In 2015, Tom Coronel appears for the first time at the start of the WTCC with the ERU Prestige cheese helmet. Tom also races in the WTCC in 2016 and 2017, but in 2018 this class is replaced by the WTCR. At the moment, Tom Coronel is appearing in TCR Europe, the WTCR and in the world’s most challenging rally: Dakar.
New ride for Tom Coronel
In FIA WTCR’s second season, Tom Coronel starts with a new car: a CUPRA TCR entered by the Belgian team ComtoyouRacing. And once again, the series promises to become exceptionally competitive thanks to FIA WTCR’s new #supergrid.
Tom earns a new nickname: ‘The Showman’
For the 2019 season, WTCR asked each of the competing drivers to register a nickname. Tom has earned himself a fine one: ‘The Showman’. Coronel: “When WTCC was making the transition to WTCR, the organisers had made a video in which they called me ‘The Showman’. I’m fine with that: I tend to be in a good mood, I’m an extrovert and always in for a lark. Although I do have a serious side too,” says a smiling Tom.
Season once again starts on the streets of Marrakech
Similar to last year, the first WTCR race of the season once again took place on the street circuit of Marrakech. It’s a track that Tom feels quite comfortable with – as becomes clear when he takes the opportunity to earn his first WC points. And he’s able to chalk up even more of these coveted points during the second and third racing weekends at the Hungaroring and the Slovakia Ring. However, Tom doesn’t get the results he was hoping for on his home turf of Zandvoort. “Naturally, I would have liked to get further than I did. But the differences are so small at this level – they don’t call it a World Championship for nothing. The men and teams that are competing in this series have all shown they mean business, which explains why finishes are as close as they are,” concludes Tom.
Tom Coronel enthusiastic about WTCR 2018
After a final season in 2017, the FIA WTCC was succeeded in 2018 by a completely new series: the FIA WTCR, in which WTCC has adopted TCR regulations. Tom is all in favour of the move: “The cars are jumping to join the fray – with a wide range of marques participating – and we have a far more level playing field. We’ve returned to true touring car racing. You can hustle your way through to the front again. And that’s really something that warms my heart in this sport.”
Tom enters the field in the Honda Civic TCR
Last year, Tom already drove a number of races behind the wheel of a Honda Civic, in the TCR Benelux. This year, he will be pulling up to the starting line in the same vehicle for Boutsen Ginion’s team. His team member is the Portuguese driver Tiago Monteiro, who has been working as a factory-backed driver for Honda since 2012.
Harder to earn WC points in WTCR
WTCR is intended to make the highest level of touring car racing even more competitive. The series uses a Balance of Performance to minimise the spec differences between individual vehicles as far as possible. And this measure shouldn’t be discounted, because in the qualifyings, a few tenths of a second’s difference can actually cause you to move a number of positions up or down. Still, during the first WTCR weekend in Morocco, Tom is already able to score his first WC point, coming in a solid tenth.
Minor time differences have a major impact on results
In the racing weekends that follow, Tom is once again able to earn a number of WC points. Including during the race on home ground, at the Zandvoort circuit. During the first race, Tom is able to end in 7th place – a fine result. But once again, this brings home to Tom just how competitive the new series is: “I was supposed to make three runs in the qualifying. But in the first two, I was held back quite a bit by other cars on the track, and in the third run I made a mistake myself. At that point, it becomes clear just how much of an impact minor time differences can have in this championship: I ended up in 22nd position for both races.”
Season ends on a sour note for Coronel
Tom is able to land even more WC points in Slovakia, finishing in 7th and 8th place at Automotodróm Slovakia Ring. However, luck isn’t on his side in the racing weekends that follow: from engine stalls to technical issues to a crash, the final leg of the season brings one disappointment after the other for the driver. Hopefully, Tom can once again compete in the new WTCR series next season – and turn his luck around of course!
‘Same, same’ for Coronel in 2017 WTCC
The same WTCC racing class, the same ROAL Motorsport Team, the same Chevrolet Cruze, the same livery and of course, the same ERU Prestige cheese helmet: the 2017 WTCC season brings few surprises for Tom Coronel. Still, it’s a solid foundation for a throw at the championship!
First place in the offing during second racing weekend
During the second racing weekend of 2017, Monza promises to become the first circuit where Tom can land a podium place this season. After finishing tenth in the qualifying, WTCC’s reverse starting order means that Tom can actually start in pole position during the first race. Unfortunately, his engine stalls as the chequered flag goes up and Tom is unable to convert this fine starting position into a podium win.
Severe collision during WTCC Vila Real
The street circuit of the Portuguese town of Vila Real brings more bad luck for Coronel. In the first free training round, a severe collision brings his racing weekend to an abrupt end. Tom: “In the fourth round of the training, I was driving at high speed when I needed to turn right at the paddock. The moment I hit the brakes, all sorts of things went on in the carriage – apart from braking that is. My car went straight across a bank, through the barrier and careened into an ambulance that was standing by. It was a huge crash. It turned out later that five bolts had broken off in the front left wheel.”
Well-deserved win in Macao
Macao’s iconic street circuit becomes the backdrop for one of the high points of Tom’s 2017 season. After qualifying eighth, he is able to start race 1 in the front row. And Tom doesn’t feel like surrendering this position – eventually ending second behind Bennani in the race, which is ended early. “I’m happy that we managed to end the season in style! This season, we were so close a few times, but each time round something threw a spanner in the works. This second place is a fine result for the team – as well as for me personally of course!”
‘Made the most of it’
All in all, the season went less smoothly than Tom had hoped for: “By now my car is four years old, and it hasn’t been developed any further. That presents a challenge – particularly when you’re racing against other teams that do have cars that go a bit faster every season.” Still, Tom is convinced that together with the team, he has managed to make the most of what they had. And he’s satisfied with the season’s results. On to the next season – when the WTCC will be making way for the new WTCR series. Knowing Tom, he’ll do everything in his power to earn a spot on the starting line.
‘Mister WTCC’ back on the series’ starting line
In 2016, Tom Coronel can once again show what he’s made of at the highest level of touring car racing. This year, the ERU Prestige driver will once again be working together with ROAL Motorsports, as the Italian team’s sole representative on the track. Together with ROAL, Coronel strives to end as high as possible in the championship for private drivers. Of course, landing the Privateer Cup is also a goal in itself for the competing teams.
Changes in WTCC regulations work out for Coronel
This year once again saw a number of changes in WTCC regulations. For example, while the championship continues to use reversed starting orders, they are only adopted for the first race. Tom: “That’s good news! I often try to qualify around P9 or P10, so that I can line up on the front row in race 2. But you still need to survive the first one. Now it’s the other way round, which definitely improves my chances of scoring points.”
Win for Coronel in Marrakesh
After a fine season start, everything comes together on the street circuit of Marrakesh. Like other street circuits, this track in Morocco is a good match for Tom’s driving style. During race 1, he is able to stay ahead of reigning WTCC champion José-Maria Lopez and finish first. “A great result and good news for the entire team,” is how Tom sums it up.
More podium finishes for Coronel
That things are looking up for Coronel this year once again becomes clear during the races in Portugal. Tom is able to land his second win of the season on the street circuit of Vila Real. In Argentina, Tom shows that the summer break hasn’t thrown him off his game, earning a fine second place on the podium. While he doesn’t make it to the top three in the final three races of the season, Tom can nevertheless look back on a pretty rewarding season.
Tom Coronel dons ERU Prestige helmet for 2015 WTCC
2015 is the first year that Tom Coronel will be pulling up to the WTCC starting line wearing ERU Prestige’s distinctive ‘cheese helmet’. With a total of 277 races at EC and WC level under his belt, Tom Coronel ranks as one of the most experienced drivers in the WTCC. Still, in this exceptionally competitive racing series, experience alone is not a guarantee for success. But anyone assuming this could discourage Tom doesn’t know who we’re dealing with!
The season got off to a difficult start in Argentina for Tom. After a fine qualification, a power loss during the first race forced him to pull into the pit. And a brief off-road excursion spelled the premature end of race 2. “A messy start to the season, although it does feel as if we’re in on the action now,” says the ERU Prestige driver. Unfortunately, Coronel was unable to turn the tide during the second racing weekend on the Marrakesh street circuit. In both races, he had to retire from field after colliding with a rival driver.
Tom regains ground
After Marrakesh, Tom starts to climb the scoreboards again. At Hungary’s Hungaroring, Tom even lands himself a place on the podium, finishing a very respectable second. This success is followed by a number of fine racing weekends, during which Tom often comes in around 10th overall. During the final race of the season in Qatar, Coronel has his scope on another podium finish, starting from second position in race 2. However, his plans are thwarted by a leaking oil cooler.
Looking ahead to 2016
Nevertheless, Tom doesn’t finish the season emptyhanded. Together with fellow team member Tom Chilton, he wins the private team championship for ROAL Motorsport. “Right now, the main task ahead is to make sure that I can start in the 2016 WTCC series,” says a motivated Tom. “That’s where I belong. This was hardly my best season – I feel I had more to offer. I can’t wait to prove myself next year.”