Yvan Muller, a four-time World Touring Car Championship winner, is undoubtedly one of the world's best touring car drivers of all times. He reached the top of the world for the first time in 2008, driving a Seat Leon. After that, he won three more titles in 2010, 2011 and 2013 in a Chevrolet Cruze.
Earlier in a career, before making WTCC debut in 2006, Muller spent eight seasons in the British Touring Car Championship between 1998 and 2005, winning the championship title in 2003 in a Vauxhall Astra.
Start of the career in open wheel racing
Bon in August 1969 in Altkirch, in the Haut-Rhin region in France, Muller started his racing career in 1988 when he competed in the French Formula Renault and French F3. But he first tasted success in 1992 in the British F2 in which he won the title.
The next year, he moved to FIA Formula 3000 Championship in which he finished just two of nine races. That was his last season in single-seaters and soon after, he decided to test himself in the touring cars competitions.
Yvan Muller at the start of his career
A switch to touring cars and BTCC champion
He spent two years in the French Supertouring and won the title in 1995. After that, Muller competed in the Italian Superturismo in 1996 and German Supertouring in 1997, but without any significant success.
The next challenge was British Touring Car Championship in which he was competing from 1998 to 2005. He won the championship title in 2003 driving a Vauxhall Astra Coupe and four times he finished the season as a runner-up (2001, 2002, 2004 and 2005). In total, Yvan Muller has won 36 BTCC races and had 79 podium finishes.
In the meantime, the French driver not only tested himself in the Australian V8 Supercar endurance races, but also in the European Touring Car Championship in which he was behind the wheel of Alfa Romeo 156 in 2001 and SEAT Toledo in 2003.
Yvan Muller in a Vauxhall Astra Coupe in the 2004 British Touring Cars Championship
WTCC debut in 2006, first championship title in 2008
Since 2006, Yvan Muller has been a regular driver in the World Touring Car Championship. His success was immediate as he scored maiden WTCC victory in the third round at Brands Hatch. It was his only victory in 2006 and he finished fourth in the points. Next year, he finished as a runner-up after winning two races. The champion was Andy Priaulx (BMW).
In 2008, Muller was the race winner three times in the #12 Seat Leon TDI and captured his first WTCC title. Next year, he failed to defend a trophy finishing second in the overall standings, losing a title to teammate Gabriele Tarquini.
Yvan Muller's championship-winning Seat Leon TDI in 2008
Three championship titles with Chevrolet
For the 2010 WTCC season, Muller joined Chevrolet factory team. A domination in the championship resulted with two consecutive titles in 2010 and 2011, making 11 race victories in a Chevrolet Cruze. In 2012, he finished third in the points, behind teammates Rob Huff and Alain Menu.
In 2013, Muller continued to race in a Chevrolet Cruze with RML team, not having a factory support. However, he was dominant in the championship, scoring seven wins and securing a title with two rounds remaining.
Yvan Muller won three WTCC titles driving a Chevrolet
Three WTCC seasons with Citroën
When Citroën decided to take part in the WTCC, they invited Muller to join them. The French driver took four victories and finished second in the Drivers’ standings. His experience and achievements helped the team to win 2014 Manufacturers’ championship. He stayed with Citroen in 2015 as one of the team’s top contenders for the title but again had to settle for second, behind his teammate Jose Maria Lopez who managed to defend a crown.
Before the start of 2016 season, Citroen reduced its operations in the WTCC but Muller stayed with the team together with Jose Maria Lopez. Unfortunately, it was obvious that the Alsacian passed his peak as the results were below expectations. Despite just one victory he finished second in the points, far behind Lopez who took his third consecutive WTCC title.
Yvan Muller in a Citroen
Brief retirement and comeback with Volvo
Citroen withdrew from the WTCC in 2017, so Muller also announced a retirement from a professional racing. He joined Volvo Polestar as development driver and senior advisor.
At the end of the season, in the last round at Qatar, he reactivated himself as a racer to help teammate Thed Bjork to capture WTCC title. They succeeded, taking both Drivers' and Manufacturers' titles.
Yvan Muller and his teammate, world champion Thed Bjork
Full-time return with his own team in 2018 WTCR season
Muller returned to full-time racing in 2018, with his own team in the WTCR - FIA World Touring Car Cup. The team was running two Hyundai i30 N TCR cars, one for Muller and another for Thed Bjork. Muller was among the front-runners from the start of the competition, scoring three wins and fighting for the title against another veteran Gabriele Tarquini. At the end of the season, Muller lost a title by three points. As a consolation, his team won Teams' championship.
For 2019, Muller announced that he will stay in the WTCR. His teammate would be Thed Bjork again but, this time, they will drive together for Swedish Cyan Racing.
In 2018, Yvan Muller was racing with his own team in the WTCR - FIA World Touring Car Cup
Three WRC starts, two attempts at Le Mans 24h
Outside touring car competitions, Muller was also occasionaly active in sports car racing or rallying. He recorded two attempts at 24 Hours of Le Mans early in a career, in 1993 and 1996, not finishing the race in both attempts. In 1993, he was driving Debora SP93 prototype for Didier Bonnet Racing. In 1996, he raced in a Ferrari 333 SP of Rocketsports.
In rallying, Muller recorded first successful attempts in 1999 and 2000, winning two national events in a Ford Escort RS Cosworth. In 2010, he made World Rally Championship debut with Citroen Xsara WRC at Rallye de France Alsace, finishing 42nd. A year later, he attended the same rally in a Peugeot 207 S2000, finishing 31st overall and seventh in class. Muller's third WRC attempt was in 2012 at Rallye de France Alsace, at the wheel of Mini JCW WRC. He finished 14th. In 2015 and 2016, he participated in three rally events in a Citroen DS3 WRC.
Yvan Muller in his WRC debut at 2010 Rallye de France Alsace