The new formula that’s shaking up the world of international touring cars
Just what is TCR? The brainchild of ex-world Touring Car Championship boss Marcello Lotti, TCR was born as a concept in 2014 after Lotti’s departure from the WTCC and was initially launched as TC3 – a touring car formula “inspired” by the principle of affordability promoted by GT3 regulations that were first introduced some nine years earlier.
Come the World Motor Sport Council meeting of December 2014, TC3 had approval to run as an international series from 2015, though the ‘3’ became an ‘R’ to, in the words of Lotti, “create a strong and personal identity for the new series” – while also avoiding any suggestion of inferiority to existing touring car championships.
Boy, has it boomed since. After a successful first International campaign, the formula has expanded into regional markets, to the extent where there are five national series, a further six organisations using the regulations as a class and plenty more planned on the horizon. The speed isn’t too far off existing national championships, either.
The real ace up its sleeve, though, is cost. With regulations centred around hatchbacks, it makes TCRspec cars easy for manufacturers to mass-produce, and drives in national series costing no more than £200,000. Plus, with more manufacturers getting involved – Kia being the latest – opportunities to secure factory drives are readily available.
In terms of star drivers, TCR falls short of its tin top competitors – though it has names like inaugural champion Stefano Comini, former F1 driver Gianni Morbidelli, plus established touring car racers Dusan Borkovic and Pepe Oriola. It also has BTCC and WTCC Independents’ champion James Nash, who heads to Macau with the chance to clinch the International crown, so there’s enough talent bolstering the ranks.