A Statement regarding TCR Talk

With 2020 being such a unique year so far and also one where people have experienced difficult times and faced difficult decisions, the time has come for myself to update you all on a difficult decision regarding TCR Talk.

It is with great sadness that I confirm that TCR Talk will close on 31st October.


As many of you will know, my writing of this blog has been a hobby that began for me back in 2013 as a way of recovery after suffering a nervous breakdown.

As a suggestion from my wife and partner of ten years, I started to share my thoughts on my love and passion for motorsport and the blog steadily grew from there.

However, I’ve found that my time has become increasingly taken up by my full-time working role and this has led me to the decision that I am no longer able to commit the time required.

Therefore the blog will close at the end of October. The Twitter and Facebook pages will also close on 31st October.

Credit: BRSCC / TCR UK Series

I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has followed my blog, from its humble beginnings as “The Tintop Guru” through to its current version as “TCR Talk”

I have been incredibly lucky to meet some amazing people in Motorsport circles and learn so much from them. I am forever thankful to you all.

Its been a true honour to cover series such as the FIA World Rallycross Championship, the British Touring Car Championship and both the TCR UK Touring car Champion and later, the Dunlop Touring Car Trophy.

I cannot put into words how much it has meant to be able to share my thoughts and develop myself into what I call “An Amateur Motorsport Journalist”.

Credit: DPPI / FIA WTCR

The blog allowed me to grasp the opportunities presented to me that led to my joining websites such as The Checkered Flag and Downforce Racing and developing further at both sites.

However, due to my own failings in not being able to make this a full-time change in my career, the time has come to call it a day.

Some might say that this is giving up. It’s far from it. This is a simple realisation that the dream I have pursued for the past seven years is no longer possible to make a reality.

I consider myself very lucky to have been able to contribute in a very small way to Motorsport through my writing and I have many wonderful memories that I take away with me.

Credit: WSC / TCR Europe

I will continue with my role as Owner of The Official TCR Talk Group & Admin of The TCR UK Fans Group sharing what news I find from drivers, teams and other sources.

Thank you to everyone who has followed the blog in its various guises and supported me over the past seven years.

With Kind Regards and humble thanks,

Phil Kinch

TCR Talk Review: 2020 ADAC TCR Germany Touring Car Championship – Lausitzring

After following the likes of the FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR), the TCR Europe Touring Car Series and the TCR UK Touring Car Championship in recent seasons, TCR Talk will be following a returning series for 2020:

The 2020 ADAC TCR Germany Touring Car Championship

Here is the TCR Talk roundup of all the action that took place at the Lausitzring, from Qualifying all the way through to Races One and Two on Sunday…

Antti Buri sets the first pole of the year in TCR Germany

Antti Buri. Credit: ADAC Motorsport/Gruppe C

On his first appearance at the wheel of the Hyundai i30 N, Antti Buri set pole position for the opening round of the 2020 ADAC TCR Germany Touring Car Championship at the Lausitzring.

Buri topped both Q1 and Q2 and clocked the fastest lap of 1:28.878 in the second segment of the session; he was the only driver to break the 1:29 wall. Three other Hyundai cars filled the positions behind him.

In Q1, Jan Seyffert posted a first provisional best lap of 1:29.515 that was bettered by Nico Gruber’s 1:29.459 and eventually by Buri’s 1:29.394.

With thirteen cars on the track and only ten admitted to Q2, none of the top drivers took the risk of improving their lap times and positions. Eventually, only Salminen, Legutko and Tovilavičius did not make the cut.

All the fastest times in Q2 were set on the first lap out, with Buri topping the list ahead of Seyffert, Gruber and Harald Proczyk;

Dominik Fugel and Mike Halder took fifth and sixth places in their respective Profi Car Honda ADAC Saxony entries and sister Michelle Halder sealed seventh place at the wheel of her Profi-Car Team Halder Honda.

Rookie Nico Gruber claims an authoritative win

Niko Gruber. Credit: ADAC Motorsport/Gruppe C

The opening race of the 2020 ADAC TCR Germany Touring Car Championship at the Lausitzring resulted in an authoritative victory of Austrian rookie Nico Gruber at the wheel of one of the Engstler Motorsport-run Hyundai i30 N TCR cars.

Gruber took a brilliant start and never looked back, while behind him Mike Halder beat Antti Buri for second place.

At the start, pole sitter Buri hesitated and Gruber sprinted from third on the grid to take the lead into turn one. Behind him and Buri, Mike Halder overtook Jan Seyffert for third during the opening lap.

The race became processional until lap eight when the fight for tenth between Marcel Fugel, Albert Legutko and Michelle Halder resulted in the young Polish driver locking up its front wheels and ending its race in the gravel trap.

The safety car was deployed and circulated for six laps while Legutko’s Honda was towed to a safe position. Suspension failure was later confirmed as the reason for Legutko’s retirement.

Michelle Halder, who had started from the back of the grid after losing her seventh position because of an engine change, was under investigation for having possibly punted Legutko off.

When racing resumed on lap fifteen, Halder stole second from Buri, while Harald Proczyk passed Seyffert for fourth place. The top positions didn’t change, and the final laps were enlivened by the battle for tenth place between Honda stablemates Marcel Fugel and Michelle Halder, with Fugel finishing ahead of Halder.

Dominik Fugel wins Lausitz race two

Dominik Fugel. Credit: ADAC Motorsport/Gruppe C

Dominik Fugel claimed a brilliant victory in the second race of the 2020 ADAC TCR Germany Touring Car Championship at the Lausitzring.

Fugel drove his Profi-Car Team Honda Civic to take the lead shortly after the start and was then able to create a small gap that enabled him to beat the Hyundai cars of Harald Proczyk and Antti Buri, who would go on to finish the race in second and third positions respectively.

René Kircher was on pole on the reversed grid, with Michelle Halder alongside him and was Halder who led the field into turn one.

However, she was soon passed by Dominik Fugel and her brother Mike, dropping to third. One lap later, Proczyk too passed Michelle for third place in his HP Racing International Hyundai. Halder lost another position on lap six when Buri passed her for fourth place.

As Fugel was trying to pull away, behind him Mike Halder’s pace suddenly faded and at the end of lap eight, he pitted and retired. This promoted Proczyk and Buri to second and third, but despite their efforts, they were no able to close in on Fugel who went to claim a dominant victory.

Two laps from the end, Race one winner Nico Gruber was finally able to pass Michelle and moved into fourth place by the end of the race.

this means that Gruber emerged as the leader of the standings after the season opener, with a slim margin of three points over Proczyk, while Buri and Fugel are third and fourth with gaps of five and eight points respectively.

The 2020 ADAC TCR Germany Touring Car Championship will resume at the Nürburgring Grand Prix short circuit, this weekend, on 15-16 August.

Where can you watch the action?

Jan Seyffert. Credit: ADAC Motorsport/Gruppe C

The ADAC TCR Germany Series follows the successful route, which has worked for almost all TCR Series around the globe, of showing all of their races live on YouTube.

This is done on the ADAC YouTube Account which you can find here.

The ADAC TCR Germany Touring Car Championship is also one of a few series along with WTCR, TCR Europe, TCR Malaysia and TCR UK that has English commentary, so this allows for a wider audience to follow the series. You can also find the races broadcast live at TCR TV.

To catch up with any of the 2020 races that you have missed with English Commentary, please follow the link to my YouTube Playlist:

2020 ADAC TCR Germany

Rene Kircher. Credit: ADAC Motorsport/Gruppe C

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 The 2020 FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR), The 2020 TCR Europe Touring Car Series, The 2020 TCR UK Touring Car Championship and other Domestic & Regional TCR Series from around the world.

All images are used in this blog are courtesy of ADAC Motorsport-Gruppe C Photography unless otherwise credited.

Until next time, all the best!

Phil!!!

TCR Talk Explains: The Balance of Performance & Compensation Weight

TCR Competition has used the Balance of Performance to good effect in its various Regional and Domestic series around the world and in its fifth year of action, continues to do so. Straight away I can hear sighs from most of you regarding those two descriptions in the title:

Balance of Performance & Compensation Weight…

Fear not! I’m going to explain these two processes for you all to help you understand better how and why they are applied.

A level field of Competition…

Something that has become commonplace in touring car racing for several decades has been an element of trying to keep the field of cars on a level performance basis (or as close as possible) so that the racing is kept exciting and no one driver or team races off into the distance.

BoP is designed to achieve this goal because, after years of seeing manufacturer teams dominate in touring car championships (and other forms of motorsport) for what is normally three to four-year programmes, they then leave a series and this can often have an effect of reduced entries or a championship closing down completely.

The Process itself is simple to follow:

Official TCR Balance of Performance Testing…

This normally takes place during February with the venue of Valencia in Spain used for the last few years. One test driver is appointed to drive each TCR car that has been officially homologated for competition. (This simply means that the car meets the regulations its built for and is cleared for racing in a TCR sanctioned series).

With all of the cars being driven by the same driver and exposed to the same tests, this means that the data gained from each car is then used to determine if any of these cars hold an advantage.

If this is the case, there are four options that the organisers use to try and equalise the performance of each car:

Weight.
Ride Height.
Turbo Boost.
Engine power: 95% to 102.5% via ECU control

Both WSC Ltd (who own the TCR Concept and Regulations) and the FIA will then publish an initial list of the weight, ride height and level of boost each car is allowed to run to from the start of each season.

This can often include reductions for some cars and increases for others depending on the data from the initial test.

Any series that is running before the Official BoP is announced will normally run to the previously published edition of BoP.

Now, it’s important to remember that both Compensation Weight and BoP are both separate entities and ways of levelling out the field in a TCR regulated series. So what are they?

Balance of Performance

Once a season is underway, you’ll often find that there can be one or more teams that are able to get their cars into the sweet spot so that they can work best with the varying track conditions and the drivers required setup.

These teams will often lead from the front taking several wins and this can lead to one or more model of TCR dominating over the rest in the series. So part of Balance of Performance is making sure that all things remain equal.

On the opposite side of this, cars which are not as successful gain an increase in the required elements as well, to allow them to remain competitive and keep things as close as possible.

Therefore a reduction or increase in the following elements of the car will often be applied to the model:

Reduction/Increase in Turbo Boost
Reduction/Increase in Engine Power
Reduction/Increase in Ride Height
Reduction/Increase in Weight in 10-kilogram increments.

This is one way of closing up the field and reducing any advantage that one model can have over other models in the field but remember one important fact:

BoP applies to each model globally. This means that regardless of how each driver and team are performing, this is applied to them. Let’s take an example from last year: The Hyundai i30 N TCR.

Arguably the best TCR car out there last year, teams such as BRC Racing and M Racing YMR were the dominant force in WTCR. So with their pace and experience with the cars, this means that they often had reductions in Turbo Boost / Engine Power, increases in Ride Height as well as an increase in Compensation Weight to 60kgs.

Then take Essex and Kent Motorsport, running Lewis Kent in the TCR UK Touring Car Championship. Despite this being his first season of TCR Competition, Lewis also had to run with these restrictions as well because they applied to the model globally.

Not easy for a driver who is learning the trade from scratch whilst more experienced teams and drivers extract the maximum out of the car on the World stage.

Whilst this is the case, this often means that in other series one model won’t be as successful as it is elsewhere, but this is all part of the game in TCR. An even field is the aim and often this is achieved, despite the experience of the teams and drivers taking part.

Compensation Weight…

This measure is quite simple to understand. As the many drivers and teams race in TCR series around the world, often one team will be in front because, quite simply, they have found the best setup in the car that gets it working nicely in almost all conditions.

The various levels of Compensation Weight are measured in kilograms:

10kgs
20kgs
30kgs
40kgs
50kgs
60kgs – Maximum Compensation Weight.

Let’s take an example to understand this better: The Hyundai teams in the 2018 FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR).

Last season, they were the cars to beat and often spent most of the year laden with full Compensation Weight. This means that despite any restrictions impressed upon the cars by BoP (will come to that later), the drivers were still able to dominate from the front.

So as a backup to BoP, Compensation weight is then brought in as a second measure to even out an advantage that a particular car has. This measure sees which cars are half a second or more slower than the fastest car and then takes a certain amount of weight off them. The purpose is to keep the cars as close as possible.

This data is normally taken from the two fastest lap times of each qualifying/race session of each model of TCR car during a race weekend. This data will then be used to determine if a car requires more weight or less weight to remain competitive.

The Hyundai’s ran on 60kgs Compensation Weight for almost all of the season last year, with a slight drop in weight during the Asian leg of the calendar. As is often the case, this can see an improvement in the car’s pace, so weight was added back on by the time they reached Macau.

So the next question is: How often is this applied?

Frequency of Change…

So the frequency of how often Compensation Weight and Balance of Performance changes can be updated depends on the series that using these systems.

In the FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR), they accrue data from the first three weekends of action before this is then analysed. So for last season, the rounds at Morocco, Hungary and Germany were all run to other BOP/Compensation Weights determined by the initial TCR tests taken at Valencia last year.

For rounds four, five and six at Zandvoort, changes to BoP and Compensation Weight were put into effect. WTCR then looks back at the last three rolling race weekends for any future changes to be made. This saw the Hyundai’s affected and also the Audi’s make their way forward on the grid.

The TCR Europe Touring Car Series last year decided to use a different system. Because they had fourteen races over seven race weekends, they decided to implement the BoP/Compensation Weight data in 50% increments. The idea is that this keeps the cars as close as possible once again with a slightly different system.

Credit: ACI Sport / TCR Italy Series

Domestic TCR Series will also use their own system based on the data. TCR UK for example stuck with the rolling three-race weekend idea similar to WTCR, meaning that the WestCoast Racing Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR’s of Daniel Lloyd, Andreas Backman and Jessica Backman were all running at maximum Compensation Weight.

This was due to Lloyd’s dominant performance in the car. Taking into account that the races were of a thirty-minute duration and that tyre wear was a factor, this required the team to set the cars up with a competitive setup that was also a compromise of making sure that the car carried the weight well as well as giving the best performance possible.

Other series would apply the same BoP/Compensation Weight as they see fit, whether this was on a weekend by weekend basis or updating this based on any changes made by the TCR Technical updates. They also take into account the results of each driver as well.

The End Result…

Credit: Gruppe C Photography

So whilst there can be different methods of applying BoP/Compensation Weight, this all has the same effect: Good close fast racing between drivers and teams of varying levels of experience, giving a great show to the fans.

Ok, there are some TCR Series out there that from time to time will see a domain team or driver at the front often. However, keep in mind that they are often the ones with the best equipment, team personnel, driver etc and that they are putting them to good use.

Not every driver will thrive in every level of competition. A Driver who is fast in a National TCR Series could suffer more in a Regional Series like TCR Europe or TCR Asia, or worse still, really struggle in a series like WTCR. Everyone is doing their best with what they have.

BoP/Compensation Weight plays its part in all of this and often in most series you’ll see different winners over a race weekend or even different drivers setting fastest laps and taking pole positions.

Remember: Variety is the Spice of Life and in this case, also the Spice of TCR!

Credit: STCC Media

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 The 2019 FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR), The 2019 TCR Europe Touring Car Series, The 2019 TCR UK Touring Car Championship and other Domestic & Regional TCR Series from around the world.

All images are used in this blog are courtesy of BRSCC / TCR UK Touring Car Championship & WSC Ltd / TCR Europe unless otherwise credited.

Until next time, all the best!

Phil!!!

TCR Guru Interview: Pierre Runic

I’ve been very lucky so far this year to speak with TCR Creator Marcello Lotti and several drivers from the TCR UK Touring Car Championship.

What a few of you may not know is that I’m also working with a driver who is looking to get into TCR Competition and working hard on his plans and budget to do so.

 

TCR Europe Circuit Paul Ricard, Castellet 4 - 6 May 2018
The 2018 TCR Europe Series. Credit: WSC / TCR Europe Series

That driver is upcoming Swedish Motorsport talent Pierre Runic. Runic is a former Rotax Max Sportstil Cup Karting Champion who now is looking to take the next step in his career which is the move up to the TCR Series.

I recently had the chance to speak with Pierre to find out more about himself and his plans for making the step into TCR.

Pierre_Runic_Rome_Fashion_Pose
Credit: Robin Kautto for RaceMedia.net.

First of all Pierre, can you tell me a bit more about yourself?

“I’m a dedicated engineer, a beloved son, but a humble yet fearless person who have an ambition in becoming a top international professional race driver. I am highly motivated, doing everything with 110% effort,” explained Runic.

“I can’t be satisfied unless I’m pleased with my performance and that’s why I’ve become the perfectionist I am today. I love motor racing, and there is no other explanation more than I enjoy the feeling when driving on the edge. The adrenalin kick I get out of it means the world to me. The moment I put the helmet on, everything feels right.”

What are your hobbies outside of racing?

“I am very active outside of Motorsport. I love swimming, climbing, workout and tackling obstacle courses in my spare time. Another hobby I enjoy is filming, taking pictures and editing and use it for social media,” said the Swedish driver.

But most importantly, I like to spend time with my family. I’ve grown up in a big family that values time with each other, and I appreciate that a lot.”

Pierre_Runic_Rome_Photographer
Credit: Robin Kautto for RaceMedia.net.

What motivates you personally?

“While I was attending school with dreams of becoming a racing-car driver my father gave me a good lesson to learn,” explained Pierre.

“He said ‘Nothing comes easy in life, if you want to continue racing, then you need to show me that you can improve in school.’ From that day, I’ve been motivated to improve myself in everything I do !”

Can you explain why do you have chosen TCR Series competition for the next stage of your racing career?

”After a successful karting career, I need to take the next step, and the next logical step for me is in TCR Series competition. It’s a very similar concept where you can race hard against drivers around the world on any given weekend in any country with so many series to choose from,” said Runic.

“For up and coming drivers like myself, it’s a great chance to get into Touring Car racing at the Domestic level, before aiming to move on Regional and International level TCR competition. Some of the best tin-top drivers in the world are racing in TCR machinery, and I want to be up there with them.”

Pierre_Audi_Tweet-1
Credit: RaceMedia.net

How did your association with RaceMedia begin?

“Niclas Johansson, The founder of RaceMedia and I have a long history that started at the beginning of my karting career. From time to time he worked with our kart racing team, 4WIN,” said the former Karting Champion.

“When he approached me many years later with this new venture regarding TCR Series Competition, I immediately like what I saw, and I signed up. The concept is a great way for a new driver to get a head start on the TCR-Platform and to reach out to many new potential sponsors.”

Explain the main advantages working with RaceMedia?

“The package I have with RaceMedia includes everything from connecting me with a team, research and validating sponsors to marketing, sales meetings, funding and finally a place on the grid in any of the TCR Series around the world,” explained Runic.

“All this is happening while I am still working as a full-time consulting engineer within the automotive sector.”

Bas Koeten SEAT TCR 2018
Credit: Bas Koeten Racing

How are your plans proceeding for gaining support in 2018?

“Raising funds is always the hard part of securing a drive, and the workload for everyone involved has taken longer than we expected. Especially for a new driver like me who has no previous experience in TCR.”

“However, this is a long-term project for us. Many of the partners we are speaking to are already working towards helping put the 2019 budget in place. It’s possible that we might even get on the grid for 2-3 races during this year. Fingers crossed!”

32977843_1771708976278314_5492221899712757760_o
Bas Koeten Racing Audi in the 2018 FIA WTCR. Credit: Francois Flamand / DPPI

RaceMedia have signed you up with Bas Koeten Racing for your TCR Series debut. Why do you think this is the best team for you?

“I know that Bas Koeten Racing is one of the best teams for me when I take the step up to touring car racing. They have a lot of experience in TCR Competition and compete in many different locations and series around the world.”

“Once I have the budget in place, I have been offered a shared drive in a couple of races in the 24H endurance series. With their vast experience and range of TCR machinery, I look forward to this opportunity.”

Finally, where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

”I see myself driving full time for one of the many TCR teams or even in the recently announced E-TCR series, collecting wins and podium places in one of the most competitive series around the world.”

You can also find this interview at the following link.

Pierre_Runic_Rome_No_Saint
Credit: Robin Kautto for RaceMedia.net.

As per usual, I will be keeping things up to date on here with the blog as well as with the members of the The Official TCR Talk Group & The TCR UK Fans Group who will also be sharing their thoughts as well as any news from FIA WTCR, The TCR Europe Series, Domestic & Regional TCR Series and any news on the TCR UK Series which started this year.

Until next time, all the best!

Phil!!!

TCR in 2018: Pick a Calendar! Any Calendar!!

Its said that Christmas is the season of Goodwill and Giving…

Well, as a TCR Fan, I can happily say that over the last few days there has been a lot of giving with three TCR related calendars being confirmed for 2018!!

We finally had the announcement just before Christmas of a provisional 2018 Calendar for the FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR). The day before saw the revision of the 2018 TCR Middle East Series Calendar as it dropped from four events to three. Finally two days before saw the revision of the 2018 TCR Europe Series Calendar as it joins forces with the TCR BeNeLux Series.

So this post will put all of these dates for your diary in one place for easy reading and understanding!

The 2018 TCR Middle East Series Calendar…

2017-2017 Bahrain Race 2---Start_1

The TCR promoter WSC has finalized the calendar for the 2018 TCR Middle East series that will now be contested over three racing weekends instead of the four included in the previously released schedule.

The original opening event on January 5th and 6th has been dropped due to logistics reasons and so the season will now begin on January 18th and 19th at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina Circuit.

2017-2017 Abu Dhabi Race 1---8 Luca Engstler_7

The Dubai Autodrome will host the second event one week later, while the series will end at the Bahrain International Circuit at the end of February.

TCR competitors will race on the 3.1Km North Track in Abu Dhabi, the 4.3Km Dubai International Circuit and the 2.6Km Oasis Track in Bahrain. British driver Josh Files is the reigning TCR Middle East Champion.

2018 TCR Middle East calendar

18 – 19 January: Abu Dhabi
25 – 26 January: Dubai
23 – 24 February: Bahrain

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The 2018 TCR Europe / TCR BeNeLux Joint Series Calendar…

2017-2017 Adria Race 1---Race 1 grid

The new TCR Europe Series and TCR Benelux will share the bill in five race meetings during the 2018 season.

This also enables the TCR Europe Series to add a seventh event to its previously announced calendar, which will be at Circuit Zandvoort in the Netherlands on Whitsun Monday 21st May. The competitors of TCR Europe and Benelux series will race together at Zandvoort, Spa, Hungaroring, Assen and Barcelona

As a result, the full season entry fee for TCR Europe has been raised by 2000 euros from 17,500 to 19,500.

2017-2017 Adria Race 1---Race 1 start_02

Paulo Ferreira, the promoter of the TCR Europe Series, commented: “We are delighted to welcome the competitors of TCR Benelux. Together we will be able to make both series grow up quicker and better. The Belgian and Dutch drivers have already proved how good they are in Touring Cars and the confrontation between them and their colleagues in TCR Europe will produce some fantastic races.”

Xavier Schene, General Director of RACB Sport added: “To race together with TCR Europe in our five events will provide the TCR Benelux competitors with the opportunity of being part of an impressive grid, while racing for their own classification at the same time. The teams and drivers are all enthusiastic about this significant evolution.”

Hans Hugenholtz, Vice President of KNAF echoed: “The great benefit for the TCR Benelux competitors is that they will also score points for TCR Europe. As a result, why not compete for both titles? We are also delighted to see that the calendar includes two of the best Dutch racing events. This is important for our teams and drivers who have invested in TCR in the last two years.”

DMwTo1bW0AIMNCP

French driver Aurelien Comte is the reigning TCR Europe Drivers Champion whilst Target Competition are the reigning TCR Europe Teams Champions. Belgian driver Benjamin Lessennes is the reigning TCR BeNeLux Drivers Champion whilst Boutsen Ginion Racing are the reigning TCR BeNeLux Teams Champions.

2018 TCR Europe Series / TCR Benelux Series Calendar

6th May: Le Castellet, France
21st May: Zandvoort, Netherlands
10th June: Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium
8th July: Hungaroring, Hungary
19th August: TT Assen, Netherlands
23rd September: Monza, Italy
21st October: Barcelona, Spain

2017-2017-Bahrain-Race-2-02-Jean-Karl-Vernay_120

The 2018 FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) Calendar…

TCR International Series Hungaroring, Hungary 16 - 18 June 2017

The all-new FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) is set to visit 10 race tracks across four continents in 2018 following publication of the provisional schedule.

Subject to FIA World Motor Sport Council and national motorsport federation (ASN) approval, the inaugural WTCR calendar will open at the semi-permanent Circuit Moulay El Hassan in Marrakech, Morocco (7-8 April) and close at the Circuito da Guia in Macau (15-18 November), ranked as the world’s most challenging street course and a touring car venue for more than half a century.

TCR International Series Zhejiang, China 06 - 08 October 2017

Other highlights include races at the Hungaroring near Budapest, the legendary Nürburgring Nordschleife in Germany and on the streets of Vila Real in Portugal. Termas de Río Hondo will become Argentina’s home of WTCR in early August, while the series heads to the Ningbo International Speedpark in China (29-30 September).

Zandvoort in The Netherlands hosts its first FIA world touring car event since 2007. Suzuka has been chosen as the venue of Japan’s round of the WTCR together with the Super Formula finale.

TCR International Series Spa - Francorchamps 04 - 06 May 2017

An extra event is due to be added to bring the 2018 WTCR schedule to 10 weekends, subject to FIA World Motor Sport Council and ASN approval. It will take place on either 21-22 July or 6-7 October depending on the outcome of ongoing discussions with two parties.

Each WTCR event will feature three races and the provisional calendar for 2018, which remains subject to FIA World Motor Sport Council and ASN ratification, appears below:

2018 FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) Calendar

7-8 April: Marrakech (Morocco)
28-29 April: Hungaroring (Hungary)
10-12 May: Nürburgring Nordschleife (Germany) 
19-21 May: Zandvoort (Netherlands)
23-24 June: Vila Real (Portugal)
4-5 August: Termas de Río Hondo (Argentina) 
29-30 September: Ningbo (China)
27-28 October: Suzuka (Japan)
15-18 November: Macau (Macau)

An additional event will be added on either 21-22 July or 6-7 October subject to approval

François Ribeiro (Head of Eurosport Events, WTCR promoter):

“Publication of the provisional schedule marks another important step ahead of the inaugural FIA WTCR season in 2018. The nine selected events will not only offer a great variety of circuits to drivers and teams, but will also mean that WTCR races take place in front of big crowds.”

“We are in discussions with two potential locations, which Eurosport Events has not worked with before, to select one additional event for FIA WTCR
schedule, and we hope to conclude these as soon as possible.”

The Guru’s Thoughts on the Calendars…

TCR International Series Georgia, Rustavi 30 March - 2 April 201

So, now that we have some calendars announced (but not all of them confirmed yet…) there are several things that I wanted to point out.

1. I love the fact that Zandvoort is included in all three WTCR/TCR Europe/TCR BeNeLux calendars. Personally I think that this particular weekend should be billed as some sort of “TCR Super Weekend” with TCR Europe & TCR Benelux on the same weekend.

Motorsports / TCR, 6. Event 2016, Zandvoort, NL

This will be a great weekend that will showcase the success of the TCR regulations with three different series in action. This means that Zandvoort will effectively house almost all of the best talent we have seen behind the wheel of TCR machinery since its creation in 2015. Its a fantastic time to be a TCR fan isn’t it?

2. Both of the legendary circuits Macau & Nurburgring have been retained in the WTCR Calendar. Well I’m sold. I am a massive fan of both of these circuits and I feel that these will present some of the biggest challenges to the 26 car field in 2018. Seeing the likes of (hopefully) Comini, Oriola, Huff, Homola etc racing around the Nurburgring as the headline TCR act during a weekend that will also see TCR action in the Nurburgring VLN 24 Hours event is brilliant. Looking forward to that one!

AUTO - WTCC NURBURGING 2017

Now we’ve already had the TCR International Series compete at Macau in both 2015 and 2016. However after two years of action there was a disagreement between WSC and the Macau GP committee due to the organisers having opened up the rules to allow in 2 litre turbocharged Touring Cars that weren’t restricted to TCR regs.

This means that anyone could enter a car from the British Touring Car Championship, Chinese Touring Car Championship, FIA European Touring Car Cup or other series that used regs that included 2 litre turbocharged tintops. However it seems that this dispute has been resolved and thanks to whatever has been agreed, we are at least guaranteed the sight of TCR cars racing at Macau for the next two years.

WTCC Macau

3. Personally I get the feeling that during negotiations for Eurosport Events to use TCR regulations in a World Series, that using the WTCC Calendar was part of the agreement. If you take a look at the 2017 TCR International Series calendar, there are not many venues that have made the transition onto the WTCR calendar here from 2017.

For example, the following 2017 TCR International Series circuits are missing from the 2018 Calendar:

Rustavi, Georgia
Sahkir, Bahrain
Spa, Belgium
Monza, Italy
Salzburgring, Austria
Oschersleben, Germany
Buriram, Thailand,
Zhejiang, China
Dubai, UAE.

The following 2017 FIA World Touring Car Championship circuits are missing from the 2018 Calendar:

Monza, Italy
Losail, Qatar

It makes you wonder doesn’t it…

Its almost as if to keep an FIA World Series event for Touring cars active in 2018 the only thing needed were some stable regulations loaned from WSC, whilst Eurosport Events Ltd would carry on with everything regardless. All this and there is the confirmation that the TCR International Series will be suspended until 2020.

Interesting…

TCR International Series Salzburgring, Austria 9 - 11 June 2017

Despite these decisions having been made, the one thing that everyone wanted for WTCR was a calendar and we now have a provisional one. Since the news was released, there has already been updates from the likes of Comtoyou Racing and Craft-Bamboo Racing that they are looking to get programmes ready for 2018.

There is also the promise of a tenth location being added to the calendar that Eurosport Events Ltd has not worked with before. This could be a number of tracks that has seen TCR action and not WTCC action but I look forward to seeing what the tenth one will be, remaining hopeful that this will be a former TCR International Series location.

As per usual, I will be keeping things up to date on here with the blog as well as with the members of the TCR Talk International Facebook Group & the TCR Talk UK Facebook Group & The TCR UK Fans Group who will also be sharing their thoughts as well as any news from FIA WTCR, The TCR Europe Series, Domestic TCR Series and any news on the TCR UK Series that starts in 2018.

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Please note that all images in this blog post are used courtesy of WSC/TCR International Series/TCR Benelux/TCR Europe/TCR Middle East and Eurosport Events/FIA WTCC

Until next time, all the best!

Phil!!!

 

Pierre Runic has chosen Bas Koeten Racing for his TCR entrance

After a period of long negotiation, RaceMedia is happy to announce that they have agreed terms with Bas Koeten Racing to form a long term project for Pierre Runic and his entrance to TCR regulated competition for 2018.

The plan is for a two year project, with an option for a third year, for Runic to compete in one of the highly competitive and successful TCR series. Runic will make his debut for the team behind the wheel of the highly successful Audi RS3 LMS model, which has already taken race wins in the International Series and in various National Series.

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Runic himself is also looking forward to the opportunity presented to him.

“I am thrilled about the many openings this opportunity presents and as a professional I
always like to over deliver to my partners,” explained Runic.

“The shift from International karting into one of the most competitive touring car series in the world is a big leap for me, but I will put 110% into this and I will make sure no one is left disappointed.”

His initial focus is a full season in the TCR International Series, however there are also
options for the Swedish driver to compete in the TCR European Trophy. Other options being explored currently are TCR Class Endurance Racing in the 24 Hours Series or even some time in one of the many National TCR series around the globe.

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The Bas Koeten Racing Audi RS3 LMS that Pierre Runic will race in 2018. Credit: TCR Benelux

In order to make sure that Runic is fully prepared for his debut in 2018, RaceMedia has
already begun the hunt for vital sponsors to make sure that the Swedish driver can compete in a full season of competition as he goes up against experienced teams and drivers in TCR Competition.

“With Pierre driving an Audi in an already experienced and well managed top team we
believe that he is very well positioned to satisfy his potential sponsors.” Says Niclas
Johansson at RaceMedia.

More information on Bas Koeten Racing

Since the start of the TCR International series in early 2015, Bas Koeten Racing has been a part of this growing sport. The team has participated in both national and international TCR sprint series. Furthermore the Dutch squad is a very experienced player in the 24H Endurance Series.

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Currently Bas Koeten Racing runs five 2017 TCR cars. Besides the various TCR series the team competes in other championships such as Clio Cup, Supercar Challenge, Belcar Endurance Championship, Winter Endurance Championship and various national club races on the annual calendar.

Each year Bas Koeten Racing participates in around 60 events across the globe. Being active in around six different race and rally championships provides a huge advantage of technical know-how.

Pierre Runic Announces 2018 TCR International Project

Pierre Runic has confirmed today that he intends to race full time in the 2018 TCR International Series.

The Swedish driver, working in conjunction with Swedish outfit RaceMedia.net, is currently in final negotiations with a prominent and well known team who has competed in both the TCR International Series and made regular appearances in domestic TCR series as well.

The identity of the team he will be competing for and also which car he will be driving will be released in the very near future.

TCR International Series Salzburgring, Austria 9 - 11 June 2017

The programme that’s in place for Runic includes seat time during some 2017 TCR based events, also to be confirmed at a later date.

Pierre Runic has mainly competed in international karting series where he has accomplished more than 140 international race starts. During the last three years, Pierre has scored many race wins as well as winning the Rotax Max Sportstil Cup in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia twice and been a member of the exclusive Intrepid Drives Program.

He has also successfully qualified in two Rotax Max Grand Finals, what is seen as the recognised official World Championship in karting.

2017-2017 Monza Race 2---Start Race2_12 (1)

Despite the tight time frame to work on completing the plans for their entry in the 2018 TCR International Series, both RaceMedia.net and Pierre Runic are working together on a professional racing fitness program alongside with simulator sessions and a diversity of other relevant activities that will prepare the Swedish driver for his move to Top flight Touring Car competition.

With preparation underway to have Runic ready for the first round of the series, this will also show the growing potential of this young driver in what is now regarded as one of the most competitive International Touring Car series at this time to be involved in.

You can find both RaceMedia. net and Pierre Runic on Twitter at https://twitter.com/RaceMediaNet and https://twitter.com/pierrerunic

TCR Talk 2016: News Update No. 6…

As we are all aware by now, the world of TCR is expanding ever further and as well as the TCR International Series being well underway, the various domsestic series have already begun their first seasons of competition as well.

Heres a round up of all the news since Spa…and there’s quite a bit thats been going on…

TCR ITALY – COLCIAGO DOMINATES THE OPENING EVENT

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The Italian Touring Car Championship (CIT) has turned over a new leaf to follow the TCR concept and from this year has dropped the endurance format and reverted to two sprint races.

A TCR car made a first appearance in 2015, when the SEAT León of Valentina Albanese dominated the season and won the championship in front of more powerful machines.
This year TCR forms the championship backbone with a dozen of entries, while the TCS class for production cars completes the field.

The championship began last weekend in Adria, where Roberto Colciago – a former champion in the Italian F3 and Touring Cars – claimed a double victory at the wheel of his Honda Civic run by AGS Motorsport.

Despite he had rarely raced in recent years, Colciago proved that he has not lost a bit of his driving skills; his competitors, all driving SEAT León cars, were only able to challenge him during the early stages of the races.

Alberto Viberti finished twice runner-up, while Jonathan Giacon in Race 1 and Marco Costamagna in Race 2 claimed the third position.

The second race meeting will take place at Misano on June 12.

TCR THAILAND LAUNCHED IN BANGKOK

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The new season of the Thailand Super Series that includes the brand new TCR Thailand was officially launched last week in Bangkok on the banks of the Chao Phraya River.

TCR has really become the talk of the town after the first two Honda Civic TCR cars arrived in Thailand. Then last Thursday morning six SEAT Léon Cup Racer cars pitched up in Bangkok’s Lat Krabang shipping yard and they also caused quite a stir. They will be split among four teams: Krating Daeng (three), Vattana Motorsport, Singha Motorsport Team Thailand and Racing Spirit (one apiece).

The TCR concept is now alive and kicking in Thailand and ready to burst onto the local scene in now just a week and a half’s time.

TSS Vice President Preeda Tantemsapya said: “Interest is growing. Our goal is to first have an exciting new series, one that is for a new generation of car, and at a good price. It’s an affordable car and drivers can use it to progress and join TCR Asia Series or TCR International Series.”

TCR RUSSIA: LUKOIL RACING ENTERS THREE SEAT CARS

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The reigning champion in the Touring category of the Russian Circuit Racing Series, Lukoil Racing Team will defend the title with three SEAT León TCR cars. The team retained Aleksey Dudukalo and Roman Golikov, who finished first and second in 2015, adding double FIA ETCC winner Nikolay Karamyshev.

Evgeniy Malinovsky of Lukoil explained:“We have followed the TCR concept from the beginning, but even for us it was surprising to see the level of interest from Russian competitors. LastyearwewerefirsttobringTCRcarstoRussia. It was difficult because of the financial situation, but as the leaders in Russian auto sport we had to take such a risk. I’m glad our experience helped to set a full-fledged national series for TCR cars.”

Dudukalo said: “The Russian Touring category is making a huge step forward. There will be ten TCR cars compared with three/four of last season, and the driver line-up will be stronger. Considering that we all drive SEAT cars, the competition will be very close although we have a certain advantage because of last year’s experience.”

Golikov added: “I’m very happy to continue driving for Lukoil Racing after last year’s successful campaign. After finishing vice-champion in 2015, my goal is to fight for the title.”

Karamyshev concluded:I’mgladtoreturnracing in Russia. Since I was last driving here there have been a lot of changes for the better. The championship looks strong, on the par with the European series where I used to drive. It will be interesting to measure myself against a strong opposition, after making experience and winning titles in Europe.”

ZANDVOORT HOSTED THE LAUNCH OF TCR BENELUX

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TCR Benelux was officially launched during a Press/Test day at Circuit Park Zandvoort in the Netherlands.

The press conference was attended by drivers, team managers and media representatives from Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg.

Mark van Dalen and Claire Dubbelman of Kronos Events presented the season and explained the sporting format of the series that will get underway next week at Spa-Francorchamps (21/22 May) for the first of six events, at each of which the drivers will compete in one Qualifying race and four Sprint races.

To go into details, the Qualifying race will last 60 minutes and its grid will be decided by the voting on the ‘Make the Grid’ application that is integrated in the championship’s facebook page (http://dir.re/c236440d4e9d2b4381cd). So far 1755 users have already logged in the ‘Make the Grid’ application.

A compulsory pit stop must be made between the 25th and the 35th minute.
The four Sprint races will last 20 minutes each. The grids for Race 1 and Race 3 will be determined on the basis of the fastest laps set during the Qualifying race (after and before the pit stop respectively). At the end of Race 1 and Race 3, the cars will be regrouped by the leading car for the rolling starts for Race 2 and Race 4.

It is compulsory that two drivers share the same car during the events; only amateur drivers may be authorized to drive alone.

SUN BLESSES TCR BENELUX TEST DAY AT ZANDVOORT

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In a warm and sunny day twelve cars took part in the TCR Benelux testing days at Circuit Park Zandvoort, with twenty-two drivers taking turns at the wheel.

Five SEAT León cars were run by Delahaye Racing (1), WRT under the banner of the RACB National Team (1), Ferry Monster Autosport (1) and Bas Koeten Racing (2); Delahaye Racing (2) and WRT (1) also fielded Volkswagen Golf Gti cars, while two other VWs were run by Milo Racing (2). The Boutsen-Ginion Racing entered two Honda Civic cars.

The fastest lap of the day was set by Maxime Potty/Ronnie Latinne (WRT VW Golf) in 1:49.604, ahead of Renaud Kuppens (Boutsen-Ginion Racing Honda Civic) in 1:49.859 and Amaury Richard/Didier van Dalen (Delahaye Racing VW Golf) in 1:50.129.
In fourth, fifth and sixth positions followed the Mondron brothers (Delahaye Racing SEAT León) in 1:50.216, Sam Dejonghe/Dénis Dupont (RACB SEAT León) in 1:50.316 and Alexis van de Poele/Romain De Laval (Delahaye Racing VW Golf) in 1:50.691. A further evidence that the TCR Balance of Performance works well.

The two Volkswagen Golf cars of Milo Racing missed the afternoon session due to transmission problems, and so did Loris Hezemans’ SEAT that crashed because of a braking failure.

A NEW WEBSITE FOR THE TCR TROPHY EUROPE

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The opening round of the TCR Trophy Europe takes place this weekend at the Smolensk Ring, within the season opener of the RAF Russian Circuit Racing Series.

A new website http://europe.tcr-series.com is dedicated to the Trophy, offering information, results and pictures.

The TCR Trophy Europe for Drivers will be awarded for the first time in 2016, based on the results of six events that are part of the corresponding number of TCR national championships.

Only competitors (teams or drivers) who have registered for the full season in one of the TCR championships or series will be eligible to score points in the TCR Trophy Europe.
They will compete for €100,000 prize money that will be split among the top six drivers in the final classification.

The winner will receive €30,000 while €20,000, €18,000 and €12,000 will be awarded to the drivers finishing the season between second and fourth positions respectively. Finally, both the fifth and sixth placed drivers will win €10,000 each.

After Smolensk Ring, the TCR Trophy Europe will visit Misano Adriatico (Italy) on June 12th, Zandvoort (Netherlands) on July 17th, Nürburgring (Germany) on August 7th, Zolder (Belgium) on August 20th and Jerez de la Frontera (Spain) on November 6th.

BRAGIN BEATS DUDUKALO IN SMOLENSK QUALIFYING

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In a close qualifying session, Dmitry Bragin managed to beat the reigning champion Aleksey Dudukalo in the fight for pole position in the Russian Circuit Racing Series opening round at Smolensk Ring.

Eight SEAT León cars were entered in the Touring class that is reserved for TCR-spec vehicles, and they claimed the first eight positions ahead of the Super Productions that completed the field.

From the beginning of the 20-minute session, Bragin (TAIF Motorsport) and Dudukalo (Lukoil Racing Team) set the pace, improving their lap times consistently, although Nikolay Karamyshev (Lukoil Racing Team) was not far behind them.
Bragin set a provisional fastest lap of 1:33.848 that was soon beaten by Dudukalo’s 1:33.784. However, Bragin managed to retake the lead in the timesheet on his second timed lap, improving to 1:33.506.

After a pit stop for new tyres, Bragin improved further to 1:33.394, which was good enough to win pole position, as Dudukalo’s last attempt (1:33.550) only granted him the second place on the grid for Race 1. Karamyshev qualified in third (1:34.014) ahead of Lev Tolkachev (1:34.639) and Irek Minnakhmetov (1:34.758).

TCR RUSSIA: BRAGIN WINS THE FIRST RACE

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Dmitry Bragin converted his pole position into a comfortable win during the first race of the Russian Circuit Racing Series at Smolensk Ring.

After emerging as the fastest in this morning’s qualifying session, Bragin drove his TAIF Motorsport SEAT León TCR car to a lights-to-flag victory and crossed the finish line with a 1.3-second advantage ahead of Lukoil Racing’s 2015 champion Aleksey Dudukalo.

Dudukalo’s teammates Nikolay Karamyshev and Roman Golikov were classified third and fourth, while Pavel Yashin (Neva Motorsport) managed to beat Lev Tolkachev (Innocenti-AMG Motorsport) in the final sprint for the fifth position after a long fight.
Bragin was in control for most of the race, while Dudukalo had the opportunity to attack his leadership only on lap 10, shortly after the race had resumed following a safety car intervention.

The neutralization occurred from lap 7 to lap 9, after a crash between the Super Production cars of Larionov and Nesvankin. When the race resumed, Dudukalo was the leading car’s tail and made a couple of attempts to pass, but soon afterwards Bragin was able to create a gap again.

TCR RUSSIA: DUDUKALO-KARAMYSHEV MAKE 1-2 FOR LUKOIL

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2015 Russian champion Aleksey Dudukalo and double European Touring Car Cup winner Nikolay Karamyshev claimed a brilliant 1-2 finish for Lukoil Racing in the second race of the opening event of the SMP Russian Circuit Racing Series at Smolensk Ring.

Pavel Yashin (Neva Motorsport) took the lead at the start, sprinting from the pole position on the top-six reverse grid. However, Yashin lost the first position to Karamyshev during the first lap.

On lap 2, Yashin was further demoted by Irek Minnakhmetov and Dudukalo, as they moved up to second and third. A few moments later Dudukalo took second from Minnakhmetov.

On lap 4, Race 1 winner Dmitry Bragin overtook Minnakhmetov for third, while Roman Golikov and Lev Tolkachev passed Yashin climbing to fifth and sixth respectively.
On lap 5, Dudukalo took the lead from Karamyshev who was closely chased by Bragin; however, on the following lap the TAIF Motorsport driver made a mistake and lost contact; the gap between Karamyshev and Bragin grew consistently since.

Positions froze in the second part of the race, with the only change being Tolkachev overtaking Golikov for fifth. Dudukalo won from Karamyshev, Bragin and Minnakhmetov.

At the end of the first event, Dudukalo leads the championship with 198 points, two more than Bragin, while Karamyshev is third a further eight points adrift.

The SMP Russian Circuit Racing Series will resume at Nizhniy Novgorod on May 28 and 29, for rounds 3 and 4.

TCR PORTUGAL: DOUBLE WIN FOR CARVALHO AND BATISTA

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The pair of Francisco Carvalho and Nuno Batista scored a double victory in the opening round of Portugal’s National Speed Championship (CNV) yesterday at Braga’s Circuito Vasco Sameiro.

With the series adopting TCR as its major class, Carvalho and Batista won a race apiece, sharing a SEAT León run by Veloso Motorsport.

In the first race Carvalho took the best start and jumped into the lead ahead of pole sitter Manuel Gião (Team Novadriver Volkswagen Golf Gti), Francisco Mora (Veloso Motorsport Seat León) and João Baptista (SEAT León). José Rodrigues had to pit for cleaning the front of his Honda Civic after going off.

The fight for second saw Mora overtaking Gião on lap 5, however in the 13th and last-but-one lap, Mora had to hand back the position as his car suffered from fuel-feeding problems. Carvalho benefited from the duel behind him and crossed the line with a 10-second advantage ahead of Gião, Mora and Baptista.

After a short break, the drivers took the start for the second race. Batista, who had replaced Carvalho in the winning car, imitated his teammate and took the lead. Mora was forced to retire because of a steering problem after a contact with Gustavo Moura’s SEAT León.

Batista was leading, followed by Moura (who had replaced João Baptista in the SEAT) and Francisco Abreu (who was sharing the Novadriver Golf with Gião).
Once again the fight for the second place was thrilling; Abreu overtook Moura on lap 7 and eventually Moura lost third place to the SEAT León of José Cabral, while Batista won the race with a gap of tree seconds.

BATISTA AND CARVALHO ENCORE IN BRAGA’S RACES 3 AND 4

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After sharing victories in Saturday’s races 1 and 2 at Braga’s Circuito Vasco Sameiro, Veloso Motorsport’s Nuno Batista and Francisco Carvalho encored Sunday in races 3 and 4 of the Portuguese CNV.

In Race 3, Mora stalled the engine of his SEAT at the start and rejoined at the back of the field. However, he was able to recover.
After Cesar Machado’s SEAT had led during the opening lap, José Rodrigues’ Honda took over and set the pace for most of the race, chased by the SEAT of Nuno Batista.
On lap 7, Mora overtook Batista for second and three laps later he stole the leadership from Rodrigues; the two made contact and Rodrigues had to hand also the second place to Batista.

In the final lap Rodrigues managed to retain the third position beating José Cabral by a short margin. Machado finished fifth despite transmission problems.
After the end of the race, Mora received a 30-second time penalty for the collision with Rodrigues, thus Batista inherited the victory.

Once again Mora did not take advantage from the pole position in Race 4 and Francisco Carvalho took the lead at the start from Rodrigues. However, Mora managed to overtake Rodrigues by the end of the first lap and left the Honda driver fighting with Rafael Lobato for third.

On lap 4, Mora took the lead from Carvalho, while Lobato overtook Rodrigues for third; moments later Manuel Gião also passed Rodrigues for fourth.
With only two laps to go, Mora’s SEAT retired with a pierced radiator, which handed victory to Carvalho with Lobato and Gião finishing a close second and third respectively.

The championship will resume on 25 and 26 June in Vila Real.

LIQUI MOLY TEAM ENGSTLER HIRES JORDI GENÉ FOR IMOLA

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Experienced Spanish Touring Car driver Jordi Gené has been hired by the Liqui Moly Team Engstler for this week’s TCR International Series event at Imola.

Gené replaces Mikhail Grachev and joins Davit Kajaia in the second Volkswagen Golf Gti TCR run by the German outfit.

The Spaniard was one of the leading players in last year’s TCR International Series; he scored three race wins for Craft-Bamboo Lukoil at Sepang, Sochi and Singapore, and eventually was classified third in the Drivers’ Championship.

He also knows the Golf Gti TCR very well as he took part in the technical development of the German car.

CARLOTTA FEDELI AND ROMANINI JOIN WITH B.D. RACING

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Two Italian drivers will join the TCR International Series field for their home event at Imola, this weekend. Carlotta Fedeli and Diego Romanini will drive a couple of SEAT León cars run by B.D. Racing Motorsport.

Fedeli, 24 years old from Rome, has built enough experience in recent years, taking part in SEAT Italia’s one-make trophies. She was classified a brilliant sixth in the 2014 Ibiza Cupra Cup and improved to fifth last year; in both seasons she managed to claim podium results at Imola.

She has been upgraded to the León Cup for the current season, achieving an outstanding third place for B.D. Racing in the opening round at Adria.
A former competitor in the FIA Touring Car championships and the Superstars Series, the experienced Romanini will return to the TCR International Series after making a few appearances last year in a Ford Focus.

B. D. Racing will field a León TCR for Fedeli and a Cup Racer for Romanini; the team directed by Davide Bernasconi had already visited the TCR International Series last year, running Antonio D’Amico’s SEAT at Monza.

JORDI ORIOLA REJOINS THE CHAMPIONSHIP AT IMOLA

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After taking part in the TCR International Series opener at Bahrain, Jordi Oriola will make his return to the championship at the wheel of a Honda Civic TCR run by Target Competition.

Target team manager Walter Gummerer explained the situation: “Following the decision taken by Opel Motorsport to have a break from racing and focusing on testing to develop the Astra TCR, we have been looking for an alternative solution that could enable Jordi to rejoin the championship. Now the plan is to race at Imola and Salzburgring with the Honda. Afterwards we will reconsider the situation according to any further developments.”

SUCCESS BALLAST FOR PEPE ORIOLA AND JEAN-KARL VERNAY

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It would have been the WestCoast Racing Honda Civic of Aku Pellinen to carry the maximum 30-kilos of success ballast at Imola. In fact, the young Finn was the highest point scorer in Spa, with a victory (his maiden one in TCR) and a fifth place in the two Belgian races that, added to third in qualifying, granted him 38 points. However, Pellinen will not take part in the event.

This will leave Craft-Bamboo Lukoil’s Pepe Oriola – who retook the championship lead in Spa – and Leopard Racing’s Jean-Karl Vernay – the other rookie winner in Belgium – as the only drivers with the ballast. Oriola will carry 20 extra kilos on board his SEAT León, while the remaining 10 kilos will be imposed to Vernay’s Volkswagen Golf Gti.

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In terms of the title fight, Oriola’s closest competitors – his teammate James Nash and WestCoast Racing’s Gianni Morbidelli – will have the advantage of driving ballast-free cars on the ups and downs of the Italian racetrack.

MENU AND GRACHEV JOIN WESTCOAST IN IMOLA

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The WestCoast Racing team has significantly reshuffled its driver line-up for the upcoming TCR International Series event that takes place this weekend at Imola.

Touring Car legend Alain Menu and Mikhail Grachev will replace Aku Pellinen and Kevin Gleason at the wheel of two of the team’s three Honda Civic TCR cars; they will join Gianni Morbidelli who is currently third in the Drivers’ Championship.

According to the team, after winning his maiden TCR race in Spa, Pellinen cited budget complications after his key sponsor was no longer able to commit to the series as the reason for his departure, TCR regular and race winner Gleason has also been forced to step down while negotiations with a key backer continue.

Returning to the championship after a couple of appearances last year in the Top Run Subaru, Menu said: “It’s nice to be back and I am grateful for this opportunity. WestCoast is one of the top teams in the series with one of the front running cars, so I am very much looking forward to it, although it will be tough as I haven’t had any opportunity to test the car ahead of what will be a single day event.”

As for Grachev, he has switched from the Liqui Moly Team Engstler for which he had driven since the past season: “For me it is important to grow as a driver and in a team such as WestCoast with an experienced team mate such as Gianni Morbidelli now I fully have it.”

Team Owner Greger Petersson commented: “Grachev has shown commitment to the TCR International series and we are delighted that he sees WestCoast as a team that can help him meet his racing goals. And with Alain we add great experience in Touring Cars that would be a benefit to any team. Of course we are very disappointed to have lost Aku and Kevin with Aku, but this is the reality of racing where commercial partners are needed to meet budgets and hopefully both of them will be able to return to us and the series soon.

TCR THAILAND ON THE STARTING BLOCKS

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After a lot of talk and anticipation TCR Thailand finally takes off this weekend at Buriram’s Chang International Circuit.
The entry list includes six SEAT León and two Honda Civic cars; amongst the drivers are a couple of experienced guys: Carlo van Dam from Netherlands, a class winner in the Japanese F3 Championship and the Nürburgring 24 Hours, and local hero Jack Lemvard, twice a champion in the Thai SuperSeries.

Van Dam, who drives a SEAT for Singha Motorsport Team, said: “I have enjoyed my outings in the Super 2000 class before and I’m very excited to be part of a new chapter for touring car racing in Thailand. I believe the TCR series will see a lot of close racing and I am determined to win it.”

Lemvard will be in a SEAT too, but for OMP Vattana Motorsport: “TCR is something I really like so I can improve myself as a better driver,”he said. “We all have had limited testing or none so it will be even more fun and we can see who can adapt the quickest. I think the first two races will be fun especially with the reverse grid for Race 2. I have prepared myself a bit more than usual this year so I’m very ready!”

Other competitors to watch are the reigning Super Car Class 3-GTC champion Grant Supaphong and Chen Jian Hong, teammates at Krating Daeng Racing Team.

A new series for TCR cars in Central America and Caribbean

TCR Las Americas will run from October to March

 

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WSC America has officially launched TCR Las Americas, a brand new regional series reserved for TCR cars.

The announcement was made last Thursday in Santo Domingo, following a meeting between WSC Ltd. CEO Marcello Lotti and Series manager Alberto Puig with the local promoters that took place during the presentation of Dominican Republic’s Campeonato de Velocidad Sunix.

The new series – the latest in a number of national and regional championships that have embraced the TCR concept – will be run between October 2016 and March 2017, visiting seven countries in the Central America-Caribbean area.

Negotiations are ongoing to finalize the inaugural event as part of the Formula One Mexican Grand Prix at Mexico City’s Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez.

 Marcello Lotti explained: “This was a plan we have worked on for some time, as this region is an important market for car manufacturers and has a long-standing tradition for touring car competitions. Some of the countries that will host the series already have strong national championships. As soon as we began negotiating with the local promoters we met with an overwhelming enthusiasm from them, but also from local teams and drivers. The fact that the series will be run in what we consider the ‘off season’ in Europe may encourage some of the European teams to take part.”

The series aims for a field of 16 cars for the maiden season.

 

2016/2017 TCR Las Americas – provisional calendar

 30th October: Mexico, Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez (F1 Mexican GP)

27th November: USA, Homestead-Miami Speedway

18th December: Dominican Republic, Autódromo Sunix

15th January: Guatemala, Autódromo Pedro Cofiño

12th February: Costa Rica, Circuito Grupo Sur en Parque Viva

12th March: Colombia, Autódromo de Tocancipá

26th March: Venezuela, Autódromo Internacional Simón Bolívar

So, there you have it. Don’t forget that this weekend, the TCR International Series event at Imola takes place on Sunday only, meaning an action packed day for the teams and competitors. As per usual, I will be keeping things up to date on here with the blog as well as the members of the TCR Talk Facebook Group who will also be sharing their thoughts as well as any news from the series.

Until next time, all the best!

Phil!!!

TCR Talk 2016: News Update No. 5…

So, with the TCR International Season well underway and with several domestic TCR Series also getting their seasons underway as well, heres a round up of all the news that has been released since the end of the opening weekend in Bahrain, right up to this weekends third round of the International Series at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium…

THE GIULIETTA TCR IN JOHN GENTRY’S HANDS

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John Gentry, one of the most experienced engineers in motorsport, has joined the TCR International Series to take care of Michela Cerruti’s Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR.

Gentry boasts an impressive professional CV that began in Formula One had a few interludes in Moto GP and continued in Touring Cars, single seaters and Sportscars before teaming up with Romeo Ferraris and the Mulsanne Racing to work on the Giulietta TCR project.

“It all started for me at March at the end of 1970; we were building all sorts of cars, from Formula Ford to CanAm and it was a really good introduction to working in a proper racing team,”said Gentry. “Over the years, I’ve been lucky enough to work for teams like Tyrrell, Brabham under Bernie (Ecclestone), Renault Sport and Triple 8 with Derek Warwick.”

“I wrote to Mario Ferraris, saying I was interested on working for him, not realising that Miki (Michela Cerruti) was already driving for the team. I’d worked with her in Auto GP, where she won at Imola and finished on the podium in Monza, so that sealed the deal for me. The Alfa Romeo is an interesting car; it needs some refining as we built it quite quickly, but I think it could be quite successful – we’re still modifying it but our aim is to have two cars in Estoril.”

TCR CARS’ DEBUT IN THE SPANISH ENDURANCE SERIES

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The Spanish Endurance Championship (CET) kicked off at Barcelona-Catalunya circuit recently, featuring a TCR class for the first time.

Nine SEAT León Cup Racer cars took part in the two-hour race, fighting against a swarm of GTs and other Touring Cars; 51 vehicles that were divided into eight classes took the start.
The Baporo Motorsport team claimed a 1-2 finish in the TCR class, with Jaime Font and Faust Salom beating their Andorran teammates, brothers Joan and Amàlia Vinyes by twenty-nine seconds. The PCR Sport trio of Unai Arrabarruena, Iñaki Vigiola and Óscar Fernández claimed the last spot on the podium a further four seconds adrift.
The SEAT of Font-Salom was classified tenth overall, only two laps behind the winning Porsche 911.

The next CET meeting will take place in Lédénon, France, on May 8.

ARRIVAL OF TCR CARS TO THAILAND CREATES SENSATION

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The arrival of the first TCR cars in Thailand created sensation. Photos of the two Honda Civic TCR Cars unloaded from a 40-foot shipping container at the freight yard of Lat Krabang after making the long journey from Italy zoomed round the Internet within minutes of being posted.

Within just 48 hours the photos had racked up an unprecedented 18,000 shares and 800 comments. Quite simply no new racecar for many years has generated more interest in Thailand than the Civic TCR. The cars were ordered by TBN MK I Here team and the drivers, Nattachak Hanjitkasem and Wijak Lertprasertpakorn were on hand to take delivery. The former flew to Italy last month to test the Civic TCR and so he was already somewhat familiar with the striking new machine.

“It’s my second time to see the Civic TCR,” said Hanjitkasem. “So I think Wijak is more excited than me. I was really excited to see for the exterior I really like the wide body and the big rear wing. Inside JAS has done a good job with a clean and well arranged cockpit.”

The TCR Thailand’s maiden season will kick off at Buriram’s Chang International Circuit on May 22.

HENRY HO JOINS TCR ASIA WITH HONDA CHINA

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Multiple Macau Touring Car champion Henry Ho announced his participation in the 2016 TCR Asia Series. After making his debut in the TCR International Series on the streets of his home Guia Circuit last year at the wheel of a JAS Motorsport-built Honda Civic TCR, Ho is now looking forward to the new season.

“I think TCR is a very successful formula throughout the world and I like what the concept is doing for Touring Cars,” he explained. “As an official driver for Honda China, and with the support of JAS Motorsport, I feel we can be very competitive in the Asian series, especially after the Civic TCR claimed the title last year, and the 2016 International Series has already shown the Honda to be a very fast and capable challenger.”

Ho is still working out the details on team logistics for his Honda entry, but he is convinced the Civic will be one of the cars to beat this year.

“I had a great battle in the CTCC last year with Andy Yan who has just revealed he will be in TCR Asia this year. Sadly I missed one round of that championship last year, so couldn’t take the fight all the way to the final round, but I will be doing my best to go after the crown this year, regardless of who the competition will be. I’m really looking forward to the opening round in South Korea.”

GUILVERT AND CLAIRET TO DRIVE AT SPA FOR SLR

Sébastien Loeb Racing has chosen Grégory Guilvert and Jimmy Clairet to drive the two Peugeot 308 Racing Cup cars in the TCR International Series event at Spa-Francorchamps.

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“We are proud that Peugeot Sport has entrusted the two cars to our team for their maiden appearance in the TCR International Series. We hare happy to take this responsibility, as our team is ambitious and always looking for delivering the best performance. Thanks to Peugeot Sport we may count on the experience of Guilvert who has developed the car. As for Clairet, he’s a young and fast driver, and very motivated. We have a strong pair of drivers that will help us to make a good job,” said the team’s sporting director Franck Tiné.

The 34-year-old Guilvert is a test driver for Peugeot Sport and took part in the technical development of racing cars such as the RCZ Racing Cup, the 208 T16 Pikes Peak and, more recently, the 308 Racing Cup. His racing CV includes the title in the 2009 Peugeot Spider Cup and race victories in the French Supertourisme, the European GT Championship and the Blancpain Endurance Series.

“As test driver of the 308 Racing Cup I am thrilled to drive the car in an actual race meeting. We have to face a unique racetrack and a top-level championship, which makes me approach this task humbly, but with a lot of motivation because I very much wish to show the potential of the car in both, performance and reliability,” he said.

Clairet, 25-years old, only began racing in the 2013 Peugeot 208 Racing Cup in which he finished as vice-champion in 2014, behind his brother Teddy. Last year he was classified 6th in the French Renault Clio Cup.

“I am excited by the opportunity of driving the 308 Racing Cup. Especially because it is a car entrusted directly by Peugeot Sport to Sébastien Loeb Racing. This is a prestigious step in my racing career. I can’t wait to race at Spa and I will do my very best to achieve a good result,” echoed Clairet.

MONTEIRO TO RACE IN THE TCR BENELUX OPENER

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Portuguese driver Tiago Monteiro will take part in the opening round of TCR Benelux in support of Stéphane Lémeret in a Boutsen Ginion’s Honda Civic TCR. A friendly participation and first-rate back-up to enliven the first event of this new championship.

The TCR Benelux meeting in Spa-Francorchamps on 20 and 21 May will provide an opportunity for the Belgian audience to see him in action. The former Formula 1 driver is particularly familiar with the Ardennes circuit, a course that he likes.

The cars driven by Tiago Monteiro and Stéphane Lémeret will bear the traditional colours of the Boutsen Ginion team: black and orange livery displaying on the doors the number 18, the Portuguese’s lucky number!

TCR BENELUX: DELAHAYE RACING TESTS AT SPA

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Less than one month from the kick off of TCR Benelux – 21 and 22 May at Spa-Francorchamps – Delahaye Racing has begun testing on the very same track.

The German car was delivered only a few days ago to the workshop directed by Gilles Terlinden and Pierre Sevrin, and the team’s pair of drivers – Didier Van Dalen and Amaury Richard – is driving for the first time the Volkswagen Golf Gti TCR they will be sharing during the upcoming season.

“We would be lying by saying that we were not excited by the idea of driving it for the first time,” the two young drivers commented. “Our first impressions were excellent, even if the rain spoiled a bit our plan. We hope that the weather will improve and that we will be able to test in different conditions.”

MAT’O HOMOLA REWARDED WITH FANS’ VOTES

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After distinguishing himself as one of the leading players during last weekend event at Estoril, Mat’o Homola of the B3 Racing Team has been rewarded by the public votes received in the Fan Award.

In Portugal, the young Slovak posted an impressive qualifying lap time that gave him his first pole position in the TCR International Series, then led for most of the first race, fairly defending his position from a rampant Gianni Morbidelli.

Only in the last three laps was Homola forced to surrender, as the front tyre wear affected the performance of his SEAT. So much that Homola was also outrun by Leopard Racing teammates Jean-Karl Vernay and Stefano Comini, slipping out of the podium positions.
His brilliant performance and fair defence granted him the nomination for the Fan Award, together with Morbidelli; Homola eventually received 86.4% of the vote cast, a landslide that was some compensation for losing a possible victory.

“I found it really nice, that I have received this award. This means that the people liked my performance during the weekend. I was very happy with the pole position, however a not ideal tyre management and defensive driving cost me the podium. I fought as hard as I could, as I really tried to keep at least the third place.But I’m not disappointed, though. The season has just started and there are 18 races still to go! I thank everyone for voting, I really appreciated it!” Homola commented.

TCR ASIA: TEAMWORK MOTORSPORT REVEALS DRIVERS

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After revealing its entry into the 2016 TCR Asia Series last month, Chinese Touring Car outfit TeamWork Motorsport unveiled its driver lineup ahead of the opening round of the new season, which gets underway in South Korea.

Experienced Macanese driver Kevin Tse and Hong Kong-based American Bill O’Brien will spearhead the team in TeamWork’s newly acquired Volkswagen Golf Gti TCR cars.
Tse is no stranger to the circuits of Asia, having competed in a variety of categories since 2005. Over ten years in the sport he has raced in and won in many different cars and categories such as Lotus Cup, Formula Geely, VW Scirocco Cup, Lamborghini Super Trofeo, Porsche Carrera Cup, Asian Le Mans Series, Dubai 24-Hours, and a round of the Chinese Touring Car Championship with the Ford Factory team in 2015.

Tse admitted. “TeamWork Motorsport is a new team for me, but I have known a few key personnel from the team for some time so it’s not completely ‘new’. I know there will be some intense competition this year, so right now I am trying not to think too much about results. I just want to focus on my own performance and let the results speak for themselves. I hope my experience in different cars and tracks can create an edge for us.”

With more than 30 years of racing experience – much of it in Asia – O’Brien has great knowledge in a variety of cars across many of the Asian circuits. More than just a racer, O’Brien also formed his own racing team – BlackArts Racing – in 2015 that clinched the Driver’s and Team’s titles in Asian Formula Renault 2.0 that year.
“I think my experience in racing plus TeamWork’s expertise in Touring Cars will make us a strong squad,” he explained. “I may have relatively less experience in a front-wheel-drive race car, but the racing principles are the same.”

STARD UNVEILS KIA TCR CUSTOMER RACING PROGRAMME

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After a first image of the car was released a few weeks ago, further details have been unveiled about the new Kia cee’d TCR.

STARD (Stohl Advanced Research and Development), an experienced R&D company and long term Kia Motors partner is running this first ever customer motorsport project based on a Kia racecar. Among other things, STARD is behind the successful participation of the Kia K3S in the China Touring Car Championship.

A 5-door Kia cee’d TCR is currently being developed, fitted with a new 2.0-litre turbocharged engine with output of 330 bhp and torque of 243 kW, plus a number of high–tech solutions including sequential paddleshift gearbox, safety concept complying with the latest FIA standards, multi-adjustable motorsport suspension and optimised aero-package.

The racing car will be officially launched later this year, after the completion of an intensive testing phase. Soon after the Kia cee´d TCR will be produced in a limited series that will be made available to customers.

“The combination between the TCR International Series and the Kia cee´d appeared absolutely perfect from the very beginning. A huge demand among interested customers even before the official release equally demonstrates how anticipated the appearance of Kia-cars was in the motorsport world and how right the choice was with the TCR international series. We even have requests from Australia!” said Manfred Stohl, president of STARD.

Michael Sakowicz, CEO of STARD, added: “We are already in discussions with some teams that are primarily interested in international activities. To satisfy their needs in the best possible way, already during the development stage, we plan to cooperate very closely with at least one team in order to provide a customer friendly car since the beginning. The testing schedule is fixed and will be completed strictly as planned. Reliability and a perfectly functioning car are the most important factors for a successful TCR project.”

TCR ASIA: SHANGHAI REPLACES SEPANG

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WSC Asia Limited has revealed a change in the schedule of the 2016 TCR Asia to accommodate Shanghai mid-season, replacing the Sepang round on the calendar.

“As a result of the resurfacing of the Sepang Circuit which was scheduled for the first half of this year, the Malaysian circuit was struggling to accommodate all the Series into just six months,” WSC Asia Ltd’s David Sonenscher explained. “As a result of having to shuffle the calendar for an alternative, the August date scheduled for the GT Asia Series in Shanghai became the logical replacement, and it offered teams a much better package, so it was the ideal fit, and aligns us now in four of the five rounds this season.”

The opening event of the second season will be held at Korea International Circuit in South Korea in mid-May (13-15), before the Series returns to Thailand to join the Thailand TCR Series, promising a big field of cars.

Entries are already confirmed for the second season, with a good mix of established and new teams. The International Series winning SEAT León will again form the backbone of the championship, with a mix of Honda Civic and Volkswagen Golf Gti cars.

Sonenscher said: “This year will see another big step forward for Asian motorsport, and we look forward to watching TCR continue to grow in the region.”

30 KILOS OF SUCCESS BALLAST FOR GIANNI MORBIDELLI

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After taking the lead of the Drivers’ championship with a victory and a second place in Estoril, Gianni Morbidelli will race at Spa carrying the maximum success ballast of 30 kilos on board his WestCoast Racing Honda Civic TCR.

The Leopard Racing Volkswagen Golf Gti TCR of 2015 champion Stefano Comini, that finished third and second in the Portuguese races, will be laden by 20 extra kilos.

The lightest success ballast of 10 kilos will be imposed to James Nash’s SEAT León TCR of Craft-Bamboo Lukoil; the Briton won the second race at Estoril and is now second in the Drivers’ championship, only one point short of Morbidelli.

CORTHALS AND BURI JOIN THE FIELD AT SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS

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The TCR International Series welcomes two new drivers for the Belgian event at Spa-Francorchamps. Local hero Pierre-Yves Corthals and Finland’s Antti Buri will join the field this weekend.

One of the most experienced touring car drivers in Belgium, Corthals (in the picture) was crowned champion a stunning six times in the national and international Renault trophies; he also claimed victories and podium results in Super Production championships as well as competing in the European and the World Touring Car championships.
‘Pilou’ – as he his better known – returns to circuit racing after a break and will be at the wheel of a SEAT León of the Netherlands-based Ferry Monster Autosport that will also run Loris Hezemans’ sister car. Corthals’ car will sport the colours of the new TCR Benelux series.

As for the 27-year-old Buri, he will drive a Volkswagen Golf Gti run by the Belgian outfit WRT. The young Finn is in great form; he is taking part in the new ADAC TCR Germany with a LMS Racing SEAT León and last Sunday at the Sachsenring claimed a brilliant victory in the fourth round of the championship.

A NEW TCR SERIES IN CENTRAL AMERICA AND CARIBBEAN

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WSC America has officially launched TCR Las Americas, a brand new regional series reserved for TCR cars.

The announcement was made last Thursday in Santo Domingo, following a meeting between WSC Ltd. CEO Marcello Lotti and Series manager Alberto Puig with the local promoters that took place during the presentation of Dominican Republic’s Campeonato de Velocidad Sunix.

The new series – the latest in a number of national and regional championships that have embraced the TCR concept – will be run between October 2016 and March 2017, visiting seven countries in the Central America-Caribbean area.
Negotiations are ongoing to finalize the inaugural event as part of the Formula One Mexican Grand Prix at Mexico City’s Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez.

Marcello Lotti explained: “This was a plan we have worked on for some time, as this region is an important market for car manufacturers and has a long-standing tradition for touring car competitions. Some of the countries that will host the series already have strong national championships. As soon as we began negotiating with the local promoters we met with an overwhelming enthusiasm from them, but also from local teams and drivers. The fact that the series will be run in what we consider the ‘off season’ in Europe may encourage some of the European teams to take part.”

The series aims for a field of 16 cars for the maiden season.

2016/2017 TCR Las Americas – provisional calendar
30th October: Mexico, Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez (F1 Mexican GP)
27th November: USA, Homestead-Miami Speedway
18th December: Dominican Republic, Autódromo Sunix
15th January: Guatemala, Autódromo Pedro Cofiño
12th February: Costa Rica, Circuito Grupo Sur en Parque Viva
12th March: Colombia, Autódromo de Tocancipá
26th March: Venezuela, Autódromo Internacional Simón Bolívar

TCR ITALY TO KICK OFF AT ADRIA THIS WEEKEND

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The Italian Touring Car Championship (CIT) will kick this weekend off at the Adria International Raceway. The series underwent a significant reassessment, with the adoption of the TCR technical regulations for the major class and the return to the sprint-race format.

No less that ten cars have been entered in the TCR class, with the field to be completed by competitors of the new TCS class for production touring cars.
Most of the drivers will be driving SEAT León cars, although one of the favourite contenders for the title fight is the experienced Roberto Colciago; a former Italian Touring Car champion, Colciago makes his comeback after a long break at the wheel od a Honda Civic run by AGS Motorsport.

The inaugural weekend in Adria will see the drivers taking to the track for two 30-minute free practice session of Friday (11:00 and 15:40), the qualifying and first race on Saturday (11:30 and 17:50) and the second race on Sunday (10:00).

Live timing of all sessions and races and live streaming of both races will be available on the websites www.tcr-series.tv andwww.acisportitalia.it/CIT/.

IMOLA TO HOST THE ITALIAN ROUND IN TWO WEEKS

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The Italian round of the 2016 TCR International Series will take place in two weeks at Imola, on May 22.

The timetable of the event will be concentrated in one day only, on the Sunday, with the aim to make the most out of the promotion and gather as much public as possible during what will be a mid spring weekend.

TCR promoter Marcello Lotti explained: “We are grateful to the Municipality of Imola and Formula Imola for offering us this opportunity to bring an international touring car series back to this glorious and demanding racetrack. And we are currently meeting with a lot of interest from Italian teams and drivers that want to join for the event.”

Imola’s circuit, named after Enzo and Dino Ferrari, was built in 1952, along the Santerno river; it underwent a complete reconstruction in 1979 and hosted both the Italian and San Marino F1 Grands Prix between 1980 and 2006. The racetrack was further modified and its facilities rebuilt in 2010.

The lap distance is 4.5 kilometres; TCR competitors will complete 14 of those laps in each race.

So, as you can see, there is plenty of movement happening with what is turning out to be a fantastic year of action throughout the TCR Arena and with domestic series being announce and getting underway, I am sure that there is plenty more to come. Please keep following my blog for all the news updates durig 2016 as well as joining up on the TCR Talk Facebook Group.

Until next time, All the best!

Phil!

TCR Talk 2016: News Update No.4

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We are now days away from the opening weekend of the 2016 TCR International Series which takes place at the Bahrain International Circuit.

So, with the season almost underway after a very busy winter, heres the latest bunch of news stories…

WestCoast Racing confirms drivers for 2016 TCR title bid

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WestCoast Racing will return to the TCR International Series with a trio of ‘Step 2’ Honda Civic TCRs and a bolstered driver line-up made up of former Formula 1 ace Gianni Morbidelli, Finnish front-wheel-drive specialist Aku Pellinen and rapid American Kevin Gleason.

The Swedish team will roll out its trio of drivers, upgraded Honda Civics and abrighter livery in front of fully stocked grandstands during the TCR International Series’ curtain-raiser at the Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix (1-3 April).

There will be increased competition from SEAT, Volkswagen, Alfa Romeo, Opel and Subaru, and this will be met by an uprated ‘Step 2’ Honda Civic TCR, which was raced to pole position and victory in the concluding part of 2015 in Macau.

Morbidelli and Gleason remain under the WestCoast Racing umbrella for a second shot at the TCR International title and the teammates will no doubt be among the favourites for the 2016 crown, having both raced to several race wins, podium finishes and pole positions last season.

They will be joined by former Abarth 500 AC Euro Champion, Pellinen of Uusikaupunki, Finland, who is keen to play to his strengths in front-wheel-drive with sponsorship from Niinivirta after spending 2015 competing in Porsche Carrera Cup machinery.

“It’s a great pleasure to be back in the WestCoast Racing team for a second year – I feel like I am at home here,” said Morbidelli. “Firstly, I want to thank Team Principal Greger Petersson and all the team for placing their trust in me again.  WestCoast Racing and I have one goal and that is to win. We now have a more complete package with the addition of Aku (Pellinen) and I have no doubt that he, Kevin and me will all be giving the maximum to be on top in what I’m sure will be another enjoyable year for us all.”

Pellinen said: “This is quite a big step in my career and my first experience of racing outside of Europe, but it’s a good opportunity in a series that is growing at a surprisingly fast rate. It’s a real opportunity to spread my wings and, while I’ve only completed a handful of laps in the Honda Civic TCR, I’m confident it will suit me well. I’ve driven a lot of front-wheel-drive cars in my career and I know where my strengths lie and where I need to improve.

“I think I can take a lot from my teammates, but particularly Gianni (Morbidelli), as he has been racing for more years than I’ve lived. WestCoast Racing also has a lot of experience with touring cars, so I’m expecting to learn quite a few new tricks. Of course, many of the circuits will be new to me, but I have spent a lot of time in the simulator so I won’t be starting from zero. I will try to finish the first races to get as much mileage as possible and I’ll be happy if I can finish somewhere close to my teammates who have far more experience with the car than I do. It will be good to compare myself to both Gianni and Kevin (Gleason).”

Gleason added: “I’m thrilled to be back with WestCoast Racing for a second season, as this is the first time in my career that I’ve remained with one team for more than one year. We grew really close while travelling the world in 2015 so the team is like my motorsport family, and we all get along really well. To stay with them, to know the TCR International Series and many of the circuits on the calendar, I should be in a strong position this year.

“As opposed to last year, the team has quite a few testing miles under its belt and we should be able to hit the ground running when we get to Bahrain. There’s no question I’m coming back to win the championship for myself and the team. I learnt more than ever before in 2015 and I’ve been trying to identify my strong points and deal with my weak areas to be stronger. Of course, WestCoast has three solid drivers in Gianni (Morbidelli), Aku (Pellinen) and me. We’ll all push each other and work to find the best setups to benefit the team as a whole.”

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WestCoast Racing Team Manager, James Nixon, said: “It feels great to welcome back both Gianni Morbidelli and Kevin Gleason to WestCoast Racing. The commitment from both drivers is immense, as they work tirelessly on improving and they grew closer as teammates during the 2015 season, working fantastically well to develop the Honda Civic with their engineers. All of that hard work will hopefully show in this year’s results. They, along with the eventual Champion, were the outstanding drivers in the field for me.

“We are also pleased to be starting a new collaboration with young Finnish driver, Aku Pellinen, who I have been watching closely in recent years. I believe he will be a top contender for the title come the end of the season, as there’s no doubting his speed and passion to be at e top. Working with Gianni and Kevin will be a big help on his return to front-wheel-drive and everybody at WestCoast Racing is excited to see how his season unfolds. With this line-up, I feel we are now in a position to take on the fight for the titles.”

Positive test for the Romeo Ferraris Giulietta TCR

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The Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR built by Romeo Ferraris engineering company took part in the Valencia test days with Michela Cerruti at the wheel. The Italian car completed a large number of laps with no reported technical issues.

Team principal Mario Ferraris commented: “We can be satisfied. On both days the car proved to be reliable and we were able to focus on the set up and balance. Our work resulted in very positive response in terms of performance. We still have more work to do, but the potential looks good.”

Michela Cerruti echoed: “This was our first test on a long track and we were pleased to see that everything worked. The Giulietta has a very good base to work from, but clearly there is room for improvement, especially with regard to its behaviour in cornering. We would have liked to have had more time for testing and development, but that is true for everybody! Still, it’s good to see that we did not have any major hiccups and we are confident for the kick-off in Bahrain.”

Homola and Borković happy with Valencia test

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The B3 Racing Team Hungary took part in the Valencia test days with its three SEAT León cars driven by Mat’o Homola, Attila Tassi and Dušan Borković.

Homola was happy with the work they did in Spain:  Compared to 2015 the car is now fitted with a sequential racing gearbox, new aerodynamics kit, cooling system, suspension and brakes. We focused mainly on suspension and vehicle balance setting. The new gearbox is a lot lighter and this changed the vehicle weight distribution, so we need to adjust the setting accordingly. We have tested several brake pad compounds and are still looking for the best solution that can make the car faster and easier to drive.”

Homola’s race engineer Manuel Huguet added. “We have gathered a lot of data, were able to test several suspension settings and practised starts. Mat’o is a passionate driver and did a great job. We are still facing some small teething issues, but nothing serious.”

Borković was also satisfied with the test: “I expected the SEAT to be upgraded and I was not disappointed. I have made an instant connection with my new race engineer, we worked on quite a lot of things until the rain fell on Monday afternoon. The championship will be extremely competitive and I am looking forward to this great challenge.”

LEOPARD RACING CONTINUED TESTING IN FRANCE

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After a first test at Valencia, Leopard Racing continued developing and setting up its two Volkswagen Golf Gti TCR cars at Magny-Cours.
In good weather conditions, but with cold temperatures, the Stefano Comini and Jean-Karl Vernay could not push the tyres to the limit, although they were able to complete several laps using two different configurations.

Comini said: “We worked a lot throughout the day. There were some teething problems, but we were still able to learn more about the car. Everything we tried went in the right direction and we hope that this information will be useful for the first event.”

Vernay added: “Weather conditions were not ideal and we struggled to heat the tyres up. In any case it was a good test that allowed us to continue improving our knowledge of the car. We gathered data that will be important for the upcoming races.”

NOT LONG NOW TO THE NIGHT RACE AT THE BAHRAIN F1 GP

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The TCR International Series will kick off for its second season at the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir, within the frame of the Formula One Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix.

It will be a spectacular start, with the first race taking place on Saturday evening at 19.30, immediately after the end of the Formula One Qualifying session. It will be the first of two night races during the season, together with Singapore Race 1 on September 17.
The second race in Bahrain will be held on Sunday in the early afternoon, as an appetizer to the F1 GP.

To celebrate its second season, the TCR International Series launches a revamped version of its official website. Besides a more dynamic and friendly layout, the site offers new and improved features, such as a ‘Latest results’ box with dates and times, a larger video window for live streaming, direct links to the new ‘TCR Marketplace’, the TCR You Tube page and the TCR regional and national series, plus the past season’s archive that includes full results, releases and standings.
The list of the teams that entered for the full season, with the drivers’ names, will be unveiled in the next days.

LUIGI FERRARA AT BAHRAIN IN THE TOP RUN SUBARU

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It will be Luigi Ferrara to drive the Top Run-built Subaru STi TCR in the International Series season opener at Bahrain.
A former champion in the Italian F3 (2005) and Porsche Cup (2008), Ferrari proved his Touring Car skills at the wheel of a Mercedes AMG (also built by Top Run), winning several Superstars races and finishing twice runner up in the International Series (2011 and 2012).

“I’m so excited to race in the TCR International Series that is a top-level championship. I’m also pleased to get back to sprint races, that is where I claimed by best results. It is true that I don’t have experience with front-wheel drive cars, but I’m used to adapt myself quickly to any new cars. And I’m not like a fish out of water, because I know the team and I know the track, where I claimed a fourth place in the 2009 Porsche Supercup. My only regret is not to have time to test the Subaru before, but I am optimist and my goal is to finish in the points,” said Ferrara.

Team manager Renato Russo added: “Bahrain will be another important test on the way to develop the Subaru TCR, and in this respect we are happy that Ferrara agreed to drive, because we have worked very well with him in the past.”

TCR WELCOMES BEN CONSTANDUROS AS TV COMMENTATOR

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The TCR family welcomes Ben Constanduros as TV commentator for the International Series.

The son of F1 commentator and journalist Bob Constanduros, Ben has established himself as one of the most respected voices in motorsport. His past experiences as a presenter, commentator and producer have included F1, the Goodwood Festival of Speed, the Le Mans 24 Hours, the Race of Champions and the WTCC.

“I have closely followed TCR in its first year and truly believe it is the future of real, competitive and entertaining Touring Car racing that I can really get excited about. Getting into the commentary box will be a return to where my career began and I also look forward to having a technical look at the cars in closer detail for ‘Bens Blog’. I look forward to working with the experienced and passionate team,” said Ben who will work together with pit reporter Mark James. “Mark is a broadcaster I know well from his rallying days, so to have him digging for information in the pits will only enhance the coverage of the series and enrich my commentary. He did a great job in 2015 and so I know I have big shoes to fill.”

TCR promoter Marcello Lotti commented: “The addition of Ben to our top-level staff of enthusiastic motorsport experts enriches further the reputation of the TCR International Series and the TV coverage we offer to our fans worldwide.”

TCR BENELUX: FIRST TEST FOR THE RACB SEAT

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Sam Dejonghe and Denis Dupont, who will contest the TCR Benelux at the wheel of the RACB National Team-livered SEAT León TCR after winning the special competition aimed at promoting young talents, have accomplished their first day of real testing with the car at Spa-Francorchamps.

It was an intense working day for the two young guns and Team WRT, which has been entrusted the preparation and running of the SEAT León TCR.

“This is the first time we could familiarize ourselves with the car in race conditions and it has been a fruitful day,” commented Dupont, while Dejonghe echoed: “It was a very useful session, especially for me who has never raced before with a front wheel drive car.”

The two RACB drivers will continue their preparation with another testing session on 13 April.

TWENTY-TWO FULL SEASON ENTRIES WITH SEVEN DIFFERENT MODELS

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The full season entry list of the 2016 TCR International Series consists of nine teams, with twenty-two cars of seven different brands.

The SEAT León TCR remains the most popular choice, with six cars equally split between Team Craft-Bamboo LUKOIL and the newcomer B3 Racing Team Hungary. Leopard Racing and Liqui Moly Team Engstler have entered two Volkswagen Golf Gti TCR cars apiece, while WestCoast Racing will again run three Honda Civic TCR cars.
Three Opel Astra TCR cars will be fielded by Target Competition, although only two of them will take part in the Bahrain opening event. Top Run Motorsport and Mulsanne Racing have entered two Subaru STi TCR cars and two Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR cars respectively.

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The FRD Motorsports has also entered two Ford Focus TCR cars, but aims to join the championship by the fourth or fifth event.

TCR promoter Marcello Lotti commented: “We are satisfied, as we mustn’t forget that we are only entering in the second year; the start-up phase is not over yet and some cars are still under development. However, it is clear that the championship will deliver a variety of different cars and that the level of teams and drivers is growing. We are pleased to see most of last year’s faces returning and to welcome the newcomers; among them I’d like to point out the participation of Michela Cerruti, the first lady to commit for the full season. And there is more to come. I am not allowed to name them, but we expect three more brands to join the championship during the season.” 

TWO BAHRAINI DRIVERS JOIN TCR FOR THEIR LOCAL EVENT

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The entry list of the 2016 TCR International Series opening event in Bahrain has been unveiled.

Nine teams have lodged twenty-two entries with cars of six different brands: Alfa Romeo, Honda, Opel, SEAT, Subaru and Volkswagen.

The latest additions were two SEAT León cars in 2015 specs run by the Netherlands-based Bas Koeten Motorsport for local drivers Salman Al Khalifa and Hussain Karimi who are currently ranking first and third respectively in the 2015/2016 Bahrain International Circuit 2000cc Challenge.
Al Khalifa, a former champion in the Batelco 2000cc Challenge (2008), has claimed seven victories out of the twelve races held so far, at the wheel of his Honda Civic; Karimi was twice vice-champion in the series (2014 and 2015), having scored several wins in a Honda CRX.

TCR promoter Marcello Lotti said: “We give a very warm welcome to Salman Al Khalifa and Hussain Karimi, the first Middle East drivers to join TCR. The concept we have launched last year is spreading quickly and we are now looking at the Middle East for further expansion.”

TCR FANS TO VOTE ON SPECIAL AWARD IN 2016

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Fans of the TCR International Series will, via social media, play a vital part in awarding a special prize after each pair of TCR races.

Following each TCR race weekend, a panel comprising of the International Series’ Promoter and the promotional and media team will decide a shortlist of two candidates (not necessarily drivers) they feel are deserving of the award. The names will then be posted on the TCR International Series Facebook page and fans will have 24 hours in which to ‘like’ either candidate. The ‘TCR Fans’ Award’ will then be given to the candidate with the most likes.

TCR promoter Marcello Lotti explained: “The number of fans who follow TCR competitions worldwide is growing fast, and so is their social media activity. For this reason we have decided to involve them in awarding this prize at each event.”

A NEW TV WEBSITE FOR THE TCR COMMUNITY WORLDWIDE

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The TCR promoter, WSC Ltd., has launched today a brand new website that is dedicated to showcasing videos from the different TCR championships and series worldwide.

The new free-on-air portal – www.tcr-series.tv – is divided into three main sections: one for the TCR International Series, one for the TCR Regional championships and one for the National championships in which TCR cars are eligible to race.

Each series has been given an account to upload their own videos and a dedicated page that gathers together all videos and news from that series: full races, highlights and spectacular clips.
The home page features the latest and most-liked videos, plus windows for live timing and live streaming, a summary table of the upcoming TCR events worldwide and a ‘news brief’ section.

HONDA, SEAT AND VW RECEIVE ADDITIONAL WEIGHT

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The TCR International Series technical department has issued its first bulletin regarding the Balance of Performance for 2016.

The Honda Civic TCR and SEAT León TCR cars have been given 40 extra kilos that bring their running weight from 1285 to 1325 kilos, including the driver; the Volkswagen Golf Gti TCR cars will carry 30 kilos of ballast, so will run at 1315 kilos.

The Opel Astra TCR cars and the Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR have been left at the minimum weight fixed by the TCR Technical Regulations: 1285 kilos, driver included, while the Subaru STi TCR has been given a 20-kg weight break and so will run at 1265 kilos. The two SEAT León Cup Racer cars entered by Bas Koeten Racing will be the lightest cars in the field at 1250 kg, the minimum weight fixed by the Sporting Regulations for the cars fitted with a DSG gearbox instead of a racing unit.
The control of the engine performance level by monitored electronic components – another parameter that may be adjusted to balance the performance – has not been changed for the time being, therefore all cars will be able to use full power.

The technical department has the power to further adjust the Balance of Performance during the first race weekend of the season.

Please take into account that this was written in the buildup to this weekends racing. I am aware that Race One has already taken place, however I will not publish any results here, however there will a post that will follow with all of the weekends racing.

Until then, all the best!!

Phil!!!