28 February 2023 |

First drivers and another manufacturer confirmed for Kumho TCR World Tour

Hyundai will contest the Kumho TCR World Tour after announcing a two-car entry, as rival Cyan Racing confirmed the first of its four drivers.

Becoming the third manufacturer to commit to the inaugural Kumho World TCR Tour, Hyundai joins Lynk & Co through Cyan Racing and Audi’s representative Comtoyou Racing.

The Korean manufacturer is yet to announce a team to run the program or its drivers, but holds an enviable record in the previous World Touring Car Cup where it won three Drivers’ Championships including last year’s with Mikel Azcona.

“The Customer Racing department and the TCR programme are very important elements of Hyundai Motorsport,” Hyundai Motorsport’s new team principal Cyril Abiteboul said.

“Just like the start of our work on the Hyundai i30 N TCR in 2016, and then the development of the Hyundai Elantra N TCR, the dawn of the TCR World Tour brings another fresh challenge.

“We embrace this new era with the experience and expertise gained from years of success in the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup and the confidence that we can start the season with the same strength we have shown before.”

Customer Racing Manager Andrea Cisotti added the new series will expose the Hyundai product to a truly global audience.

“As a manufacturer, we enjoyed incredible success in WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup, and we look forward to continuing this record with our customers this season,” he said. “The TCR World Tour promises to deliver the same exciting, close racing as its predecessor.

“The events that have already been confirmed will take the series to a truly global audience and some of the best race circuits in the world. This will be only one of several new challenges for our customers and their drivers, but one for which we will support them entirely.”

Main rival Cyan Racing will enter the 2023 Kumho TCR World Tour with a formidable line-up having announced two of its drivers led by the number one driver in the TCR World Ranking Ma Qing Hua and previous WTCC champion Thed Bjork in Lynk & Co 03s.

“I’m really proud and excited to be a Lynk & Co Cyan Racing driver again this year,” Qing Hua said. “It’s a fresh season with a different format and new circuits, a tough challenge that I’m looking forward to.

“I’m happy to be team-mate to Thed again, we had a good co-operation last year that I look forward to developing further.”

Bjork is a long-time member of Cyan Racing’s roster and is excited by the circuits set to host the Kumho TCR World Tour.

“I am as motivated for my 12th season as I was for my first!” Bjork said.

“The TCR World Tour means a new spark of motivation for me to return to the international circuits and face a new type of opposition. I think this will suit me really well. And I do look forward to continuing my co-operation with Ma who I think completed an impressive first season with us last year.”

The next two drivers will be announced by the end of the month according to Cyan Racing Team Manager Fredrik Wahlen, who was excited to have Bjork and Qing Hua continue in 2023.

“We are delighted to have Thed and Ma onboard for our TCR World Tour programme, two of the best touring car drivers in the world,” he said. “Their extensive experience will be crucial to our programme as we return to a global race schedule with circuits like Macau and Bathurst.”