A new racing series has announced it’ll be making noise in the UK. The fledgling TCR series based on modern saloons and hatchbacks started life in 2015 as an international series with more than 50 drivers named in the championship, with 27 making up the current standings.
The cars themselves cover a decent range of European models, from the Honda Civic Type-R through to the Volkswagen Golf GTi and Alfa Romeo Giulietta. They’re a bit removed from their showroom counterparts with aggressive aero, and a 2.0 litre turbo engine pushing out around 350bhp through the front wheels. Essentially the main ingredients in most touring car series, namely the BTCC although that does feature rear-wheel drive platforms at present, TCR is limited to front-wheel drive.
While initially being offered a support placement alongside the British GT series, TCR has decided to go it alone in the UK which has both advantages and disadvantages. It does give them free reign to put on the series as they see fit, giving ample coverage to the TCR teams, cars and drivers in the spotlight, but it’s always a little tricky for a new series to make ground without some big names to back it up. From the current international field there are some I recognise, namely Rob Huff, Daniel Lloyd, James Nash and Tom Coronel and their success in Europe should give it a good foothold to get started.
The UK series has already had backing from several BTCC teams who are preparing cars to take part alongside their BTCC campaign. How this pans out remains to be seen. It’ll be interesting to note if racing in the TCR UK series carries a smaller cost, and if so how many more of the independent teams could jump ship – but it’s too early to speculate on that.
The TCR UK series is an interesting prospect – great looking cars, large fields of competitors, running through 6 or 7 series with each venue hosting 2 races. The British Racing and Sports Car Club (BRSCC) is involved to coordinate the season, so that’s some pretty experienced clout behind it.
My initial concern, when they announced they’re aiming for grids of around 50 cars, would be the size limitations on UK circuits. Sure Silverstone can probably accommodate that many on a grid, but the likes of Croft, Oulton Park and Knockhill will struggle when we see BTCC grids of around 30 cars already stretching around corners and hairpins. This is softened slightly by mentions in the media of heat style races being run, akin to Rallycross – I think this would be a great idea, 2 heats of circa 25 cars and a final would produce some great results and spread the points more evenly if some were awarded throughout the heats and for various things like fastest lap and pole position for example.
As with Formula E, I’ll keep up to date with this new series and see how it flourishes – hopefully with a visit to 1 or 2 events when it visits our shores in 2018.
All images are courtesy of TCR-Series.com