Hungarian Conservative

Hungarian World Champion Race Car Driver Returns to Reclaim His Crown

Florent Gooden/DPPI/Norbert Michelisz Facebook
Norbert Michelisz, who won the World Cup in 2019, had still not received any information about his fate until early April, but Hyundai finally broke the silence in their official statement released on 11 April, confirming that Michelisz will continue with the team.

The first Hungarian participant in the brand new, super championship of touring car racing, the TCR World Tour, debuting this year and succeeding the discontinued WTCR, has been announced. Norbert Michelisz will continue to be the factory driver of Hyundai Motorsport in 2023, as he has been for the past five years, and will strive to regain the crown he won in 2019 in the World Tour.

When it was announced last year that the WTCR was being discontinued, chaos ensued among the participants of the top touring car racing championship. While the new championship, the World Tour, quickly took shape, there were many question marks, so it’s no wonder that teams are dragging their official announcements regarding participation and pilot line-up to the extreme. Many were puzzled that the most successful Hungarian touring car driver, Norbert Michelisz, who won the World Cup in 2019, had still not received any information about his fate until early April, but Hyundai finally broke the silence in their official statement released on Tuesday, 11 April, confirming that Michelisz will continue with the team.

Waiting Built Excitement For Hungarian Fans

The South Korean brand had already announced that it would participate in the World Tour with two drivers, but had not yet named them. They could not really have delayed an announcement any further, as the championship starts in Portugal in the last weekend of April. However, the statement seems to be just a formality. Hyundai has not changed its line-up from last year: next to Michelisz, the last WTCR champion, Spanish driver Mikel Azcona, will be the other driver. Also, Michelisz had been continuously testing with the team during the winter preparation period.

‘This will be the first season in the World Tour, which promises to be very exciting,’ said Michelisz. ‘A lot of things are changing, and I think for the better. We know that we are strong together with Mikel, and we are also aware of how great the Hyundai Elantra N TCR car is. However, there are still many questions that we will only get answers to when the season starts in Portugal. Due to the many unknowns—the new tracks, the new tires, and the opponents coming from regional championships—the champion in the end may be the one who adapts to the circumstances the fastest. I can hardly wait!

What Is The World Tour Exactly?

The World Tour is essentially a hybrid championship. It does not have its own race calendar, but rather, there have been many smaller national, regional, and continental championships in this category. Nine prestigious races have been selected from among them, and these make up the World Tour’s 2023 season. The series’ regular participants, including Michelisz, will be present at all rounds, earning points while competing with drivers from other championships.

The field is still taking shape, but it is already certain that Link&Co, one of Hyundai’s biggest rivals in the WTCR, will also be participating in the new championship, with former champion Thed Björk and Yann Ehrlacher, as well as two other drivers. Among the former manufacturers in the WTCR, Audi will also be on the track, but Cupra, whose cars were last operated by the Hungarian Zengő Motorsport, has not yet commented.

Like its predecessors (WTCR, WTCC), the World Tour will also visit the Hungaroring in the summer, and in addition to Europe, races will also be held in South America, Australia, and Asia. In this regard, it already surpasses the WTCR, which, even in its best days only ran on three continents (Africa, Europe, and Asia), and did not leave Europe in two of its last three seasons.

Norbert Michelisz, who won the World Cup in 2019, had still not received any information about his fate until early April, but Hyundai finally broke the silence in their official statement released on 11 April, confirming that Michelisz will continue with the team.

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