Darryl O’Young has made the switch to BMW machinery for the 2013 World Touring Car Championship, joining Tom Coronel at the ROAL Motorsport team.
The coming season will be Hong Kong driver O’Young’s fourth in the WTCC. After spending two years in bamboo engineering Chevrolets, he made the switch to the Special Tuning Racing team for 2012 to race one of their SEATs. After a difficult mid-season period however, he returned to bamboo for the final three weekends of the campaign and scored two fifth place finishes in Macau.
Driving one of the Roberto Ravaglia-run team’s BMW 320 TC cars will be his first experience of rear-wheel drive in the WTCC, but the 32-year-old will be able to call upon knowledge gained from many years racing in GTs.
He will also arrive at the season opener on 24 March at Monza with plenty of racing mileage under his belt in 2013 having taken part in the 12 hour races in Dubai and Bathurst and the twice-around-the-clock race at Daytona.
“I am excited to join ROAL Motorsport,” said O’Young, who has replaced Italian youngster Alberto Cerqui at the team. “I have admired Roberto and his team for many years in the WTCC, and to have an opportunity to work with them this season is perfect.
“I have built a rear-wheel drive experience in GT racing, so I feel the BMW will suit me well. I’m looking forward to begin testing with the team, and I will work hard to deliver the best results. This will be my fourth WTCC season and by now I have the experience to fight for the Yokohama Trophy title.”
Dutchman Coronel will be entering his third season in one of Ravaglia’s BMWs, having finished fourth in the 2011 standings and fifth in 2012.
“At the end of last year, I already spoke at length with Roberto Ravaglia, who made it clear to me that the team had every reason to continue our existing partnership,” said the two-time outright race-winner, 40.
“During the winter, the team has tried everything to make the BMW lighter and better. Other than in previous years, we are now quite close to the minimum weight, which certainly will give us an advantage. With ROAL Motorsport, we are aiming at top three results in the races and in the championship.
“Of course, the opposition has been working hard, too, but I am very confident that we can be among the front runners. Another positive element is that the championship gets underway in Italy, so very close to ROAL Motorsport’s home. That gives us plenty of opportunities to test the car, even just before the first race.”
1987 world champion Ravaglia reiterated his drivers’ ambitions.
“We are very confident while looking forward to the new season,” he said. “Tom is part of our family and we are pleased to welcome Darryl in the team. They are both experienced drivers and have proved they can compete for top positions in WTCC. With them on board our team can aim for some important results; Tom has the potential to fight for top three in the Drivers’ Championship and Darryl for the Yokokama Trophy title.”
The team will start its pre-season testing regime at Vallelunga next week, 21-22 February.