch to TCR. Lloyd announced his split from the factory MG squad earlier this week before joining the TCR team. Rumours were that Valente would retire at the end of 2016, but moved to TCR for the 2017 season.
“First of all I’d like to thank Lukoil Craft-Bamboo Racing for giving me this opportunity, everyone in the team does an amazing job and made me feel very much at home in such a short period of time. Unfortunately, the results were not as I expected so I’ve decided to step away from the sport,” said Valente.
“I have my own family to take care of now, my little girl is nine months old and nothing makes me happier than being with her. I want to give her the same life I’ve been given from my parents and I know that’s nearly impossible to do as a racing driver“. Valente joined the Lukoil team for 2017 after Lada left the WTCC. Valente had a tough start to the season, but managed to get on the podium twice in Bahrain. This has left him 10th in the standings behind his team mates.
Lloyd on the other hand has had a difficult start to the season. Issues with his MG and a large crash at Thruxton has hampered his season so far. His quick switch to the TCR International series will be Lloyd’s first taste of international touring car racing. Lloyd himself is no stranger to racing in Europe, having forged a career in GT racing between 2011 and 2015. “The TCR International Series is something that I have wanted to be part of for a while now. It was really ideal to join Lukoil Craft-Bamboo Racing because of my previous relationship with Craft-Bamboo back in 2015“. Talking about the challenge he faces “Although TCR is a little different, I am very happy to be back in the same team and I am really looking forward to getting to Austria to begin my TCR International Series campaign.”
Lloyd will be joining Pepe Oriola and former BTCC driver James Nash in the teams trio of Seats.