Exclusive interview with Tom Coronel: “The BMW is a real racing car, these front wheel drive cars are too easy to drive”.




03 Set 2014 - 13:59

Last week we had the opportunity to have an interview with one of the most experienced Touring Cars drivers. Tom Coronel, 42, currently is racing for the italian team of Roberto Ravaglia, ROAL Motorsport, with a Chevrolet Cruze TC1 and it’s 6th in the general classification, first of the indipendent drivers and first Chevrolet. In the previous years Tom raced in many series like F3, Formula Nippon, some GT championships and finallly he began his touring car career in ETCC winning the Indipendent Trophy and then in the WTCC with a Seat Toledo and then a Seat Leon  winning 2 Indipendent Trophy. Since 2009 is racing for ROAL with a BMW, now with a Chevrolet Cruze prepared by RML.Tom-Coronel-2014-Morocco-1

After having raced for many teams and many cars of the past generation, which differences did you find between the old cars and the new TC1?”

“With the new cars we have much more power, more understeer at the exit of the corner. The rear wheel drive cars have a completely different driving style; the front wheel drive car, which we are running now, I can say that it’s not as interesting as a BMW: the real wheel drive car like BMW is a real race car. With a front wheel drive car, to be honest, everybody seems to be a fast driver.”

“After the crash in Round 1 in Morocco with your friend Bennani, how did you feel? How much did the crew work in order to repair the car?”

“For sure in this case i was not happy, not at all because someone was crashing into me and it was not a professional way. He destroyed completely my car. It was the first race, everything we wanted was to be safe, be out of trouble, make no damage to the car and we crashed. The worst, worst, worst beginning of a season for a driver and a team. We needed two weeks to repair the car, even during the French round and before the race in Hungary. The mechanics are professionists, they knew how to do their job. We sent the car to RML headquarters in England and they made a great job”.

“Which was your best and worst during this first part of the season?I think Marrakech was the worst one but also Termas de Rio Hondo wasn’t as you expected.”

“No, no in Argentina we had problems, but already in the middle of Spa i didn’t feel the car and since then it was really, really bad. The car was really strong in Salzburgring, just in the qualifying session I choose for too much downforce but for the race I was really strong and  i finished second. I knew that we were having the same problem with tires, so it was good for me. I felt quite good also at Hungaroring and Slovakiaring, I had great weekends. ” Tom-Coronel-WTCC-2014-Chevrolet-Cruze

“What mark would you give to yourself before leading to the second part of the Championship in Asia?”

“The mark would be the best. I didn’t expect to be in this position, the first Chevy drive in general standings. I did the maximum since i’m in the new car. ”

“What do you think about the new regulation about Yokohama Trophy that since next year will be reserved only for TC1, unlike this year?”

“You know, it’s something that makes us happy but we are having many difficulties in the Championship that are so unbelievable, it’s so difficult to set everything in place. It could help us but it will not solve all problems. I will have not many problems, I’m a WTCC since long time so I’m okay but other teams, driver will face many difficulties.”

“We saw you during hungarian F1 weekend helping and teaching to young drivers, do you like this role as mentor?”

“I’m doing it since a long time. I always like to teach them and you feel different emotions supporting them, I really like it.”

“Moving on another topic, will you ever return to GT racing one day? With your brother Tim you could already build half line-up for an endurace race!”

“No,no,no, no! I don’t want. Really. I did already some GT racing years ago, then i started doing some WTCC, in this case it was ETCC, and i just love here. I’m in the championship since a lot, i know the people, the cars, the tires, i really love WTCC and i will keep racing WTCC. I was driving a Viper, I was driving GT cars in Japan quite a lot time ago and i was always one of the best drivers, I feel okay but i just want to be a Touring Car driver”.

“The best car ever driven?”download

“BMW, absolutely”.

“You raced the Historic GP at Zandvoort last week. A nice experience, didn’t it?”

“Yeah it was amazing. I was with a Ford and we won our in our class. The car was a beast, there was absolutely nothing: no ABS, traction control but it was really fun and a nice way to keep fit and prepared for the WTCC”.

“In conclusion, what would you say to your italian fans?”

“I like Italy. It’s a strong nation in racing because has a lot of motor racing industries and that probably why I’m racing with ROAL Motorsport. They are nice people, strong in the mind, they know what to do. I have a good feeling, it’s like a big family. It’s a shame that italian drivers aren’t at high level as they should. You told me previously about Giorgio Pantano, former GP2 championship winner: he’s the example how motorsport works. Ourdays is very difficult to find sponsors and teams prefere drivers with budget instead of talented ones.”

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