Honda Racing’s new recruits, Rob Huff and Norbert Michelisz, will relish the intra-team battle for glory when the 2016 FIA World Touring Car Championship gets underway at Circuit Paul Ricard in France from 1-3 April.
Along with Honda stalwart Tiago Monteiro, Huff (right) and Michelisz (left) will form a factory super team for the Japanese make to not only chase overall WTCC honours, but also top points in the new and hotly-anticipated Manufacturers Against the Clock (MAC3) team trial, which will be held at all WTCC races from this season.
Michelisz, who joins Honda as the winner of the Yokohama Drivers’ Trophy for independent racers, said: “It should always be about having top-level drivers to race against in the same environment. The challenge is going to be quite big because to have Tiago and now Rob joining the team means it’s not going to be an easy life. As every year I want to be the best-placed diver but with Tiago and Rob [in my team] it’s going to be really difficult.”
Huff moved to Honda from the works LADA operation and has spent much of his career fighting for supremacy against established team-mates. He says that experience will serve him well when he joins forces with Michelisz and Monteiro at Honda.
“Let’s not forget my first team-mate was Jason Plato [in the British Touring Car Championship] then [Nicola] Larini, [Alain] Menu, [Yvan] Muller and, more recently, James Thompson [in the WTCC] and I don’t think they get any bigger, faster and tougher than those guys,” said Huff. “Ultimately, the first person you want to beat is your team-mate because they have exactly the same machinery as you have. Norbi’s genuinely the nicest guy in the championship and a very strong driver with that. Tiago has proved himself very much as one of the frontrunners in the championship and, of course, he’s an ex-F1 driver so he has a huge wealth of knowledge in motorsport.”