Onyx Race Engineering poised for WTCC debut

Mike Earle is to give Onyx Race Engineering a new lease of life for WTCC challenge.
Onyx Race Engineering poised for WTCC debut

Onyx Race Engineering, a name best known for its international single seater exploits in the late 80s, has been reformed by former Arena Motorsport team manager Mike Earle.

During the 2013 FIA WTCC season Earle had been working on a return to the championship this year for some time. The team will develop an unknown car for the TC1 class and are talking to potential drivers and customer independent teams.

The British squad's reincarnation in conjunction with Arlington Industries Group will facilitate its operation and development out of Arena motorsports former premises in Littlehampton, the same place where Earle and Onyx also operated their F1 outfit from during the 1989 and 1990 world championships.

Arena Motorsport closed its doors by the end of a hard fought 2012 WTCC campaign by then owners Capsicum Racing Ltd. Rotek Racing then picked up the teams assets, including a 2013 Ford update package, but the car only saw testing with Robb Holland ahead of a planned return to the series, which failed to materialise. The Fords are now in the hands of a Chinese racing team.

Earle hopes that the return to touring car racing will be for the long term and that he is 'excited' about the association with Arlington Industries.

"This association with Arlington Industries Group is exciting, there are many synergies in the goals that our core businesses seek to achieve over the next five years," said Onyx CEO Mike Earle

"This is a unique opportunity to assemble such a strong automotive group with the common intention of success in the finest touring car championship in the World."

Onyx enjoyed initial success in F3000 in the mid-late 80's taking seven race victories with future touring car racers, Emanuele Pirro and Stefano Modena. However, the team's progression in F1 lasted only 26 rounds, with the highpoint being Stefan Johansson clinching a sensational drive to third place ta the 1989 Portuguese GP at Estoril.

2014 World Touring Car Championship grid (as of January 10 2014):

Yvan Muller Citroen Racing Citroen C-ElyseeSebastien Loeb Citroen Racing Citroen C-ElyseeJose Maria Lopez Citroen Racing Citroen C-ElyseeTBC Citroen Racing Citroen C-ElyseeGabriele Tarquini Honda WTC Team Honda CivicTiago Monteiro Honda WTC Team Honda CivicNorbert Michelisz Zengo Motorsport Honda CivicMehdi Bennani Proteam Racing Honda CivicRob Huff LADA Sport LADA GrantaJames Thompson LADA Sport LADA GrantaMikhail Kozlovskiy LADA Sport LADA GrantaTom Coronel ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet CruzeTom Chilton ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet CruzeHugo Valente Campos Racing Chevrolet CruzeDusan Borkovic Campos Racing Chevrolet Cruze Rene Munnich Munnich Motorsport SEAT Leon * Selected eventsMarc Basseng Munnich Motorsport SEAT Leon * Selected events

* denotes TC2 class - all others TC1Subject to publication of the official FIA WTCC entry list

by Dexter Fielding

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