Gabriele Tarquini believes he can defend his World Touring Car crown, despite the works SEAT team's withdrawal from the championship.
The Italian became the FIA's oldest ever world champion at 47 last year, and will return to the series in a SUNRED Engineering-run SEAT Leon TDi with support from the SEAT factory.
"I am really pleased that I was given the opportunity to stay in the championship," he said. "I had received offers for other series, but my ambition was to defend the title. This is the first time in my career that I can sport the number one of the world champion and I did not want to miss it.
"The SUNRED people are competent, motivated and ready to make a step forward. The Leon TDI was the winning car last year and I think it can be still competitive. Obviously we won't have the same technical and financial means we had with SEAT Sport, but in spite of this I believe we have the potential to win some rounds and, with a bit of luck, to fight for the title again."
Tarquini will be joined at SUNRED by his SEAT teammates Tiago Monteiro and Jordi Gene, and reigning independent champion Tom Coronel.