It has been announced that Tom Coronel will start the 2011 World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) in a BMW 320 TC. The Dutch driver has been a competitor in the WTCC for six seasons now, and is excited to get started on his next challenge in the BMW. After a two day testing period with the new BMW 320 TC at the Vallelunga track near Rome, Tom Coronel said, “the new 1.6 litre turbo engine has a great throttle response and provides a lot of power.” He is very confident about this upcoming season, however new regulations have forced BMW Motorsports to modify their WTCC cars. After the customizations, the BMW still holds the 1.6-liter turbo engine, producing around 315 horsepower.
After transferring from the front wheel drive Seat cars, Tom said, “For me, the test was a good way to familiarize with the new car. The different character of the turbo engine and, of course, the rear-wheel drive, forced me to adapt my driving style.” He doesn’t expect any problems from the rear wheel driven cars, and has a history of experience with driving touring cars and Formula cars. At the height of his racing career, winning the Formula Nippon Championship in 1999 was really only the beginning for Tom Coronel.
Tom then tested for the Forumal 1 team Arrows, participated in the ETCC with BMW, and won the WTCC Independents Trophy twice. He was also a regular competitor of the Le Mans race, and 2011 will be a new chapter in his racing career as he starts with the WTCC again. The team will be made up of former race drivers Roberto Ravaglia and Umberto Grano, while ROAL Motorsport will handle the new BMW 320 TC.
The FIA WTCC will feature 12 race weekends with 24 races, beginning at the Brazilian circuit of Curitiba, and starting on March 20th. Tom Coronel continued to say, “In this combination, several podium results should be within reach. It won’t be easy, but the potential is there.”