The winning team from the last two editions of the TCR International Series will be present at the start of the new WTCR - FIA World Touring Car Cup with the support of Audi Sport customer racing and Lukoil. The team will field two Audi RS 3 LMS entrusted to Jean-Karl Vernay & Gordon Shedden.
2018 has just begun but the engines are already warming up for the new season, already important technical and regulatory announcements have been made. From an agreement reached between the FIA, Eurosport Events (promoter) and WSC, the WTCR is born, the new name for WTCC, adopting the TCR technical regulations.
After the two consecutive championships (with Stefano Comini in 2016 and Jean-Karl Vernay in 2017) on two participations in the TCR International Series, the Leopard Racing team, still run by Belgian racing team WRT, is now ready to accept the challenge in this new and exciting adventure, but it will not be alone. Leopard Racing are joined by LUKOIL, a prestigious partner and famous for their professionalism in motorsports for more than 20 years. With operations across the globe, LUKOIL will lend an incredible depth of knowledge to the already successful Leopard Racing Team.
An important change also with the team’s technical parameters, Leopard Racing beginning a new partnership with the strong support of the Audi Sport customer racing department. Back in 2017, for its first year of appearance, the Audi RS 3 LMS achieved direct successes winning prestigious races and series including the Pirelli World Challenge, the TCR Russia and the TCR category of the Dubai 24H.
The Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team is born! The two cars will be driven by the Frenchman Jean-Karl Vernay (who has now chosen #69) and the Scottish BTCC legend Gordon 'Flash' Shedden (who will race as usual with his #52). The WTCR - FIA World Touring Car Cup will be limited to 26 cars with a maximum of two wildcards nominated by the organizers in each race weekend. The teams must deploy at least two cars each.
The 2018 season will begin on April 7th at the Moulay El Hassan Circuit, in Morocco, and will end on November 18th in Macao. The series will remain a two-day event (but switched on a three-race format), so it includes 30 races distributed on 10 events, nine of which have already been confirmed. Stay tuned!
#69 Jean-Karl ' Jay Kay ' VERNAY:
"I’m really happy to be part of the team again, there are some prestigious partners on board and I am sure we can do some great things with the new Audi. I think it’s going to be an exciting season, it’s all brand new. The championship is at a really high level, probably the best for the last ten years. We will have to work hard and mark sure we are ready for the first race on this new exciting calendar, going back to Argentina, Japan and some great tracks in Europe. I’m very happy with everything and have some good guys along with me on the team with Gordon. We have to work well together and then get ready to fight against the other guys, I can’t wait for the first race in Marrakech!"
#52 Gordon ' Flash ' SHEDDEN:
“Definitely looking forward to the 2018 season and joining the Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team in the all-new WTCR - FIA World Touring Car Cup. Fantastic that the FIA are involved and a huge challenge for me to join this championship. I couldn’t ask for a better team to join and with the new Audi RS 3 LMS. The link up with Lukoil looks like a really exciting combination. I can’t wait to get in the car.”
2018 WTCR Calendar
07-08 Apr : MOROCCO - Moulay El Assan
28-29 Apr : HUNGARY - Hungaroring
10-12 May : GERMANY - Nurburgring
19-21 May : NETHERLANDS - Zandvoort
23-24 Jun : PORTUGAL - Vila Real
04-05 Aug : ARGENTINA - Termas de Rio Hondo
29-30 Sep : CHINA - Ningbo Speedpark
06-07 Oct : CHINA - TBA
27-28 Oct : JAPAN - Suzuka
15-18 Nov : MACAU - Macau
Photo credit: Patrick Hecq