A new touring car championship, TCR, is making its Aussie debut this weekend.
Here’s everything you’ll need to know about the new category as it joins the local motorsport landscape.
What is TCR?
TCR is a global formula, much like GT3, with different championships across America, Europe, and Asia. The formula is simple: C-segment hatchbacks and sedans with production chassis and 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engines driving the front wheels.
Performance is capped using Balance of Performance (BoP system like what is used in GT racing) to ensure competition is tight.
How do I watch?
TCR Australia has signed a free-to-air TV deal which will see all races shown live on SBS.
You can also watch the races online in a free livestream which is hosted on the category’s official website.
If you want to watch the cars in person, each of the seven rounds in 2019 will take place as part of the Shannons Nationals, which also includes other categories such as Australian GT, Sports Sedans, Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge, and Formula 4.
Why should I care?
TCR promises to be an affordable and hard-fought championship. Using BoP means no one team will have an unfair advantage, and the relative affordability of the cars means drivers won’t be averse to bumping panels.
The category manager has also put $250,000 of prize money on the line for the first champion, so the stakes will be high.
Who is involved?
In total 17 cars from eight manufacturers will take part in the debut series. Competing cars include the Honda Civic Type R, Volkswagen Golf R, Renault Megane RS, Alfa Romeo Giulietta, Hyundai i30 N, Subaru WRX STi, Opel Astra (badged as a Holden), and Audi RS3 LMS.
Stalwarts of Australian motorsport Garry Rogers Motorsport and Kelly Racing are both fielding four cars apiece, while Honda Australia has thrown its official support behind Wall Racing.
Drivers include gun hot shoes like Tony D’Alberto, Chris Pither, James Moffat, Jason Bright, Nathan Morcom, Alex Rullo, Andre Heimgartner, and factory Audi driver Rik Breukers.
Young guns Chelsea Angelo, Dylan O’Keefe, Jimmy Vernon, and Will Brown are also competing.
Rally ace Molly Taylor has even been lured from dirt to tarmac for the inaugural series.
TCR Australia is run by the Australian Racing Group, which is headed by former Volvo Cars Australia managing director Matt Braid, while former Supercars CEO James Warburton is a non-executive director.
Is it going to replace Supercars?
No. The category has no plans to replace our premier motorsport series, Supercars. However two supercars teams are involved, along with a full-time Supercars driver.
GALLERY TCR Australia round one