Thed Björk and Yvan Muller will form one of the most formidable partnerships in the all-new WTCR with Muller returning from semi-retirement to double as driver and team boss.
A four-time winner of the FIA World Touring Car Championship, Muller quit full-time driving at the end of 2016 to grow his eponymous team and take on a new development driver and senior advisor role at Polestar Cyan Racing. It was a hugely successful move with Björk winning the WTCC Drivers’ title and his Polestar Cyan Racing team capturing the Manufacturers’ crown with the Volvo S60.
Having formed a strong alliance in 2017, Björk and Muller will race together for a full WTCR season in 2018. But while Björk is targeting another world title, Frenchman Muller has other objectives.
“My goal is a bit different than in the past,” said 48-year-old Muller, the most successful driver in WTCC history
“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.”
Björk, 37, was a multiple Scandinavian Touring Car champion when he switched to the WTCC full time in 2016. He scored his, Volvo and Polestar Cyan Racing’s first win towards the end of that season before claiming top honours in a thrilling final-round showdown in Qatar last December.
“I am excited to be back for the 2018 season, especially with Yvan,” said Swede Björk. “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 to win.”
François Ribeiro, Head of Eurosport Events, the WTCR promoter, said:
“By limiting the entry to 26 cars we’ve always targeted quality over quantity and in Thed Björk and Yvan Muller we’ve more than delivered on that pledge. Thed proved his ability by taking two seasons to become a world champion. While Yvan’s focus might be more on his team than the track, I have no doubt he will be extremely competitive, as he showed when he came back for the 2017 WTCC finale.”
Yvan Muller Racing, which has achieved success in sportscar racing, is awaiting delivery of two Hyundai i30 N TCR race cars before it begins a testing programme ahead of the WTCR season getting underway in Morocco on 7-8 April. All 26 entry spaces have been snapped up.