Zengo Motorsport says it is determined to continue promoting Hungarian racing talent after losing race winner Norbert Michelisz to the factory Honda team for the 2016 World Touring Car Championship.
After clinching the SEAT Leon Eurocup title with Michelisz in 2009, Zengo proceeded to step up to WTCC the following year with the Hungarian racer. Driving SEAT, BMW and Honda machinery over the last six seasons, Zengo and Michelisz established themselves as a regular front runner, scoring four outright wins and peaking with fourth overall in 2014.
However, after Michelisz clinched the independents' trophy for the first time last year driving a Zengo-prepared Honda Civic TC1, he has subsequently been poached by the factory Castrol Honda team for 2016
Though this leaves a lucrative available seat on the 2016 grid, Zengo team manager Gyorgy Juni says he is keen to avoid the offers from respected drivers in favour of focusing on promoting Hungarian talent.
“We just have to go back and start all over again,” he said. “The phone has been ringing constantly in the past weeks; it was moving to see how many people would love to race as part of our team: champions, promising young talent, many of them from abroad.
“Nonetheless, we feel that we have to stand by Hungarian talent, as this is what would make the story complete. Of course, should everything fail, instinct may dictate differently, if we are to stay in the elite.
“The car is available, and we have faith too. We continue to believe in Hungarian youngsters, we believe in talent, and, as we know, a racer faster than Norbi might come from somewhere. “
Juni also revealed that Michelisz – who will race a factory Honda alongside Tiago Monteiro and Rob Huff - won't be severing all ties with Zengo and has offered his services as a driver coach to any budding driver it signs.
“Norbi promised to stay with the team professionally speaking; he will support our new racer with expert advice so that in five or six years a new generation can be tempted to the Hungaroring.”