The temptations of motorsport have proven too strong to resist for 4-time World Touring Car Champion Yvan Muller who is set to return full-time to touring cars in 2018 having confirmed he will pilot a Hyundai i30 N TCR for his eponymous team Yvan Muller Racing.
The Frenchman had announced he would bring an end to his racing career at the end of 2016, instead taking up a development role at Polestar Cyan Racing for the Volvo S60 TC1 car. Regardless, he would return to the track for the final TC1 round in Qatar last year scoring a sixth and seventh in support of Thed Bjork‘s quest to seal the 2017 crown
A permanent return seemed unlikely following his Qatari one-off appearance, claiming that he had ‘had [his] part in racing’, and rumours had pointed towards his nephew Yann Ehrlacher as the likely candidate for his seat at the team but the touring car legend has nonetheless reprised his role albeit now with a different objective.
“My goal is a bit different than in the past. I have done my career and my focus now is on the team and our development rather than outright results. I am pleased to have Thed involved, he trusts me and I trust him. There is no doubt that he is a great driver, I know because I spent the season with him last year,” said Muller.
Completing the YMR line-up in another Hyundai will be 2017 WTCC champion Thed Bjork, who has been temporarily loaned to the French team for the season by Polestar Cyan Racing. The Swedish team seem unlikely to return full-time in 2018 but have plans to build a TCR-spec Volvo in time for the latter stages of the year.
Bjork, like Muller, is also regarded as one of the modern era’s top touring car drivers with 4 titles in the Scandinavian region to add to his World Championship. The pair will form a venerable partnership which will go up against the likes of Rob Huff (Sebastien Loeb Racing) and Gabriele Tarquini (BRC Racing), both also former World Champions.
“I am excited to be back for the 2018 season, especially with Yvan – we had a great cooperation last year. To race together with him in the new regulations is truly motivating and inspiring. We have a lot of new things to learn and the competition is hard, but my goal is always to win,” said the Swede.