18-year old German driver Luca Engstler - the son of Liqui Moly Team Engstler team principal and experienced touring car campaigner Franz Engstler - has been confirmed as the second driver for the team’s championship winning TCR Asia Series operation alongside Ecuador’s Diego Moran.
Recently crowned the TCR Middle East Series champion to add to his 2017 ADAC TCR Germany Rookie Trophy, Engstler is the ideal replacement for outgoing champion Kantadhee Kusiri, with the Engstler team looking to ‘three-peat’ both the Driver’s and Team’s championship this year in the iconic white, blue and red Volkswagen Golf GTi TCRs.
The team start season 2018 as the undeniable favourites, with Engstler Motorsport Marketing Director Kurt Treml admitting that Luca Engstler - who will do double-duty in 2018 with TCR Germany - will be an ideal addition to the team, although they are still to announce a third driver for the coming season.
“Winning the Middle East title has been a powerful motivation for Luca,” Treml admitted. “For a young driver like him it is very important to amass as many kilometres as possible in racing. He will form a strong team with Diego [Moran] and will have the chance of learning new racetracks.”
Engstler was the star performer in TCR Middle East across the off-season, winning three of the five races to become the youngest TCR champion in the three year history of the TCR category, the young star also claiming two pole positions and five podiums finishes setting up what is expected to be a stunning season for the second-generation driver.
The 2018 TCR Asia Series - the fourth season of the TCR regional championship - gets underway in Malaysia on March 28 with pre-season testing ahead of the first two rounds of the year on April 1. The series then returns to Buriram in Thailand in early June for the first time since 2016, before going back to the popular Bangsaen beach circuit in mid July. The championship will then head to Korea for the first time since the opening event of the 2016 season, before wrapping up at Shanghai in early October ahead of the 888-kilometre invitational the same weekend.
2018 TCR Asia Series - calendar
TEST DAYS, 28-29 March - Sepang, Malaysia
Rnd#1/#2, 30 March-1 April - Sepang, Malaysia*
Rnd#3/#4, 1-3 June - Buriram, Thailand*
Rnd#5/#6, 13-15 July, Bangsaen, Thailand*
Rnd#7/#8, 25-26 August - Korea International, South Korea
Rnd#9/#10, 4-5 October - Shanghai, China
INVITATIONAL, 7 October - Shanghai, China [SIC888 - endurance]
* South-East Asia Cup