Darelle Wilson competed in one of the most recognisable cars of the first ever season of the TCR UK Series, where he drove the family-run Vauxhall Astra TCR in its bright green livery.
Whilst preparations are underway to compete in the 2019 season, Wilson himself has opened up about how his journey to joining the TCR UK Series took place. The TCR Talk Blog will be sharing this journey on a regular basis.
In this first part of the story, the Vauxhall driver explains how he went about making the decision to choose which car he would race in. The story begins with the Test Day that took place at Brands Hatch back in November 2017.
“I first became interested in TCR UK in October 2017 when press releases about the series were brought to my attention. So I turned up with my Father Les for the Brands Hatch Test Day in November,” explained Darelle.
The Test day included cars from Alfa Romeo, Audi, Volkswagen, CUPRA, Opel/Vauxhall, Hyundai, Honda and Peugeot. This was an open day to all interested parties looking to compete in TCR UK.
“Having had previous experience of driving an Alfa Romeo I was very interested in what they had to offer but man that Audi looked sweet! I must say after driving the Alfa I wasn’t that impressed but the Astra had caught my eye during the day.”
With testing completed at the Kent circuit, the decision process of which car to buy and race in TCR UK in 2018 was next. Which cars had made the biggest impression and which cars were affordable?
“So we get home and started talking about the costs. We were already all set up if we decided to stay with the VW Scirroco that we had won the final race of 2017 with and we knew what the budget would be…”
“Or should we take a leap into the unknown and go down the TCR Route?”
This was the question that faced the VW Scirroco driver.
“The Audi was our first choice of car if we did decide to go with TCR but it also turned out to be the most expensive car! So maybe there was also the option that we could buy a used one?” wondered Wilson.
As it turned out, the Opel Astra had a big effect from the Test Day and the next steps were clear to follow.
“After more deliberation, we decided to speak with Kissling Motorsport about the Opel (as it had looked fast at Brands). We arranged to meet with them at the Silverstone Launch and as it was the same day as VW Cup launch we took the Scirroco with us,” explained Wilson.
“Stefan from Kissling Motorsport turned up as arranged and he was very keen for me to have a test in Germany after seeing me do a few laps in the Scirroco. After spending some time talking with him and discussing costs we agreed to speak again.”
However, it turned out that it wouldn’t be long before Wilson would hear back from Kissling Motorsport about the Astra.
“Three weeks later we were in Germany testing the Opel! And I loved it! We agreed with Stefan that if we could find the funding we would definitely race the Astra and he agreed to work out a package for us,” Darelle confirmed.
“We went back to Birmingham to work out how we could afford to purchase and buy a car as we had now decided to go and compete in TCR UK.”
The next question was: How would they raise the required £140,000 to buy the car and then go racing?
To Be Continued…
My thanks to Darelle for sharing this journey with me and opening up on how difficult it can be to go racing in any series with a new car.
I will be keeping things up to date on here as well as in The Official TCR Talk Group & The TCR UK Fans Group where members will also be sharing their thoughts and any news from FIA WTCR, The TCR Europe Series, Domestic & Regional TCR Series and any news on the TCR UK Series which started in 2018.
Until next time, all the best!