2018 TCR UK Series: Silverstone

With the season now three weekends old and nearing the halfway point, TCR Talk has decided to review the first six round of the year…

The 2018 TCR UK Touring Car Championship got underway over the Easter weekend with a three day weekend planned for the opening event at Silverstone. TCR Talk reviews the first two races of the season.

Good Friday was a test day for the thirteen competitors as they took the chance to get more seat time with the TCR Machinery as well as learning about the cars during the changing conditions.

The 2018 TCR UK Series Entry List For Silverstone:

Silverstone TCR UK Entry List

Three drivers top the timesheets during Media Day test at Silverstone.

2018-Silverstone media test day---CrockerSession2-02 (1)

Inclement conditions prevented the field from finding the true limit of all six marques set to compete in the series opener, but Finlay Crocker cemented the potential of his new-for-2018 Honda Civic Type R FK7 by topping the timesheets in a damp opening session, setting a best time of 1:03.314, a mere seven thousandths of a second clear of the Laser Tools Racing duo of Aiden Moffat and Derek Palmer Jnr.

Moffat, who confirmed his deal to run in the eye-catching Alfa Romeo Guilietta TCR in the week preceding the event, set the pace in a drier middle session on a 59.187, edging out Ollie Taylor’s Honda Civic TCR and guest entry Andreas Bäckman’s Volkswagen Golf GTi (WestCoast Racing).

2018-Silverstone media test day---MofffatSession1-04

Taylor (Pyro Motorsport) continued his form from the championships first official test day at the same venue earlier in March, setting a best time of 1:04.808 in the final session amid the inclement conditions at the ‘Home of British Motorsport’.

The combined 105 minutes of track time also provided a valuable opportunity for the sister WestCoast Racing VWs of Dan Lloyd and Bäckman’s sibling Jessica to clock up testing mileage, as was the case for Howard Fuller (SWR), Lewis Kent (Essex & Kent Motorsport) and the DSG Trophy pairing of Stewart Lines (Maximum Motorsport) and Carl Swift (Endurance Financial Racing).

Both Darelle Wilson (DW Racing) and guest entry Olli Kangas (LMS Racing) will joined the fray on Saturday behind the wheel of a Vauxhall Astra and CUPRA TCR respectively.

 

2018-Silverstone media test day---TaylorSession1-04

Daniel Lloyd claims inaugural TCR UK Series pole position at Silverstone,

Posting a late effort of 1:00.845 to end a dramatic session atop the timesheets, Lloyd secured his first Pole Position of the year, but it would be a close session as well.

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The new-for-2018 championship was cemented with six brands represented in the top seven grid slots, split by less than a second and a half on the track. A drying line began to emerge in the final minutes of the session, with a flurry of late times turning the starting order on its head.

Aiden Moffat completed the front row after the Laser Tools Racing driver narrowly missed out by two tenths of a second behind the wheel of the Alfa Romeo Guilietta TCR, with Howard Fuller’s SWR-run Honda Civic TCR similarly denied by Lloyd’s last-gasp achievement.

With less than thirty seconds on the clock, it was Lewis Kent’s Hyundai i30 N that looked to have navigated the tricky conditions on-circuit and secured top spot, but the 18-year old was forced to settle for fourth, just under half a second from pole.

2018-Silverstone media test day---KentSession1-03

Pyro Motorsport’s Ollie Taylor headed up the third row ahead of Carl Swift, who also secured the DSG Trophy bragging rights in the CUPRA TCR courtesy of a sixth-place start.

In only his third outing in the Vauxhall Astra, Darrelle Wilson (DW Racing) was classified seventh in front of guest entries Andreas Bӓckman (WestCoast Racing) and Olli Kangas (LMS Racing). Andreas’ sibling Jessica rounds out the top ten starters in the third Volkswagen Golf GTi, with Finlay Crocker’s Honda Civic Type R FK7 and the final CUPRA TCR of Stewart Lines (Maximum Motorsport) completing the field.

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Lines started the second race of the weekend from pole position courtesy of a reversed top ten on the grid, which was initially formed from drivers’ second quickest lap times in qualifying.

Recurring mechanical problems on the second Laser Tools Racing machine of Derek Palmer Jnr prevented the Alfa Romeo driver from setting a lap time, but the team are expected to field both cars as normal in the season-opening double header tomorrow.

 

 

 

Lloyd converts pole position into his first TCR UK race victory at Silverstone

Laser Tools Racing’s Aiden Moffat and the Pyro Motorsport-run Honda Civic TCR of Ollie Taylor completing the first podium of the season alongside the WestCoast Racing driver.

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The highly-competitive nature of the category had already been made apparent during Qualifying with six brands represented in the top seven positions, and the first race of the 2018 season cemented that trend.

Lloyd made the perfect start from pole position and eased ahead of Moffat’s Alfa Romeo Guilietta on the run down to Copse, whilst further back a slow start for the SWR-run Honda Civic TCR of Howard Fuller enabled Taylor and the Hyundai i30 N of Lewis Kent to get the jump into third and fourth on the road respectively.

Though Moffat put pressure on Lloyd throughout, the experienced TCR driver was able to hold on ahead of the Laser Tools Racing racer to earn himself a trip to the top step of the podium.

2018-2018 Silverstone Free Practice and Qualifying---FullerQuali-04

Moffat was initially given a five-second penalty for infringing track limits by the stewards, but this was rescinded after evaluation post-race and the Laser Tools Racing driver was handed back the runner-up spot.

Fuller would then entertain the crowd with a closely-fought battle for fifth with Finlay Crocker’s Honda Civic Type R FK7, the two making contact under braking on several occasions before the former eventually came out on top.

Andreas Bӓckman’s pace was evident as he scythed his way through the field from eighth on the grid, before matching the lap times of the race leaders once up into fourth.

2018-2018 Silverstone---19 Andreas Backman_03

Sibling Jessica was equally competitive, sustaining a thrilling contest for seventh with LMS Racing’s Olli Kangas for the near-duration of the race, but ultimately had to settle for eighth.

Stewart Lines capitalised on an early spin at Brooklands for Carl Swift to claim the bragging rights in the DSG Trophy stakes, and will start the second race from pole position courtesy of the top ten having their second-fastest qualifying times reversed.

Kent and Darelle Wilson (Vauxhall Astra) made contact under braking at Beckett’s whilst disputing position, sending the latter into the gravel and out of the race. Kent would continue and eventually round out the field in eleventh.

Derek Palmer was hit once again with a mechanical fault on the second Alfa Romeo Giulietta and retired at half distance, but will look to bounce back in the series’ second contest, scheduled for 16:05 this afternoon.

Lloyd cements his advantage atop the TCR UK standings after reverse-grid victory.

Team mate Andreas Bӓckman had initially lost out to the Laser Tools Racing-run Alfa Romeo Giulietta of Aiden Moffat on the outside of Becketts with around a third of the race gone, but a late mechanical problem saw the latter pull off in the dying embers of the race.

2018-2018 Silverstone races---Race 2 mid fielders

Pyro Motorsport’s Ollie Taylor completed the podium for the second successive race after following the pairing of Lloyd and Moffat through the field, with Howard Fuller rounding out his first competitive action in three seasons with a solid fourth place finish in the SWR Honda Civic TCR.

Front-row starter Olli Kangas completed his preparations for the start of the TCR Scandinavia series with fifth on the road, with another competitive showing from Jessica Bӓckman behind earning her sixth place.

Darelle Wilson re-asserted himself after an incident in Race one, putting in a fine move on Lewis Kent’s Hyundai i30 N into Becketts en route to seventh.

2018-2018 Silverstone races---Race 2 Stewart Lines_1

Stewart Lines (Maximum Motorsport) doubled up in the DSG Trophy stakes in eighth, using his reverse-grid pole position to stay clear of Carl Swift’s fellow CUPRA TCR, though the pairing were split on the road by Finlay Crocker’s Honda Civic Type R FK7. A turbo issue plagued Lewis Kent’s season-opener and he again struggled, rounding out the field in eleventh.

Derek Palmer Jnr suffered from another frustrating mechanical malady in the second Alfa Romeo, pitting to retire in the closing stages after demonstrating good pace to keep up with the leaders despite being a lap down.

Lloyd will carry a 25-point lead into the second meeting of the season on the reverse layout at Knockhill [12-13 May], with the Volkswagen Golf GTI racer keen to extend his one-off appearance at Silverstone into a full-season assault on the UK’s first TCR title.

 

 

 

2018-2018 Silverstone races---Race 1 Finlay Crocker_1

The Guru’s Thoughts…

The first weekend of the 2018 TCR UK Touring Car Championship got off to a good start with 13 entries and some good racing on the Silverstone National Circuit, despite the challenging Easter weather conditions.

The circuit crowds were treated to two good races with action in each one, however one criticism about those races was the fact that they are 30 mins long. This is something that will crop up again each weekend.

However the longer races introduce the tyre wear strategy into the mix as well. Otherwise the series had a good opening weekend and also a good support act as well. Lessons have been learned and will be put in place for next year.

One other downside was the changing of the Test Day date however this was delayed due to Drivers and Teams wanting to get final deals and liveries in place. Understandable from their point of view, but a frustration for the fans who were hopeful of a similar BTCC- like experience of a Media Day.

For me, the best part is where the public are given access to the race one grid before the races gets underway. That’s a good move and will continue as part of the TCR / TCR UK tradition.

2018-2018 Silverstone races---Race 2 Andreas Backman_8

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.

All images are used courtesy of BRSCC / TCR UK Touring Car Championship

Until next time, all the best!

Phil!!!

TCR UK 2018: The National and International Possibilities……

As I wrote this post on a cold and wet Saturday morning in Milton Keynes, I can happily say that the buildup to the TCR UK Series Media Day is less than 30 days away. March 6th at Silverstone will see the announcement of the full entry list of drivers and teams for the first ever TCR series in the UK.

However, I’m going to admit that I have been contacted by quite a few people who have had concerns about whether the series is going ahead this year. Let me answer that question straight away for you:

THE TCR UK SERIES IS HAPPENING!!! THIS IS A FACT!!!

There is no question of this. Anywhere you read that it’s not happening or is dead, please disregard! If you want it from the organisers themselves, they will happily confirm the series is happening.

Now with this in mind, I thought I would put together a post with a list of teams who have announced on Social Media/Press outlets that they have TCR cars with the intention of competing in the TCR UK Series next year.

If you are a regular reader of my blog then you will recognise that a lot of this list was published in my TCR UK article at the end of last year.

Now, let me make this next point perfectly clear: This is not a list of entrants confirmed for 2018. When the BRSCC/TCR UK see fit to announce an official entry list, you can be sure that the Guru will happily publish this!

The National Interest / Possibilities:

Sean Walkinshaw Racing: Honda Civic TCR

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The former Boutsen-Ginion Honda now run by SWR. Credit: Sean Walkinshaw Racing

SWR already have a top flight GT effort underway in Asia and announced earlier in 2017 the intention to run a two car squad using Honda Civic TCR ‘s. The team have already take delivery of a Honda Civic run by the Boutsen-Ginion squad in the TCR Benelux series.

With several drivers having driven the car and a lot of testing mileage already undertaken in 2017, the team already has a striking colour scheme on the Honda that will see them stand out next season.

Pyro Motorsport: Honda Civic TCR

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Finlay Crocker in the TCR Italy Series. Credit: Pyro Motorsport

This well-known BTCC Support squad have already been in action in TCR machinery, having run a Honda Civic for Finlay Crocker in the TCR Italy Series as well as running their own programmes in the TOCA Package.

2017 BTCC Champion Ash Sutton has tested the car quite a lot recently and with TCR being seen as stepping stone in the ladder between the likes of Renault Clio’s/Mini’s etc and the BTCC, the squad already has plenty of knowledge of this type of Touring Car to be just as competitive as the other outfits who are also testing.

Carl Swift/Area Motorsport: SEAT Leon TCR

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Carl Swift at Brands Hatch. Credit: Marl Paulson Social Media

Already known for his racing exploits with Honda’s and in the 24H Endurance Series, Mortgage & Financial Advisor Swift has plans to run a SEAT Leon TCR for 2018. The Sheffield driver was on hand at the TCR UK Test/Taster Day to show off the merits of the well-developed Leon Racer.

Swift is currently looking for Sponsors/Partners to help fund his TCR UK effort in 2018 and is likely to be an interesting thorn in the side to the bigger teams that plan to be out in action next year.

Tom Boardman: Audi RS3 LMS TCR

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Tom Boardman is well-known to the fans of Touring car racing. The former Special Tuning Racing driver campaigned a Super 2000 spec SEAT Leon both in the FIA World Touring Car Championship and the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship.

Back in January, the former SEAT driver posted the image above on his Instagram account of an Audi RS3 LMS TCR. This could lead to a potential entry in the series and it would also see the return of Boardman to high profie racing since his last season of BTCC back in 2011.

Lewis Kent Racing: Hyundai i30 N TCR

TCR International Series Dubai, UAE 16 - 18 November 2017
The Hyundai i30 N TCR in the 2017 TCR International Series. Credit: TCR Series

2017 BRSCC Ford Fiesta runner-up Lewis Kent announced recently that he will be steeping up from the Ford ranks to make the move into TCR UK having purchased one of the Hyundai i30 N TCR cars. Kent will delivery of the car in January.

With this news, Kent becomes the first driver to confirm he will be participating in the series next year.

As well as finishing runner-up in the BRSCC Ford Fiesta Championship for 2017, Kent has also been nominated for the Downforce Racing Henry Surtees Teen Racer of the Year award. With the Hyundai already a race winner in TCR ranks, it will be good to see one of these cars on the grid next year.

Maximum Motorsport: SEAT Leon TCR

TCR International Series Hungaroring, Hungary 16 - 18 June 2017
Stian Paulsen in the SEAT León TCR in the 2017 TCR International Series. Credit: TCR Series

Stewart Lines BTCC squad is also looking to be involved in the TCR UK Series in 2018 with plans to run a SEAT Leon TCR well underway. However there seems to be more involved already.

Line’s squad is also heavily involved in the VW Cup which will support the TCR UK Series on several occasions during 2018 and there is also the prize of a test drive in the teams TCR car as well. Drivers for the car have not yet been announced.

MellioSport: Audi RS3 LMS TCR

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The Audi RS3 LMS TCR in the 2017 TCR International Series. Credit: TCR Series

MellioSport announced over Christmas 2017 that they would be running an Audi RS3 LMS TCR in the TCR UK Series with VW Cup racer Darelle Wilson rumoured to be piloting the Audi in 2018.

MellioSport themselves are a company that offer Driver Coaching services for those who wish to progress in their Motorsport career in very aspect including PR, Nutrition and driving style as well as operating a successful karting track near Grantham in the East Midlands.

Darelle Wilson himself has competed in various series including the likes of Milltek Sport Volkswagen Racing Cup, Britcar Endurance Championship and what was formerly known as the MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain.

VFR Racing: 2018 Honda Civic TCR

2018 TCR Honda
The Honda Civic FK8 TCR. Credit: TCR Series

VFR Racing are well placed to put the new 2018 Honda Civic TCR through its paces after they have run a Honda Civic TCR Type 2 with british driver Finlay Crocker at the wheel. Crocker has seen action on both the TCR Italy Series and also in the ADAC TCR Germany Series.

With the new Honda already confirmed to compete in the new FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) with the Boutsen-Ginion squad as well as having already had its Endurance debut in the 2018 24 Hours of Dubai, expect to see both Crocker and VFR Racing well in the mix.

Now, those are the Teams/Drivers that I’m aware of who have announced an entry or potential entry for 2018, however there is more to come and plenty more cars out there that I don’t know about…

The International Interest / Possibilities…

TCR International Series Oschersleben, Germany 08 - 09 July 2017
The 2017 TCR International Series in Germany. Credit: TCR Series

During my interview with Mark James at the 2018 Autosport International Show, he explained that there has been International interest in the series with a lot of teams seeing TCR UK as a potential series to enter alongside other programmes.

Again, I highlight the fact that none of these have been confirmed in any way, but interest has been lodged with the TCR UK Series. Here are the teams that have been highlighted so far…

Craft-Bamboo Racing

TCR International Series Salzburgring, Austria 9 - 11 June 2017
Craft-Bamboo Racing in the 2017 TCR International Series. Credit: TCR Series

Craft-Bamboo Racing have been a staple part of the TCR International Series since it began in 2015 with a driver lineup of Pepe Oriola, Jordi Gene and Sergey Afanasyev. Another staple part of the team has been their use of SEAT Leon TCR cars where both Oriola and later James Nash were title contenders in both 2015 and 2016 respectively.

However back in September 2017, Touring Car Times published an article on their website where Team CEO Richard Coleman explained that a dual programme that involved both TCR UK and TCR International Series. However this was before the announcement of WTCR.

TCR International Series Salzburgring, Austria 9 - 11 June 2017
Craft-Bamboo Racing in the 2017 TCR International Series. Credit: TCR Series

Coleman explained in the interview that:

“We are considering TCR UK but would only do so for the right drivers or prospects, We would also be interested in running something white label for somebody else from our Silverstone facility if it adds up; we have a lot of TCR knowledge and know the UK circuit well.”

As the team are evaluating their options for 2018, with a possible change of car for any campaign they run during the year, having this TCR powerhouse involved with TCR UK would surely spur on the competition. Craft-Bamboo Racing are also known for normally running three cars in TCR competition so a two car entry would be almost certain.

WestCoast Racing

TCR International Series Salzburgring, Austria 9 - 11 June 2017
WestCoast Racing in the 2017 TCR International Series. Credit: TCR Series

WestCoast Racing are another team that have been involved in the TCR International Series from the beginning, where they ran Honda Civic’s for the first two seasons with Italian tintop legend and former F1 driver Gianni Morbidelli at the helm.

In 2017 they moved from Honda’s to the Volkswagen Golf TCR and after a first half of the season where they were struggling to get into the top ten, the cars came on song and saw Morbidelli take a double win in Germany.

Also in September last year, Touring Car Times published an article on their website where Team Manager James Nixon confirmed that the team had been in touch with TCR UK promoter Jonathan Ashman and that they were looking to have a programme in place:

TCR International Series Salzburgring, Austria 9 - 11 June 2017
WestCoast Racing in the 2017 TCR International Series. Credit: TCR Series

“We’ve had some discussions with TCR UK promoter Jonathan Ashman and I’m impressed with his plans for the new British series, We’re now looking at the viability of joining in 2018. We’re a winning outfit and we have the resources to make that happen in the UK. We’ll now start talks with potential drivers and hope to firm up our plans in the short to medium term.”

In the same thought as having Craft Bamboo Racing in TCR UK, having this TCR powerhouse involved would mean having two of the biggest heavyweights in TCR history going toe to toe with each other on UK soil. Right there is one reason why the series would grab headlines in the UK and International Motorsport press.

WestCoast Racing have run up to three cars in TCR competition before moving to a two car operation in 2017, so a two car entry would be almost certain should the team confirm an entry.

Bas Koeten Racing

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Bas Koeten Racing in the 2017 TCR BeNeLux Series. Credit: Bas Koeten Racing

Bas Koeten Racing are another international who have taken part in TCR competition from the very beginning. I kid you not when I say that these guys have raced almost everywhere in TCR Competition: TCR International Series, TCR BeNeLux, ADAC TCR Germany, The TCR class in the 24Hours Series and the list goes on!

The team have a fleet of both SEAT Leon TCR cars and the Audi RS3 LMS TCR cars as well so it’s not uncommon to think that they could have an entry in a new Domestic TCR Series. This could be either a mix of SEAT’s and Audi’s or a specific two car entry for the same make.

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Bas Koeten Racing in the 2017 TCR BeNeLux Series. Credit: Bas Koeten Racing

With the UK having such a big Touring Car fan base as well, this would open up the team to a new audience and also give them the chance to show off their racecraft and skills outside of the European TCR Arena.

The benefit of the TCR UK Calendar is that this doesn’t clash withe 2018 TCR Europe and TCR Benelux Calendars, so again a dual programme could be possible! Now my final “potential” entrant might be a bit of a surprise…but stick with me on this one, there’s some solid thinking behind this choice.

Team Target Competition

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The Team Target Competition Hyundai i30 N TCR that will compete in the 2018 TCR Europe Series. Credit: Team Target Competition

As I’ve pointed out earlier in this post, the benefit of the TCR UK Calendar is that this doesn’t clash with 2018 TCR Europe and TCR Benelux Calendars, so a dual programme is always possible! However it also raises another option: Teams from abroad could use the earlier start date of TCR UK as a test session to bed in their new cars.

Team Target Competition are another team who could potentially make an entry in the series. They already have experience of the ADAC TCR Germany Series, the TCR Europe Cup and the TCR Italy Series and have seen title success with Josh Files.

There is always the chance they could add the UK title to their belts, especially as the team has announced that Reece Barr will race one of the three Hyundai’s already confirmed for their 2018 TCR Europe campaign as well as a second programme in TCR Italy with 2018 Honda’s…

Stefano Comini

TCR International Series Spa - Francorchamps 04 - 06 May 2017
Stefano Comini in the 2017 TCR International Series. Credit: TCR Series

“What??? Comini??? In the UK???” I hear you all say? “Never, he’d never race in the UK!”

Follow my thinking for a moment… The Guru hasn’t gone mad just quite yet…

So back in 2015, Autosport released an article where Comini, who had just secured his first TCR International Series, explained that he would love to have a chance to driver in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship:

“I want to do a BTCC round,” Comini told Autosport. “This is one of my dreams. I have a lot of respect for BTCC – really more than the World Touring Car Championship, which is boring now. BTCC is a proper touring car championship.”

TCR International Series Spa - Francorchamps 04 - 06 May 2017
Stefano Comini in the 2017 TCR International Series. Credit: TCR Series

Now whilst this was three years ago, Comini has also done some guest appearances for the Top Run Italia Motorsport team in 2017, where he drove the Subaru Impreza at both Imola and Monza.

So, with his dream of wanting to race in the BTCC, a series that is difficult to get into unless you have a large budget that gives you a guaranteed ride for the entire season…why not race in the new TCR UK series? it makes sense.

Comini already has knowledge of four different TCR cars from his career so far: The SEAT Leon TCR, the Volkswagen Golf TCR, the Audi RS3 LMS TCR and the Subaru, so setup knowledge wouldn’t be an issue. The two time TCR International Series is also very good at adapting to new circuits so that wouldn’t present an issue either.

Stefano Comini (Top Run Motorsport,Subaru STI TCR #99)
Stefano Comini driving the Top Run Motorsport Subaru STI TCR in the 2017 TCR Italy Series. Credit: ACI Sport / TCR Italy

Also, imagine the entry list with Comini on board. I can see the headlines now: “Two time TCR International Series joins TCR UK Series!”…

OK, that would be mine anyway…

Besides the fact that the new for 2018 FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) has confirmed that they have all 26 slot filled for the season ahead and that if he can’t get a ride, its highly possible he’ll appear as a contender in the 2018 TCR Europe Series… but don’t rule out the chance that this popular character could make a visit to the UK.

The Brits from Abroad!!!

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Josh Files driving the Team Target Competition Honda Civic TCR in the 2017 TCR Europe Cup. Credit: WSC / TCR Europe

There is always the possibility of the British drivers who have competed in overseas TCR Series to have a go at winning the title for the first ever TCR UK Series as well and lets face it, we have some of the best TCR drivers in the world challenging for race wins and titles!

Josh Files is a three-time TCR Champion, having won the ADAC TCR Germany Series two years in a row and winning the inaugural TCR middle East Series. Add in fellow Brit Alex Morgan who has also raced in the ADAC TCR Germany Series and there is great pedigree already from two drivers who know how to race in a large and competitive field of TCR cars.

James Nash competed for Craft-Bamboo Racing for two years in the TCR International Series were he took several wins and in his first year was in the fight for the Drivers Title straight away. Add in his experience of the UK circuits from his days in the BTCC and again, this is an intriguing thought. With Finlay Crocker already announced to race in TCR UK, Nash would be a great addition to the series and well adapted to TCR Machinery.

What the Guru Thinks…

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So all in all, whilst not all of these driver/team suggestions and entries have been formally announced, I’m hopeful that there will be a grid size of up to 20 cars for the first season of the TCR UK Series. I think this is an achievable figure myself, however many would disagree…and probably will.

When you consider that there is a lot of interest for the series, this would be quite a decent number to start of with. Remember that ADAC TCR Germany started off with 26 entries and that is for a series that has the DTM to contend with as the country’s top tintop series. Although the DTM is a Manufacturer led series, the fact that there is a large contingent of TCR entries shows that a Domestic TCR Series can work with a much stronger Domestic Tintop series already established.

However, whats been made clear by the organisers is that they will release a full entry list on 6th March. Should drivers or teams wish to go pubic with their entry for TCR UK then that’s something that is encouraged and is supported by the TCR UK Organisers.

Whilst I do all that I can to support the series, I can only guess how many people are involved and entered as I won’t know the full entry myself… until 6th March, just like the rest of you.

kevin Giacon (Opel Astra-TCR-TCR #15)
Kevin Giacon driving the Opel Astra TCR in the 2017 TCR Italy Series. Credit: ACI Sport / TCR Italy

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.

Until next time, all the best!

Phil!!!

TCR UK Announces Broadcast Package for 2018 Season…

The TCR UK Series has confirmed its Broadcasting plans for the opening season of the Championship that gets underway on 31st March on the Silverstone National Circuit.

TCR UK will have every race streamed live on a variety of platforms, including Facebook Live, YouTube and the TCR portal, while TV stations including Front Runner, Motorsport TV and Sky Sports will also broadcast the series.

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The confirmation of Motorsport TV upholds a tradition for TCR Series racing as the channel has been the primary broadcaster in the UK for the TCR International Series, The TCR Asia Series and the TCR Europe Trophy. This announcement means that both TCR UK and The TCR Europe Series will be live on Motorsport TV in 2018.

Pro-Active Broadcast will handle the production for both the live stream and the broadcast programmes. The company has 28 years of experience in producing dynamic sports coverage, delivering broadcast services to clients around the world.  They also have a long history of motorsport coverage for successful endurance racing championships such as Britcar, the Fun Cup and previously TGP F1.

TCR International Series Oschersleben, Germany 08 - 09 July 2017

Pro-Active Broadcast’s more recent outside broadcast projects include live coverage of the Varsity Rugby Match from Twickenham for the BBC, the Africa vs. UK international boxing event from Manchester and selected FA Cup and Women’s Premier League football for BT Sport.

The company is currently the broadcast partner for the live coverage of the Modern Pentathlon World Cup series and the Dubai Rugby 7s for World Rugby, as well as recent streaming providers for the Air Race 1 World Cup in Thailand and the Star Sailing Finals in the Bahamas. 

The Commenary team for TCR UK will consist of Bryn Lucas, who has hosted coverage of events such as the Goodwood Festival of Speed and the Autosport International Show, while Andy McEwan’s voice will be familiar from his circuit commentary plus broadcast and online coverage of a number of series, including several BRSCC championships.

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Mark James, Media Coordinator for TCR UK commented on todays announcement.

“The announcement we’re making today means that everything is now in place for our first season. We think Pro-Active will be fantastic partners and the channels have all shown great enthusiasm for the championship.”

“I’m particularly looking forward to working with Bryn and Andy as our presentation team and I’m sure the fans will enjoy superb coverage of what we are confident will be close, exciting racing this year.”

TCR International Series Dubai, UAE 16 - 18 November 2017

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, Regional & Domestic TCR Series and any news on the TCR UK Series that starts in 2018.

Please note that all images in this blog post are used courtesy of WSC / TCR International Series / TCR Europe Series

Until next time, all the best!

Phil!!!

TCR Guru at the 2018 Autosport International Show…

During my recent visit to the 2018 Autosport International Show in Birmingham, I was finally able to get up close to some amazing TCR machinery and I also had the chance to speak to Mark James, who is part of the TCR Media Team.

Whilst at #ASI18 I enjoyed having a closer look at several TCR cars which included the Volkswagen Golf GTI, Honda Civic TCR, SEAT Leon TCR, Opel Astra TCR. I have to say that having watched the TCR International Series on TV/Online for the past three seasons it was eye-opening to see these cars up close as I did.

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I have to say, first of all that the cars are bigger than they on TV. Obviously!

I was very impressed with the various cars, the technology used in them and also the various bodykits that have been developed by the Manufacturers to get every last piece of aero possible…and the fact that they all seem very similar as well.

Being a life long Vauxhall Touring Car fan, I have to say that the Japo Motorsport Astra was my favourite car to visit, however both the SWR Honda Civic and the Motorbase VW Golf are tied for second as they are both good looking cars. Apparently there were seven cars at the show so I seemed to have missed one somewhere…

Interview with Mark James…

Whilst at the 2018 Autosport International Show in Birmingham, I had the chance to speak to Mark James, who is part of the TCR Media Team and has commentated on the TCR International Series as well as working in the Pits/Paddock. I asked Mark about his thoughts on recent developments in the world of TCR.

How excited are you about the first season of TCR UK Series which starts in March?

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“So I have two answers for this question, First, Professionally: I think its great, with the UK being a very big and important Marketplace for Motorsport and its also a very big marketplace for many of the brands that you have in TCR. The fact that the likes of Audi, SEAT, Volkswagen and Hyundai to name a few are interested is great and its also the fact that the cars look very similar to what you see on the road every day.”

“As well as this the UK has a long history of Touring Car racing with the BTCC celebrating its 60th Anniversary this year as an example.”

TCR International Series Dubai, UAE 16 - 18 November 2017

“Secondly, Personally: I’m a Brit! I grew up spectating on the BTCC and working in Motorsport so I’m delighted to see a TCR Series come to the UK. However that said, it was never a priority 4 years ago to have a TCR Series in the UK. Marcello Lotti explained at the 2015 ASI that the priority was to bring TCR to countries that were struggling to establish a Touring Car Championship.”

“That’s definitely not the case in the UK and it was Jonathan Ashman (TCR UK Promoter and former FIA Touring Car President) who approached Marcello Lotti and explained that 2018 was the right year to have a TCR UK Series. Judging by the reaction and interest we’ve had, he was spot on with that thinking.”

There seems to be a lot of disagreement about where TCR UK fits in the UK Motorsport hierarchy, where would you say many should see this series in that hierarchy?

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“Quite simply we are a level below the BTCC. The TCR regulations fit in nicely under the NGTC regulations but are also an ideal next step for those drivers and teams who have competed in single make tintop categories as well.”

“We are in no way a threat to the BTCC, in effect we are a feeder series for it with budgets that are lower than its costs to run tin the BTCC. The cars are cheaper and slightly slower but this does allow for exciting racing.”

Are there any plans in place for TV Coverage and or Online Streaming for the TCR UK Series this year? TCR Racing is well known for its Online Streaming which has set it out from other Touring Car series around the world.

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“From the very first meeting I had with Jonathan Ashman last year in Monza, we’ve always said that the number one priority for this series is to have Live Streaming. It’s worked so well for TCR that its built the awareness for the various series around the world from zero to being an expectation of any TCR Series that Live Streaming is in place.”

“For example I can sit at home and watch TCR Russia, TCR Scandinavia, TCR China, TCR Asia or any number of TCR series. These series are being streamed either through the TCR Portal or on any number of Social Media Streaming sites such as YouTube or Facebook Live. In contrast to that, where Series have not embraced this type of coverage, there has been a negative response from fans and the like.”

With this in mind, have you been approached by interested parties to show TCR UK coverage online or on TV?

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“Fans expect to be able to have access to TCR Racing whether its online or through a Free to air TV Channel, but they also expect to have Free Access to the racing and that’s where the TCR UK Series wants to be as well. TCR UK will have the likes of Facebook, YouTube etc and we also talking about having TV Coverage in place as well. We have been approached by several interested parties who want to offer both Live coverage and Highlights coverage.”

“With the Tyre Partner announcement and the Suspension Partner announcement made at ASI, the last part of the jigsaw is the Coverage and this is the highest priority for myself as part of the TCR UK Series.”

Since the announcement of the creation of the TCR UK Series, what has been your reaction as a part of the WSC/TCR Team to the opinions and reactions from fans/drivers/teams on Social Media?

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“Its been quite an interesting actually. I have worked as a journalist and a broadcaster for many years in my career which has covered series like the FIA World Rally Championship and the FIA World Touring Car Championship and I’ve seen a lot as you might imagine.”

“However its been interesting to see the various reactions about the TCR UK Series since it was announced. I read on a Forum this week that the series was dead for example.”

(At this point Mark points towards the Motorbase VW Golf GTI TCR car parked on the BRSCC stand…)

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“Thats interesting news to myself and the organisers who are working so hard to get the final pieces in place as well as fielding the huge amount of interest we’ve had from drivers teams etc. We stand beside the Motorbase VW Golf GTI TCR car whcih is one of seven TCR cars at the show, so to read things like that is quite alarming.”

“Most people have been quite welcoming of there being a TCR UK Series and this includes race fans in the UK who on the whole, have welcomed another race series to the UK. There are those who are staunch supporters of their favourite series and that their right to support that series.”

Mark then goes on to talk about how much interest was received about the TCR UK Series at the BRSCC Stand at the Autosport International Show with various enquiries about how to join and also where to watch the series.

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“Generally speaking we have found that people have been very welcoming and very curious about the series. Certainly the conversation we have had at ASI with interested parties have been centred around how can they get involved and take part, where can they watch it, and its been a real eye opener.”

“As a series, we’ve decided that we won’t drip feed information about entries, however if the teams and drivers want to announce this themselves then that’s we’re happy to share and promote this news. The time for that is on Media Day on 6th March, having said that if Teams wish to contact us at TCR UK, we are happy to give an off the record account of whats happening but we won’t go public with any announcements until Media Day”

The recent change in the International Touring Car scene has seen the announcement that the TCR Europe Trophy has become a seven round series which is now TCR Europe Series and that the WTCC has changed to become the FIA World Touring Car Cup or WTCR. How do you feel that these changes will affect the TCR UK Series, if at all?

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“To be honest, all of the recent news could have an effect, however the teams that we have spoken with are very happy that they can use the cars in a business sense in more than one championship at the same time and that there are always other series that they can be raced in.”

“People are getting into TCR now because they realise that this type of car can be raced in more than one series, its not series specific machinery and it makes good business sense as you can make money with the car in almost all 12 months of the year.”

One of the benefits of having a TCR Regulation Touring car is that it can be raced anywhere in the world and there is a marketplace for them to end up racing anywhere with any team.

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The former Boutsen-Ginion Honda now run by SWR. Credit: Sean Walkinshaw Racing

“So a TCR car can end up having several owners whilst staying in competition. A TCR Car obviously has a used value and several teams for this season have purchased used TCR Cars from different series. So the cars are already on their second owners and they have the option of selling on the car to another team who could look at TCR Racing when they have completed their programme or time with that car.”

“Its also good business sense not only to have a Used TCR Car market but also the fact that these cars can be used in over 30 different TCR Championships around the world and also in Endurance racing as well. The Dubai 24 hours is taking place as we speak and there are up to 15 TCR Cars taking part there.”

To help promote the TCR UK Series, you’ve had the recent Test day at Brands Hatch and a lot of exposure of on Social Media. With the Entry/Registration period open for Teams and drivers to apply, do you feel that there is anything more that can be done to grow the Brand and awareness of the TCR Brands in the UK?

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“I’ll be honest, TCR has grown so staggeringly fast, I’m not sure what more we can do that hasn’t already spoken for itself. For some context, I wrote the first ever TC3 Press Release announcing the creation of the regulations.”

“When Marcello Lotti announced the TCR concept, that there was going to be a pyramid system of national series that led to Regional series and then led to The International Series, that we were going to race on the F1 support bill at three venues., there was a lot of scepticism and disbelief that he could pull it off.”

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“Yet our first two races were at Sepang in Malaysia and Shanghai in China on the F1 Support Bill. What that proved is, if Marcello Lotti says its going to happen, he delivers on making that goal a reality.”

“To back this up, we are in the fourth year of the regulations and we have around 30 TCR Series around the world. We have 14 Car Brands represented around the world with more to come and we have several more TCR Series that are taking shape that have yet to be announced so we’re not stopping the expansion.”

“We’re getting the message out there and people who understand racing are giving us a chance and seeing TCR racing as a part of the bigger picture within the Domestic and International Touring Car scene. Watch the racing and give us a chance to show off what a great product we have.”

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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, Regional & Domestic TCR Series and any news on the TCR UK Series that starts in 2018.

Please note that all images in this blog post are used courtesy of WSC / TCR International Series / TCR Middle East Series / TCR Europe Series / ADAC TCR Germany Series / TCR UK / FIA WTCC / Eurosport Events / BTCC.net

Until next time, all the best!

Phil!!!

TCR UK appoints Yokohama as Series Tyre Supplier

The TCR UK Series announced that it has selected Yokohama to be the official tyre partner for the series. The announcement was made at the Autosport International Show at the NEC in Birmingham last week.

Yokohama was chosen thanks to its long association with Touring Car racing, having supplied tyres to the FIA World Touring Car Championship for the past 11 years and propelling a number of star names to the British Touring Car title in the series’ glory years of the 1980s and 1990s.

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This announcement is one of the final pieces of the jigsaw to fall into place, allowing teams to start testing with the tyres they’ll be using when TCR UK gets underway at Silverstone over the Easter weekend (March 31st/April 1st).

A choice of two tyres will be supplied to TCR UK competitors: for dry tracks, cars will be fitted with Yokohama’s A005 racing slick tyre, with the company’s A006 rain tyre provided for wet conditions. Both options will be provided in 250/660R18 size.

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Mark Evans, Head of Motorsport for Yokohama HPT commented:

“The new TCR UK Series is set to be one of the most exciting series in British Motorsport and we’re incredibly proud that Yokohama is playing a pivotal role from the outset.

The cars will be fitted with our proven Motorsport products, which have delivered fantastic successes for many drivers around the world. Given their impressive levels of performance and reliability, we are confident that the tyres will help produce a first class racing spectacle.”

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Jonathan Ashman, the Promoter of TCR UK, added:

“We are delighted to confirm Yokohama as our tyre partner ahead of our maiden season. Their heritage in World and British Touring Cars speaks for itself, so we know our competitors will be using the best tyres available.”

“Also, because of the way TCR has spread across the world, we’ve always wanted to make it as easy as possible for our teams and drivers to compete in other TCR championships should they so wish. Having experience of such a strong tyre partner as Yokohama should stand them in good stead wherever they go.”

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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.

Please note that all images in this blog post are used courtesy of WSC/TCR International Series

Until next time, all the best!

Phil!!!

TCR UK names Öhlins as Suspension Partner

TCR UK has announced that the renowned Swedish suspension manufacturer Öhlins is to be the championship’s Suspension Partner ahead of its first-ever season starting in March at Silverstone. The announcement was made at the 2018 Autosport International Show last week.

Öhlins is already a familiar name in Touring Car paddocks around the globe, with the company having won championships in WTCC, BTCC, DTM and at Le Mans.

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The 1998 British Touring Car Champion Rickard Rydell used Öhlins suspension on his TWR Volvo S40, while another Swedish Volvo driver – Thed Björk – also relied on Öhlins suspension to help him clinch the most recent World Touring Car title.

As well as the partnership between Öhlins and TCR UK, it has been confirmed that the British Öhlins centre Mick Gardner Racing will be present in the paddock at each of the seven race meetings to provide suspension service, support and advice to teams.

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Jennifer Mouratsing, TCR UK Championship Manager commented on the announcement made at the 2018 Autosport International Show.

“As we near the start of the inaugural TCR UK championship, Öhlins is an important brand to welcome onboard as a series partner. We’re delighted that the company shares our view that TCR is the future of Touring Car racing and that they feel this is a logical partnership that can benefit their road car customers as well as the racing teams.

Not only do they bring an unrivalled motorsport heritage with them, but their nominated Suspension Service agent Mick Gardner Racing is already very well known amongst many of our teams, which will give the whole paddock faith in their technical expertise.”

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Chris Witter, General Manager for Öhlins Distribution & Test Centre, added to the announcement.

“This is an exciting partnership for us as we look to expand our motorsport programme to include TCR and transfer that message over to our Road & Track product range. The TCR series is clearly a powerful network including interest from manufacturers, so it is great to see the series expand to the UK, one of the most enthusiastic markets in the world for Motorsport.

It is also pleasing to have Mick Gardner Racing involved on the ground at each event; they are renowned as one of the most experienced Motorsport suspension specialists in the UK. We are looking forward to round one at Silverstone!”

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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.

Please note that all images in this blog post are used courtesy of WSC/TCR International Series

Until next time, all the best!

Phil!!!

TCR in 2018: What we know about The TCR UK Series so far…

With recent announcements adding more details to how the 2018 TCR UK Series will look, I thought it was time to put together something that will round up what we know so far.

The Calendar…

As many of you may have noticed, I was quite excited when this was announced, as were many others. Despite the announcement of the calendar, it has been stressed by the series organiser that it is provisional at this time.

TCR UK 2018 Calendar
Credit: BRSCC / TCR UK

The beauty of this calendar is that it doesn’t clash with next years BTCC Calendar. This means that should a driver wish to contest both series they can. This decision also means that should any teams wish to run a dual program next year, the opportunity is there.

With the calendar being announced in September, this also gives any interested teams and drivers a full six months to prepare a package or program to take part in the first season of the championship.

The Support Series…

With the TCR UK Series being the headline act in 2018, this gives other British Motorsport series the opportunity to become a part of the first years activities. The following series will be on the Support Package at almost every TCR UK event:

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Credit: Jon Elsey

The Britcover National Formula Ford 1600 Championship with Avon Tyres
The Mazda MX-5 SuperCup
The Milltek Sport Volkswagen Racing Cup
The Civic Cup Championship sponsored by Tegiwa. (Two rounds only)

What is clear with the championships involved is that they are all one make Championships where either a class structure is in place to balance performance and keep things fair or driver talent is a key factor as the cars are all the same apart from setup data or experience.

With the variety of Tintop action involved from the likes of Volkswagen, Honda and Mazda to addition of the exceptional single seater excitement of Formula Ford 1600, fans that will be watching the action track side will have plenty to keep them enthralled over a race weekend or race day.

The TCR UK Taster/Test Day…

As TCR machinery has raced mostly in Europe or Internationally since the inception of the regulations in 2015, there hasn’t been much of a chance for drivers and teams to have a go at testing out the latest cars unless they compete in a race weekend as part of a one off experience.

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Credit: Motorbase Performance

So the chance to test cars that are available for hire or on sale was setup by the BRSCC to take place on the Brands Hatch Indy Circuit on 29th November. What a fantastic idea!

The likes of 2017 TCR International Champion Jean-Karl Vernay, former World, European and British champion Gabriele Tarquini, TCR International driver Frédéric Vervisch, Jordi Gené, Thomas Jäger, triple TCR champion Josh Files and Mario Ferraris were on hand to assist potential buyers of cars for 2018.

With up to as many as thirty four drivers sampling cars, this led to what was a very busy and successful day.

As well as taking the chance to sample this new machinery (there were cars present from SEAT, Volkswagen, Audi, Honda, Opel, Alfa Romeo and Hyundai, with Peugeot Sport personnel also in attendance despite not yet having a car available) there were several UK teams in attendance as well.

Pyro Motorsport, SWR, Carl Swift, Motorbase and Brisky Racing were testing their cars and this offered a chance for these outfits to further prepare for next season.

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Kissling Motorsport at the TCR UK Taster Day. Credit: TCR UK

Jonathan Ashman, the TCR UK Promoter, commented on how successful the Taster Day was:

“We were delighted with how well the day went, the pit lane was busy all day and the meeting room upstairs saw just as much activity.  The feedback we’ve had from drivers and the manufacturers has been very positive and that can only be good news for next year.”

“The day gave everyone a chance to meet my team and find out more about TCR UK, but with an emphasis on allowing potential teams and drivers the chance to experience TCR cars.”

The teams interested so far…

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With registrations for next season officially opened at the start of December, there has been plenty of news about teams who have purchased TCR machinery with the intention of competing next year.

Now, let me make this next point perfectly clear: This is not a list of entrants confirmed for 2018.

This is a list of teams who have announced on Social Media/Press outlets that they have TCR cars with the intention of competing in the TCR UK Series next year.

When BRSCC/TCR UK see fit to announce an official entry list, you can be sure that the Guru will happily publish this!

Teams:

Sean Walkinshaw Racing: Honda Civic TCR

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The former Boutsen-Ginion Honda now run by SWR. Credit: Sean Walkinshaw Racing

SWR already have a top flight GT effort underway in Asia and announced earlier in 2017 the intention to run a two car squad using Honda Civic TCR ‘s. The team have already take delivery of a Honda Civic run by the Boutsen-Ginion squad in the TCR Benelux series.

With several drivers having driven the car and a lot of testing mileage already undertaken in 2017, the team already has a striking colour scheme on the Honda that will see them stand out next season.

Pyro Motorsport: Honda Civic TCR

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Finlay Crocker in the TCR Italy Series. Credit: Pyro Motorsport

This well known BTCC Support squad have already been in action in TCR machinery, having run a Honda Civic for Finlay Crocker in the TCR Italy Series as well as running their own programmes in the TOCA Package.

2017 BTCC Champion Ash Sutton has tested the car quite a lot recently and with TCR being seen as stepping stone in the ladder between the likes of Renault Clio’s/Mini’s etc and the BTCC, the squad already has plenty of knowledge of this type of Touring Car to be just as competitive as the other outfits who are also testing.

Carl Swift/Area Motorsport: SEAT Leon TCR

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Carl Swift at Brands Hatch. Credit: Marl Paulson Social Media

Already known for his racing exploits with Honda’s and in the 24H Endurance Series, Mortgage & Financial Advisor Swift has plans to run a SEAT Leon TCR for 2018. The Sheffield driver was on hand at the TCR UK Test/Taster Day to show off the merits of the well developed Leon Racer.

Swift is currently looking for Sponsors/Partners to help fund his TCR UK effort in 2018 and is likely to be an interesting thorn in the side to the bigger teams that plan to be out in action next year.

Motorbase Performance: Volkswagen Golf TCR

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Michael Caine at Brands Hatch. Credit: Motorbase Performance

Dave Bartrum’s well known BTCC outfit has already confirmed the purchase of three VW’s for 2018 and explained that TCR fits in well with the squad’s lineup of touring cars now that they have closed down their GT program.

However what is interesting is that it is possible we could see Motorbase taking on the best in European TCR events in 2018 and not just a TCR UK programme. Thanks to their recent GT effort which saw action in the UK and Europe, Batrum’s squad is well placed to spring a surprise should they concentrate on a European entry.

Lewis Kent: Hyundai i30 N TCR

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The Hyundai i30 N TCR in the 2017 TCR International Series. Credit: TCR Series

2017 BRSCC Ford Fiesta runner up Lewis Kent announced recently that he will be steeping up from the Ford ranks to make the move into TCR UK having purchased one of the Hyundai i30 N TCR cars. Kent will delivery of the car in January.

With this news, Kent becomes the first driver to confirm he will be participating in the series next year.

As well as finishing runner up in the BRSCC Ford Fiesta Championship for 2017, Kent has also been nominated for the Downforce Racing Henry Surtees Teen Racer of the Year award. With the Hyundai already a race winner in TCR ranks, it will be good to see one of these cars on the grid next year.

Maximum Motorsport: SEAT Leon TCR

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Stewart Lines BTCC squad is also looking to be involved in the TCR UK Series in 2018 with plans to run a SEAT Leon TCR well underway. However there seems to be more involved already.

Line’s squad is also heavily involved in the VW Cup which will support the TCR UK Series on several occasions during 2018 and there is also the prize of a test drive in the teams TCR car as well. Drivers for the car have not yet been announced.

Spencer Sport: Hyundai i30 N TCR

 

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Rally outfit Spencer Sport have purchased a Hyundai i30 N TCR car and are planning to enter the inaugural TCR UK Series in 2018, with the South Wales based outfit seeking a driver for the campaign.

The South Wales squad took part in the 2017 Toyo Tires MSA British Rallycross Championship with James Grint piloting their Mitsubishi Supercar, however they are now branching out into Touring Car racing with the very successful Hyundai package.

The package on offer from Spencer Sport involves entry into the TCR UK series, full preparation and on-event running by a dedicated team of mechanics, a test and race programme, all logistics, tyres and fuel.

MellioSport: Audi RS3 LMS TCR

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MellioSport announced over Christmas 2017 that they would be running an Audi RS3 LMS TCR in the TCR UK Series with VW Cup racer Darelle Wilson rumoured to be piloting the Audi in 2018.

MellioSport themselves are a company that offer Driver Coaching services for those who wish to progress in their Motorsport career in very aspect including PR, Nutrition and driving style as well as operating a successful karting track near Grantham in the East Midlands.

Darelle Wilson himself has competed in various series including the likes of Milltek Sport Volkswagen Racing Cup, Britcar Endurance Championship and what was formerly known as the MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain.

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Jake Hill in the Brisky Racing VW Golf at Silverstone. Credit: Brisky Racing

Brisky Racing had announced plans to run VW Golf TCR’s in the series, however they announced recently that they would be concentrating in their BTCC programme with Team HARD instead. The team will be monitoring activity in the TCR UK Series with an eye to have an entry in future seasons.

What we don’t know yet…

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Credit: TCR Series

Whilst keeping track of the progress that TCR UK has made since the announcement over 12 months ago that the series would take place, there has been one query that I have repeatedly come across that, as yet, doesn’t seem clear:

The Commercial Package

This has been a concern raised by many drivers and teams who have commented on showing an interest in TCR UK after trying out the cars for themselves. Michael Epps, Mike Bushell and 2017 BTCC Champion Ashley Sutton have been a few to try out the cars and have mentioned that this one issue is possibly what could be stopping them from signing up partners/sponsors for a 2018 campaign.

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As yet the BRSCC and TCR UK have yet to confirm what this package will be, however there is the fact that other TCR Series around the world utilise one common channel to allow fans to watch their races live and uninterrupted by adverts: YouTube.

Whilst some championships embargo countries that have the racing live on a specific TV channel for the entire season, TCR uses YouTube to great affect. When you consider that viewing is going the way of Netflix/Amazon etc with online streaming becoming more popular its not difficult to see why this works.

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However, as an example of a solid commercial package, the BTCC has between 6-8 hours live coverage on ITV4 for each of its ten racedays every season. Whilst that is an established deal with TOCA, TCR UK will also need to have a solid TV presence as well to help get it off the ground.

Whilst BTCC fans can boast that they can say to interested parties, “Hey, there’s this great Racing series on TV that’s worth watching cos its way better than F1” (And it is…you know its true), TCR UK does not yet have that option, but time will tell.

With there being no calendar clashes next year with the BTCC, there is a great opportunity for the series to have live coverage without domestic competition on TV (potentially…other series may well clash). This is ideal for a channel looking to pick up a new series that exciting and interesting to watch. Just watch a TCR International Race to see that!

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So this is everything we know officially so far about the TCR UK Series. There may well be more details to be finalised and also more information to be shared out to the Teams, Drivers and Fans involved, but lets keep some realism on the subject.

TCR UK will start out small to begin with and the exact size of the grid/entries will be revealed on 6th March, however lets give it a chance to see how the series grows. Sometimes progression can be rapid and as for evidence of this, take the example of TCR Germany.

They had a large entry of 23 drivers for the first season in 2016. In 2017 that number leapt up to 44! There is always time for the UK championship to build and progress over the year and following seasons.

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The 2016 TCR Germany Finale. Credit: Gruppe C

One thing is certain: we Brits love out Touring Car racing. TCR UK will simply offer another type of tintop racing to follow on the weekends when BTCC is not racing and it also offers a chance to any European drivers and teams out there to make a wildcard appearance in a new series that will attract a lot of attention.

So, thats two posts I’ve shared with you all regarding what we know about the 2018 TCR Europe Series and the 2018 TCR UK Series. That leaves only one more post to be written up sharing what we know about the 2018 FIA World Touring Car Cup or WTCR…

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Whoops! My Bad…wrong picture… (Paul Ricard 1995 for those of you who remember…)

Try this one…

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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.

Until next time, all the best!

Phil!!!

 

 

 

Mazda MX-5 SuperCup Announced as 2nd TCR UK Support Series for 2018…

The BRSCC have announced today that the Mazda MX-5 SuperCup will be the second series to join the support bill for the 2018 TCR UK Series.

Back in September, the first series announced on the Support Bill was the Britcover National Formula Ford 1600 Championship with Avon Tyres and with the Mazda MX-5 SuperCup joining them, both support series will gain extra crowds with the UK based TCR Series predicted to attract large crowds of fans in its first year of competition.

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The BRSCC have decided to place the Mazda MX-5 SuperCup as a permanent fixture within a high-profile motorsport paddock, ensuring that a competitive sports car element would feature amongst a significant national championship support package.

Therefore, it has been deemed a perfect choice to fill in a place alongside TCR UK, a cost-effective touring car formula that has already established itself around the world with several regional and national series as well as the top-line TCR International Series.

For 2018, the Mazda MX-5 SuperCup will take on the same calendar that TCR UK has already unveiled and with this in mind, The profile of the SuperCup is only set to get bigger and better as it is set to gain further recognition within club motorsport and sports car racing circles.

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Mandy Andrew, Championship Co-ordinator for the BRSCC Mazda MX-5 SuperCup explained the decision further to add the series to the high profile support bill.

This is a fantastic achievement and an honour for the MX-5 SuperCup to be supporting the new TCR UK Championship for 2018.  We have our committed drivers, who have created full grids through the season and display such close, competitive racing to thank for this recognition. I’m very proud of everything we’ve achieved together as a championship and have every confidence that the SuperCup will go on to reach new heights in 2018. I would like to say thank you to the BRSCC for their support, and both I and the SuperCup paddock are greatly looking forward to next season already.

Dominic Ostrowski, BRSCC Competitions Manager is excited to see how the series will grow in 2018.

This year’s Mazda MX-5 SuperCup has been incredibly successful. The numbers have continued to grow over the 2017 season with more and more new drivers interested in trying their hand at mastering the Mk3 Mazda MX-5. We feel that the SuperCup is a perfect addition to the TCR UK package, giving many of our current and prospective drivers a real chance to shine in front of a high-profile audience at some of the UK’s finest circuits. We’re very excited to see what the SuperCup will produce in 2018, and we’re very confident that it will do itself justice and continue to prosper.

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The TCR UK Series, joined by both the Britcover National Formula Ford 1600 Championship with Avon Tyres and the Mazda MX-5 SuperCup, will get underway at Silverstone on the National Circuit over the weekend of March 31st – April 1st next year.

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

TCR International Series Oschersleben, Germany 08 - 09 July 2017

Please note that all images are used in this article are courtesy of WSC/TCR International Series and Jon Elsey, care of the Mazda MX-5 SuperCup.

Until next time, all the best!

Phil!!!

TCR UK appoints Championship Manager

The TCR UK Series has announced the appointment of Jennifer Mouratsing as Championship Manager ahead of the series’ maiden season in 2018.

Jennifer joins TCR UK following nearly three years with the specialist safety equipment company MSAR Safety and latterly seven years at Caterham Motorsport, initially as Championship Coordinator and then as Motorsport Manager.

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Jennifer’s role within TCR UK will be to manage and organise all administrative, logistical and hospitality aspects of the series and be the main point of contact for race organisers, teams and drivers.

 

Jennifer commented: “I heard about the opportunity to work at TCR UK at just the right time; in fact the timing couldn’t have been better. A new opportunity to deliver a high end, low cost championship is exactly what I wanted to get my teeth stuck into.

“I’m looking forward to working with Jonathan and the others at TCR UK to develop this new championship into something that drivers, teams, sponsors and fans can all be proud of for years to come and to help mould it into the championship that they want. It’s exciting to be part of it at this early stage and I can’t wait to get started, there’s a lot to do!”

“I love to deliver professional, well organised events with a personal edge so that they stand out from others. I’m a bit of a perfectionist and also known to be a bit bossy. ‘Herding cats’ is often the phrase used when trying to explain what it’s like to organise a race paddock, but I love cats so I guess that helps…”

TCR International Series Hungaroring, Hungary 16 - 18 June 2017

To give further insight in her career, Jennifer grew up around cars and engines, as her father is a race engineer. He worked for TWR during the team’s heyday of building race-winning Rover Touring Cars, European Touring Cars and the Le Mans-winning Jaguar Group C cars. Unsurprisingly, she’s always been interested in motorsport and starting racing in 2007, continuing for several years. Among her career highlights was finishing 4th in the Classic Graduates Caterham championship in 2010.

During her time at Caterham Motorsport, Jennifer was able to advance the company’s motorsport offering and improve the service offered to competitors and teams. She managed the championship as a whole and ensured that competitors, teams and sponsors received the best experience and value for money possible.

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Jonathan Ashman, TCR UK Promoter, added: “I’m delighted to welcome Jen to the TCR UK team. We only announced our provisional 2018 calendar a week ago and so there’s a lot of work going on behind the scenes at the moment.

“Jen joins us at the perfect time and I know from her background that she’ll be invaluable in getting TCR UK off the ground and developing the series in the seasons to come. One of her first tasks will be to set up registrations so that we can start to accept entries.”

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This is the second announcement from the TCR UK Series in the last seven days and shows that progress is being made as the series heads towards its starting date of March 2018.

This announcement also means that any teams or drivers who are looking to enter the series next year will be able to register entries soon and this will help to shape how the grid looks in 2018.

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

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Please note that all images are used courtesy of WSC/TCR International Series.

Until next time, all the best!

Phil!!!

 

2018 TCR UK Series Calendar unveiled!!!

WE’VE GOT A CALENDAR!!!

This is it boys and girls, the confirmation of the 2018 TCR UK Series Calendar this morning, outlining when and where the series will visit some of the finest and most diverse circuits in the UK next year!

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Here are the details…

2018 TCR UK Calendar:

31st March/1st April: Silverstone
12th/13th May: Knockhill
2nd/3rd June: Brands Hatch
14th/15th July: Castle Combe
4th August: Oulton Park
8th/9th September: Croft
13th/14th October: Donington Park

The provisional calendar for the highly-anticipated 2018 TCR UK racing series has been
unveiled, featuring seven rounds that include races at some of the UK’s best-known
circuits. The new series promises to deliver close, exciting racing with the UK joining
established TCR championships around the globe.

Early interest in the series has been hugely encouraging, prompting the Promoter
Jonathan Ashman to reassure teams that there is no upper limit to the number of possible entries.

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As a result, the format of the race weekends has yet to be confirmed, although
entrants are guaranteed two races even if the number of entries exceeds the grid limits at some of the circuits. There are however two plans in place…

‘Plan A’ will be to follow the Sporting Regulations of the TCR International Series (i.e. Qualifying and two sprint races) with ‘Plan B’ consisting of heats and ‘A’ and ‘B’ finals.

Details of the format for specific race weekends will be published in due course.

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The season starts at the ‘Home of British Motorsport’, Silverstone, before heading to
Knockhill in Scotland for the second race weekend. The next races at Brands Hatch in
Kent will please Touring Car fans in the southeast of England, while the fourth event sees
the series visit one of the country’s most popular circuits (judging by the reaction of fans onsocial media): Castle Combe in Wiltshire.

Oulton Park in Cheshire hosts the fifth race weekend, followed in September by races at Croft in North Yorkshire. The season draws to a close at another of the UK’s classic racing circuits, Donington Park in Leicestershire.

TCR International Series Oschersleben, Germany 08 - 09 July 2017

Jonathan Ashman, the Promoter of TCR UK, commented:

“I’m delighted that we’ve been able to confirm the calendar so soon after announcing the TCR UK series and I’m extremely grateful to the BRSCC and the circuits for their hard work in agreeing the dates.”

“We’ve been amazed at the response from drivers and teams ever since we made the initial announcement and the unveiling of the calendar means those teams and drivers can now make firm plans for the 2018 season.”

TCR International Series Salzburgring, Austria 9 - 11 June 2017

 

This is exciting news from the TCR UK Series this morning and now means that teams and driver interested in taking part next year can now lay plans/sponsorship/details in place to get a full or part time racing programme in place.

In my opinion what better place than Silverstone to get this series off to a good start and the addition of Castle Combe to the calendar means that that the teams & fans will sample something different to whats seen as the “Usual Nine” on the BTCC Calendar in recent years.

TCR International Series Hungaroring, Hungary 16 - 18 June 2017

With news that SWR, Pyro Motorsport, Team Hard-Brisky Racing and Maximum Motorsport already have TCR cars or have confirmed TCR UK programmes in place, expect a lot more news to follow during what will be an exciting next six months.

Whilst we’ll know the true figure of cars, teams who are running them and drivers who will be behind the wheel when the first round gets underway at Silverstone, today’s announcement is a big step forward for the series.

One final thing…now that the UK series has its first calendar, this also means that we could possibly see some of the TCR International Series Team and Drivers potentially looking to take part on some of the finest circuits in the UK as well…

TCR International Series Monza 12 - 14 May 2017

Now there’s an idea that would work…

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

Please note that all images are used courtesy of WSC/TCR International Series.

Until next time, all the best!

Phil!!!