In 2016, Tom Coronel will again be participating in the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC). After a long and uncertain time of preparation, the Dutch driver is now in a position to announce that he will be competing for another year at the highest level in touring car racing together with Italian team, ROAL Motorsport. In 2016, Coronel will again be racing a Chevrolet Cruze in the yellow colours of DHL.
The car is currently being prepared to the latest specifications to be on the grid in France for the start of the 2016 FIA World Touring Car Championship season.
« Never before did it take me so long before I was able to announce my plans in motorsport, » Tom Coronel says. « It was uncertain until the very end and now, I feel privileged that I am able to announce a further season in the FIA WTCC. I have been racing in this series since it started and many people feel that the FIA WTCC without Tom Coronel is unthinkable of. But all the pieces have to come together for it to happen. Earlier this year, I did the Dakar rally and I helped my brother Tim after I had retired. He was able to win his class. Right after my return, I immediately started working on the WTCC plan again. DHL had informed me that they wanted to support me as the main sponsor for another year and several other regular sponsors also decided for another year as my partners, so that gave me some more certainty. I also had to give my word to ROAL Motorsport for the preparation of the car. That has now been taken apart completely and will be rebuilt to the latest specifications including modifications to the front and rear wheel suspension and the engine. Thus, the first steps have been made and we can start looking ahead to the things that are coming up. It is certain that we will have two days of testing prior to the first race. Next to the sponsors that have remained on board, we were able to add some new ones as well, companies that have chosen for the opportunities that the World Touring Car Championship provides. In the process, they are certain of TV exposure, because like last year and during the Dakar Rally, the TomCam will be used again. With my camera, I will document many things and this will be included in the race reports to be broadcast on RTL 7. »
For the 2016 season, some changes in the regulations were announced. Thus, the handicap weights will be determined after every race weekend and the weights can add up to a maximum of 80 kilograms. « That was 60 kilograms in the past, determined after every three events, » Tom Coronel says. « So now, it is done quicker, which certainly enhances our chances as privateer drivers. The reversed grid remains in place, but now for the first race. That is something that is making me happy as well. In qualifying, we always aimed at a position somewhere around ninth or tenth place to claim a grid position on the front row for the second race. But then, you always had to survive the first race to be able to take part in the second race without any damage. Now, that has changed, too and that certainly is giving us more chances to score points. »
DHL, the company for which Tom Coronel will be doing various corporate activities in all WTCC countries next to his racing commitments, retains a major influence on the colours of the livery of the Dutch driver’s ROAL Motorsport car. This year, Coronel will be the only driver in the team of Roberto Ravaglia and Aldo Preo in the FIA WTCC, as it was the case in 2012 and 2013. « Tom’s team will be identical to last year, so he will continue to work with Pietro as his regular technician, ROAL Motorsport team principal Roberto Ravaglia says. « I am glad that we will be able to compete with Tom as our driver in the FIA WTCC for the sixth year. Because of this long co-operation, we know each other well, which is a pleasant thing both for him and for our staff. As a team, you always want to perform at the highest level and that is certainly the case with our participation in the WTCC. Last year, ROAL Motorsport managed to win the Privateers’ Cup as a team and repeating that certainly is one of our goals for this year. Moreover, we want to end up as high as possible with Tom in the drivers’ standings. Of course, the privateers’ title would be the most beautiful result. »
Tom Coronel adds: « I know all the circuits we are visiting this year. I am particularly looking forward to the races on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife, Vila Real in Portugal and Hungary. These are circuits where I have scored nice results. Now, let’s get the car ready for the two days of testing as quickly as possible. Then I can say which position we are in. In spite of the late announcement of the plans, everything looks very well for this year. I, or I better say we, are looking forward to it! »
A new name on the yellow-red-black livery of the Cruze is the one of Eurol Lubricants. Tom Coronel: « They provide the lubricants and several other important fluids. We have had a longer relationship with Eurol through our participation in the Dakar rally and I know that their lubricants work very well in tough conditions. In recent times, the company has grown massively, also at international level, and is also present in all countries in which we are racing with the FIA WTCC, so together, we can make it a situation of mutual benefits and therefore, I am delighted with this new sponsor. Other new companies to have decided in favour of our concept are Tricorp Workwear, Farmlight lampoil and ASC Group. » Next to DHL, the yellow colour on the Cruze also suits perfectly for ERU Prestige cheese, with its particular design on Tom Coronel’s helmet and the message ‘Eat My Cheese’ on the bumpers of the car. Other loyal partners are TW Steel -big in oversized watches-, Equinix, Bouwgroep Dijkstra Draisma, 4.Brands (formerly known as De Wild), Lesonal, Allsecur, Playseat, Intrax, Super-B, RSII Advan Racing and CM sms service.
2016 FIA WTCC calendar
01:WTCC Race of France (Paul Ricard), 1-3 April
02:WTCC Race of Slovakia (Slovakia Ring) 15-17 April
03:WTCC Race of Hungary (Hungaroring), 22-24 April
04:WTCC Race of Morocco (Moulay El Hassan), 6-8 May
05:WTCC Race of Germany (Nürburgring Nordschleife), 26-28 May
06:WTCC Race of Russia (Moscow Raceway), 10-12 June
07:WTCC Race of Portugal (Vila Real), 24-26 June
08:WTCC Race of Argentina (Termas de R