Sebastien Loeb Racing have taken the wraps off of their new set of liveries for the 2019 World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) campaign. The French squad will receive support from Volkswagen throughout the season, and have expanded from being a two-car team to running four cars under the SLR banner in 2019.
However, with WTCR entry quotas stating that each team can only run two cars, the four SLR Volkswagens will be split into two ‘sub-teams’. The identity of those teams has not yet been revealed, but the cars’ liveries have.
One SLR ‘sub-team’ will run a pair of Golf GTI’s for ex-TCR Germany racer, Benjamin Leuchter, and reigning World Rallycross champion, Johan Kristoffersson. All four Golf GTI TCRs share a similar red and white livery, however an identifying factor for this team is the fact that they will run with a black front-end, instead of grey for the other two cars.
While the differences between the two sets of liveries may be minimal, it should however be relatively easy to identify each driver. The roof of each car will display the national flag of the driver onboard, as can be seen above with the German colours on display for Benjamin Leuchter.
In a similar fashion, Kristoffersson’s car will fly the flag for Sweden, as seen below:
Benjamin Leuchter is set for a busy 2019 season, as he plans to juggle WTCR with the Nurburgring-based VLN Endurance Series. In VLN, Leuchter will continue his association with Max Kruse Racing, who he competed with in TCR Germany throughout 2018. Leuchter spoke about his intentions for the year ahead:
“For Volkswagen and me the focus this year is clearly the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup,” Leuchter explained. “But as the plans for Max Kruse Racing became more concrete, I was determined to give the best possible support for the next step. The team made a great job last year. Ultimately, the team is responsible that I made the leap into touring car’s premier class.”
In the second of the two SLR teams, 2018 team-mates Rob Huff and Mehdi Bennani will be reunited for a second season together. The British-Moroccan pairing came to blows on circuit on multiple occasions last season, most notably at the infamous Vila Real event which saw both cars entirely written-off due to extensive damage.
The duo will compete in liveries very similar to that of last year, with greyer front-ends than the aforementioned cars of Kristoffersson an Leuchter:
Moroccan racer, Mehdi Bennani, is keen to defy the odds and stake his claim for the WTCR drivers’ championship title this year. The race-winner finished 12th in last season’s standings, but believes that a rise to glory is not out of reach:
“When something is in your mind, even when it is not possible, you tell your mind to imagine things can be possible even when it’s 99 per cent impossible,” said Bennani, “In Morocco our culture is to open all the doors for things to be possible. I never close the door that I will not be the winner. I try to do my best because, in our life, if we don’t imagine some things, then it’s over.”