Italian team, Pit Lane Competizioni, has confirmed that it plans to have a significant presence in both the TCR Europe and TCR Italy championships during 2018.
Last year proved to be a fruitful one for the team, who entered three cars into TCR Italy. With a SEAT Leon TCR, Nicola Baldan brought home the drivers’ championship for the team, while Max Mugelli featured on the podium multiple times in the team’s Audi RS3. A further Audi was entered for selected rounds, shared by Enrico Bettera and Carlotta Fedeli.
The team shall once again return to their home championship with Baldan, though his title-winning SEAT Leon has now been replaced by a new Hyundai i30N TCR. Enrico Bettera also returns to the team, this time for a full season in the Audi RS3. Baldan and Bettera will be running sequential gearbox cars, however, the main focus of Pit Lane Competizioni’s 2018 season will be on an array of DSG-equipped vehicles.
Taking advantage of the cheaper DSG specifications, the team will be able to run a full season in TCR Europe for the same price as competing in a national series with a sequential-equipped car. The first driver to be confirmed as part of their assault on the European DSG Challenge is Giovanni Altoe, who shall be behind the wheel of an Audi RS3. Alongside his European series commitments, Altoe will run a full campaign in the Italian championship too.
Speaking on the announcement of his arrival, Altoe said: “I’m so excited! It will be a very tough season for me: 14 racing weekends and 28 races mean that I will be on track every week. I will drive my Pit Lane Competizioni Audi RS3 LMS in both series, but I will have to adapt my driving style to two completely different tyres. [as a different brand of tyres are used by either championship]”
Team Owner, Roberto Remelli, said: “We are very happy to have Giovanni with us. Despite [the fact that] he is a very young talent, he [has] already gained a great experience. Giovanni is the 2017 TCR Europe DSG class champion, this year it will be more tricky with two championships and so many contenders, but we want to battle for both Italian and European DSG trophies.”
The signing of Giovanni Altoe looks set to be the first of many, however. With a fleet of several Audi RS3, Cupra Leon and Volkswagen Golf TCR cars, Pit Lane Competizioni are set to reveal many more entries ahead of the upcoming season.
Having been present at the 2018 TCR Middle East series events in the early months of this year, the team fielded cars for a host of drivers. Alongside Altoe, eight other competitors drove for the Italian team over the course of three events. This extensive list included; Giovanni’s brother (Giacomo), Jordi Oriola, Lorenzo Veglia, Federico Vescovi, Mat’o Homola, Danny Kroes and local Bahrain-based drivers, Nasser Al-Alawi and Raed Himmo. Kroes has since signed up to drive a Cupra for PCR Sport in TCR Europe, while Homola will be piloting a Peugeot 308TCR for DG Sport Competition in the FIA World Touring Car Cup.
Giacomo Altoe, Jordi Oriola, Veglia and Vescovi have yet to announce plans for 2018 with Pit Lane Competizioni, or any other team, so are certainly names to watch as the TCR Europe pre-season draws closer to its end.