L&T Motorsport

Star names join TCR for 2017

Craft-Bamboo Racing and new team M1RA have announced their plans for the 2017 TCR International Series with some big names joining the chpionship.

Craft-Bamboo will once again use their tried and tested SEAT Leons again with backing from Russian oil giant Lukoil for Pepe Oriola and James Nash but will be joined in the squad by World Touring Car Championship stalwart Hugo Valente.

Oriola and Nash were runners up to Stefano Comini in 2015 and 2016 respectively, whilst Valente switches over from the closed down Lada programme in the WTCC.

Frenchman Valente spent two seasons as a WTCC independent before joining Lada alongside the very experienced Gabriele Tarquini and sportscar convert Nicky Catsburg.

Also on the grid will be the new M1RA team with support from WTCC driver Norbert Michelisz due to his race engineer being M1RAs team boss’ brother, born out of the now-defunct B3 Racing squad which ran three SEAT Leons last season.

With B3s two top drivers Dusan Borkovic and Mato Homola making other plans for 2017 M1RA will keep on seventeen year old Atilla Tassi and the vastly experienced Roberto Colciago, who has been racing touring cars since 1994, most recently winning the TCR Italy Series in 2016.

With WestCoast Racing switching to the Volkswagon Golf for this season, M1RA will become the lead attack for Honda with their two Civic TCRs.

This brings the total number of full time entrants so far up to twelve, with two more confirmed to join from the Spa round, however Mulsanne Racing are expected to add two more Alfa Romeo Guiliettas as well as the Subaru WRX from Top Run Motorsport.

Engstler Motorsport are also expected to be on the grid with at least two Golfs but are yet to confirm their plans, as is reigning double champion Comini, who has been dropped by Leopard Racing as the energy drinks brand suffers reported financial trouble.

Leopard were run by Belgian team WRT last season who are expected to run a single car for Frenchman Jean-Karl Vernay.

James Bourke

TCR correspondent

Photos:Craft-Bamboo Racing/M1RA

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