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Touring car legend Yvan Muller – Formula 1 was my target before I realised there is a life outside of it

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Yvan Muller during the 2019 FIA WTCR World Touring Car cup of Malaysia, at Sepang Photo Florent Gooden / DPPI

In a recent podcast appearance, WCTR – FIA World Touring Car Cup driver Yvan Muller revealed that he wasn’t even supposed to be on the grid for the 2018 season, as well as his early aspirations in Formula One.

The 50 year old Frenchman is the latest driver to go on the WTCR Fast Talk podcast presented by Goodyear, hosted by the voice of WCTR Martin Haven. 

“Single-seaters was a great school and Formula 1 was my target before I realised there is a life outside of Formula 1, and it’s one of the reasons why I moved to touring cars,” Muller said in his interview.  “At the end of F3000 in 1993, I thought it was the end of my career, but fortunately BMW asked me to do a test and signed me. That’s why I did so many things afterwards, Le Mans, Dakar, ice racing.”

This led Muller to become one of the most successful touring car drivers in the world, winning four WTCC championships and 48 WTCC wins. After finishing up his racing career, Muller took up an advisory role for the Volvo Polestar team. In 2017, the Frenchman made a one-off return for the title deciding race in Qatar, luring him back to the sport in 2018 with his own YMR team.

“For me it was not planned to drive again,” said Muller. “But we needed to learn WTCR with Lynk & Co coming in 2019. So, I decided to do my own team with Thed Björk in one car and my nephew Yann Ehrlacher in the other car.

The idea for me was to be focused on the team management but the sponsor at that time said ‘we are ready to sponsor but we want you in one of the cars’. I said, ‘if that is the only chance for me as a team to be in the championship then I have to put my helmet back on’. Fortunately, Yann had a contract with another team.”

Muller narrowly lost the championship in 2018 to Gabriele Tarquini by three points, and then joined Cyan Racing Lynk & Co WTCR line-up for 2019. He mounted another title challenge that season finishing third, however the combined efforts of Muller and Björk lifted Cyan to the Teams’ title. Muller pushes on now with his nephew Ehrlacher in 2020.

Muller’s podcast as well as others will be available at FIAWTCR.com and on other streaming platforms in two parts. Part one is releases Wednesday 22 April and part two releases Friday 24 April at 12:00 CET.

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Lifelong sports junkie, currently studying Broadcast Journalism at Hofstra University. Lead writer for Indycar at The Checkered Flag.
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