Norbert Michelisz aims to improve on his runner-up spot in the World Touring Car Championship last year, as he confirms plans to return to the re-branded World Touring Car Cup in 2018. The Hungarian appeared twice in the TCR International Series last year for his own M1RA Racing team where he claimed a second and a victory.
The former Honda-factory driver is still yet to confirm a contract for himself or for his team, which successfully ran Roberto Colciago and Attila Tassi last year, although it seems likely that he and his team will be back on track with the newly upgraded Honda Civic following testing with JAS Motorsport at the end of 2017.
Echoing the positive sentiments of former-TC1 rival Tom Coronel, who has repeatedly stated his excitement at the rules-change, Michelisz also commented positively on the series’ move to TCR regulations, although he has suggested potential set-backs, particularly with the increasing support from manufacturers.
“The picture is more complex,” suggests the Hungarian on Index.hu, “It’s important for manufacturers to make their cars fit well in the WTCR…therefore, according to my calculations, there will be 4-5 teams that will be able to compete with serious factory support.”
Nonetheless, the gap between the independent teams and the factory teams will be substantially less with factories required to sell equivalent cars to privateers, whilst the Balance of Performance should prevent a sole manufacturer from becoming dominant.
Michelisz goes on to suggest that, with the increased cost of the new championship, it would be unlikely to see a capacity grid of 26 cars although the number will surely be larger than grid sizes seen in the dying years of the TC1 regulations.
“I am not sure that with the increased cost of the new championship there will be 26 competitive drivers and around ten teams that can produce the necessary funds. So I don’t expect 26 permanent starters on the grid, but at the same time 20 will surely come together.”