2013 Nitto Tires United States Touring Car Season Gets Underway

The 2013 season of the Nitto Tires United States Touring Car Championship (USTCC) will kick off on April 13 at Northern California’s Thunderhill Raceway in Willows, California. This season promises to be one of the best seasons in USTCC history with some terrific venues and lots of competition.

The season starts out at Thunderhill where many teams admit that they will not be fully ready. Round two will be at Utah’s Miller Motorsports Park where the USTCC teams will race at the same weekend with the Lucas Oil Off Road series. The June race will test the engine performance of the normally aspirated engines as the turbocharged cars will certainly perform better in the high elevation. The teams next will head out to another special venue, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in California’s Monterey Peninsula. This is a special invitational event hosted by the National Auto Sport Association and will be the first time that they have hosted such an event. After the July event, the teams get a short break before the main event of the year at Sonoma Raceway. The double header weekend in September is once again headlined by the FIA World Touring Car Championship. After the big weekend, the teams head to Southern California’s Buttonwillow Raceway in October before finishing off with another major challenge in Sonoma with a two hour endurance season finale.

There are lots of new cars and lots of new teams for 2013. Some of the existing teams will be expanding their efforts with added drivers and cars. The GoGoGear.com team will be running three cars at most races while they will field four cars at selected events with the addition of their new E90 BMW chassis to their existing BMW M3 and Hyundai Genesis Coupe cars. The new E90 chassis will be driven by Brad McClure who has scored multiple championships in the very competitive Spec E30 class and is making the jump from the amateur ranks to the pros. The Life’s Good Racing team will be running a Chevrolet Camaro in the GT class while they have signed a new driver to drive their Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart. They are also adding a third car to run in the Touring class. The TNI Racing team is also expanding, adding a BMW M3 to their lineup of two Mazdaspeed 3s. The BMW will be driven by Doug Makishima who scored a win in 2013 at the Mazda Raceway round. 2011 Champion, Brandon Kraus, is also making a return to the series. Kraus will be driving a well prepared Acura Integra with teammate Mike Lock. Speedy Motorsports will be debuting their new Acura RSX to be driven by Tom Milburn and Tony Mak. . In the GT class, the big news involves the introduction of the new Turbohoses Noble M400 to be driven by veteran Rob Rodriguez. He will go up against the V8 Camaro of the Life’s Good Racing team and the 2012 GT Champion Ken Kurtz’s Pontiac.

The quality of the drivers on the starting grid will be amazing this season. “The level of competition has really shot upwards this year. The cars are much better prepared and the drivers are super talented. Some teams have hired ringers to try to fare well. One rumor suggests that a former ALMS driver has been hired," commented one team principal.

One of the reasons for the super competition this season has to be the influx of more sponsors and more prizes. The number of sponsors providing prizes has jumped to 30 for the 2013 season with some existing partners increasing their payouts for 2013.

The season gets underway in April and the world can follow the season once again exclusively on Final Drive TV.

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