It's hard to keep track of the number of cliches that have been used in reference to the 2019 World Touring Car Cup grid, but perhaps the most frequently trotted out is that the competition is on "another level" this year compared to last.
There's little arguing that's not the case. The Cyan Racing team that clinched the inaugural teams' title in 2018 has, through its motorsport partner Geely Group Motorsport, brought Chinese brand Lynk & Co to the grid; Volkswagen declared "WTCR, not WRX" when announcing double World Rallycross champion Johan Kristoffersson would join the 26-car field; and World Touring Car Championship race winners Nicky Catsburg, Augusto Farfus and Andy Priaulx - a three-time champion - are all back after being impressed by what they saw in 2018.
That's quite some might to compete against before you consider the boost in backing pretty much all teams affiliated with manufacturers - the direct presence of which is restricted by TCR regulations - have received over the off-season. It's not an insignificant achievement, then, for the series' last real independent to be mixing it with the big hitters.