TCR UK and the BRSCC have announced the upcoming series calendar for 2018, provisionally of course at this stage but exciting nonetheless. The series will take in some excellent circuits, and has held true to visiting the more traditional venues, including those that some race series struggled to get to.
Lets take a look at the various circuits and their features.
Round 1 : Silverstone National Circuit – March 31st / April 1st
The national circuit at Silverstone has played host to a huge number of racing series. It’s a very short circuit at only 2.6km per lap, which is great for spectators as it means a higher lap count! Taking in the original start/finish straight, there’s usually a chaotic start as the cars thunder into Copse and down the first straight to the big stop at Maggots & Becketts. This hairpin usually results in some late dives and some scrabbling for a good exit down the Wellington straight. The next big passing opportunity covers Brooklands, Luffield and Woodcote – with various lines available, this is prime spectator viewing! I’d recommend standing opposite the end of the Wellington straight, you see the big stop, and the whole complex including the exit of Woodcote.
Round 2 : Knockhill – May 12th / 13th
Knockhill is the most northerly circuit on the calendar, lying just north of Edinburgh over the Firth of Forth. Laid down on the side of a hill overlooking the Forth Road bridge, the circuit is described as a rollercoaster and I don’t think that’s an exaggeration. With the grid forming up on the crest of the start finish straight, it’s a mad dash down to Duffus Dip, usually taken by clipping the inside kerb and on two wheels! This drops the cars into Leslie’s, then a stop into the right hander at Scotsman. A quick breath and you’re through a kink at Butchers, then over the spectacular Arnold Clark Chicane – the tyre barrier here usually lasts a lap or two, and most cars will be on two wheels through here trying to straighten it up as much as possible. Down to Clark’s for the all important exit along Hislop’s – Clark’s is a good passing opportunity if someone messes up the chicane. Then a big stop at Taylor’s Hairpin. Do you run wide and try the cut back, or the opposite and try to run around the outside without getting put in the pit wall? There’s usually a drag race up the hill over the start/finish line, then it’s all to do again! I’d recommend standing around the chicane for a great view.
Round 3 : Brands Hatch Indy Circuit – June 2nd / 3rd
You don’t get more classic than Brands Hatch. Another short circuit offering a higher lap count so great for spectators – the viewing of the circuit being in a natural bowl means that you can see most of the action from pretty much anywhere. You also get action anywhere, down Paddock Hill as the cars squirm around for grip, up into the Druids hairpin, where it’s not unknown to see 3 cars abreast, McLaren and Clearways offer a fantastic overtaking opportunity as you start the run on the straight, which is anything but and it’s back round to do it all again. I like standing on Paddock Hill, but anywhere is great at this circuit!
Round 4 : Castle Combe – July 14th / 15th
This is the only circuit on the calendar I haven’t visited! Hopefully I can make amends to this. The overall shape is recognisable as an ex-airfield circuit, much like you get with Thruxton, and it shares the same high speed laps. The circuit was a victim of a frustrating noise nuisance order in 2005 which scuppered their chances of hosting the F3 and British GT championship, so hopefully this will mark a return to form. Checking out the photos and videos online, it looks like spectator viewing is great all round the circuit, but the chicanes will be the most action packed for potential overtakes.
Round 5 : Oulton Park – August 4th
Oulton Park has to be the prettiest venue on any calendar. Surrounded by trees, the circuit is well presented and it looks like they may be using the full circuit which is even better, taking in the rarely used hairpin after the Island bend. The circuit itself is quite narrow, which doesn’t lend itself to the steroidal looking TCR cars with the wider stance, but there are some great passing opportunities into Deers Leap as well as through the chicanes. There are so many great vantage points here, but I do recommend on the exit of the Knickerbrook chicane as you get a good view around a great portion of the circuit, including the elevation changes.
Round 6 : Croft Circuit – September 8th / 9th
I’m a little bit biased with Croft, it’s my home circuit and the first time I visited was back in the 80s to see Rallycross. The circuit has moved on since then, and the drivers love it. It’s technical and high speed, with several fantastic changes to overtake. Different lines are available around Hawthorn, you can outbreak into Tower Bend at the end of the straight (and watch out for cars ending up in the cornfield!), Barcroft is incredibly high speed into a big stop for Sunny In/Out and then there’s the hairpin, the slowest corner in British motorsport. There’s always a fight here! I do love this circuit, the atmosphere is always great and the racing also. I highly recommend the walk up to the Tower Straight, and into the infield – you see the hairpin, start/finish, most of Clervaux, the chicane, Tower and into the esses, as well as the last few corners of the complex. This will be a sure fire hit on the calendar.
Round 7 : Donington Park National Circuit – October 13th / 14th
Another classic circuit, Donington went through a rough patch a few years back but is now in capable hands once again. There’s only one thing to mention on this circuit and that’s the Craner Curves. Get a good seat on the hill opposite, you see the cars plunge down the switching left/right, hard onto the brakes for the old hairpin and back up the hill to McLean’s. I favour seating near Starkey’s, there’s a handy coffee shop/bar just behind you! Photo ops here are limited, but with a decent lens you’re sure to catch some action pretty much anywhere. Watch out for the weather though, in October it’s going to be cold and possibly wet, all the best ingredients for a great last round.
Hope you enjoyed that! I’m keeping up with the TCR Series via Twitter – @TCRUK_series